OS X: How to get nice screen shots?

grabIt’s this outstanding attention to details one of the reasons I like the Apple products.

I was using the Mac OS X Grab application for long time already, but it was just recently that I discovered the special keyboard shortcuts, more precisely the differences between using them and directly using the Grab application.


Grabbing a screen window with the keyboard shortcut not only grabs the window content, but also the surrounding window grey shadow, making a big difference when the resulting PNG is inserted into a presentation or a blog post.

About

To grab a window, simultaneously press Cmd + Shift + 4; the cursor will change to a bullseye target also showing the XY position on screen. Then press space, that will change the cursor to a photo camera. Move the camera cursor to the desired window and press the mouse left button. A new PNG file, with a name starting with ‘Screen shot’ will be added to the desktop.

It is true that from a content point of view, using the Grab application will produce similar results, but the resulting file will include exactly the window content, without any border and obviously without any exterior shadows. In addition, Grab saves the content as a TIFF file, and you need to open it in Preview and save as PNG for a more convenient use.

Other keyboard shortcuts (credits to the wiki page) are:

  • Command-Shift-3: Take a screenshot of the screen, and save it as a file on the desktop
  • Command-Shift-4, then select an area: Take a screenshot of an area and save it as a file on the desktop
  • Command-Shift-4, then space, then click a window: Take a screenshot of a window and save it as a file on the desktop
  • Command-Control-Shift-3: Take a screenshot of the screen, and save it to the clipboard
  • Command-Control-Shift-4, then select an area: Take a screenshot of an area and save it to the clipboard
  • Command-Control-Shift-4, then space, then click a window: Take a screenshot of a window and save it to the clipboard

About Liviu Ionescu (ilg)
Hi! My name is Liviu Ionescu (ilg, ilegeul or eunete for colleagues and friends) and I’m a senior IT engineer. Or should I say a real programmer?

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