A community member named Angie recently asked Lockergnome writerMatt Ryan if there is an easy way to do screen captures within OS X. In fact, there IS such a feature and it’s one that not everyone knows about.
Mac OS X has a set of key combinations that you can use to take screenshots in a variety of ways. The methods discussed in this video and writeup work on Mac 10.4 and above.
If you want to capture your entire desktop, you would hit Command + Shift + 3. By default, this will save a .PNG file of the entire screen to the desktop.
Let’s say that you only want to capture a portion of what you’re looking at. To do this, hit Command + Shift + 4. You’ll now see a small selection box which you can move and resize in order to highlight the area you want to screenshot. Once you let go of the mouse cursor, a .PNG of only that area will appear on your desktop.
Sometimes, you may want to take a screenshot of a single window and not have to re-define the area every time you need to do this. Use Command + Shift + 4 + Space. Hitting the space bar at the end of that key combination brings up a little camera icon on your screen. Using the camera, click on any window and save only that image to your desktop.
There are a few other little tricks you may want to know about:
Adding the Ctrl key to the end of any of the above combinations will save your image to the Clipboard instead of saving as an actual file on the desktop.
Kathy Gill was a Gnomedex attendee this past August. During open share time, she decided to show off her favorite OS X application, Skitch. Kathy says that if you’re a Mac person and not already using Skitch, you need to get it faster than immediately. Skitch is a fabulous screen-capturing software that works flawlessly, every time.
I might note that you can also sign up for the Skitch web service. It works hand in hand with the Skitch application to give you 1-click
uploading of images for fast and fun image sharing.
There are any number of things you can do with Skitch, including taking a screenshot on a website or instant message, iSight snap pictures of yourself, tap into your iPhoto library and even re-open images in your Skitch history.
Using the website, you can add annotations or text, scribble something onto your screen capture, resize or crop the image by just dragging a rocner, and then just drag the file to wherever you want it to reside. You don’t have to actually save anything – it’s automagic
Want to embed this video on your own site, blog, or forum? Use this code or download the video:
There’s so much screen capture software out there, it’s difficult to choose my favorite. Despite the plentitude of options, I usually stick with the plain ol’ Print Screen functionality. It works out of the box – albeit without few configuration options. If you want to capture the entire Desktop (albeit, only what’s being rendered in Software) – just tap the key and the image is copied to your clipboard.
More useful is the Alt + PrintScreen key combo – which only captures the active window. I demonstrated and detailed a few screen capture software options, but are always looking for more. Since recommending Window Clippings, it’s gone shareware with a version-based licensing strategy.
Community member, Doug, responded with a product from one of our sponsors:
http://live.pirillo.com/ – Screen capturing in Windows Vista can be tricky. You can use the old standby “print screen” button, which will copy the entire contents of your Desktop to the clipboard, or press alt and “print screen” at the same time to capture just the current window you’re working in. Once you do that you can paste the image into your favorite image editor.
Of course, that’s a bit of a bulky way to capture screen shots. That’s why Kenny Kerr created Window Clippings, a free program that eliminates the annoying step of pasting the image into a program by saving the screenshot directly into a PNG file.
It’s very nice, very clean, and very unobtrusive.
The chat room has some other suggestions for capturing screen shots, which you may want to check out: