How to take a screenshot and record the screen on your Mac

We show you how to capture what’s on the screen on your Mac with a screenshot or a screen recording in this quick how-to

By Tom Griffin - Executive Editor
2 Min Read

I sometimes need to record screen activity on Mac for a tutorial or demonstration or online class. Whether it’s for work or school, your personal reference, or a creative project, we often need to capture an image of our computer’s display, or a video of the action occurring on it. For Mac owners, this process can seem a bit intimidating due to the unintuitive keyboard commands involved and the unexpected software required for the task.

We’ll show you how to take a screenshot using keyboard shortcuts and how to use the screenshot app to record your screen on Mac.

A person uses the new MacBook Air in a studio space.

How to take Screenshots on Mac using Keyboard Shortcuts

Let’s learn about the different keyboard shortcuts you can use to take a screenshot on your Mac.

  • To capture the entire screen of your Mac, navigate to the screen that you want to take a screenshot of, then press Shift-Command-3. A thumbnail of your screenshot will appear in the bottom right corner of your screen. You can click it to edit or share the screenshot right away, or you can wait for it to appear on your desktop.

  • If you want to capture a portion of your screen, press Shift-Command-4. This turns your pointer into a crosshair. Move it to where you want to start the screenshot. Click and drag to select an area and then release your mouse or trackpad. You can press the Escape key to cancel taking the screenshot at any time.

  • To take a screenshot of a window, press Shift-Command-4, and then the space bar. This will change the pointer to a camera. Move the camera over to the window or menu you want to capture, which becomes highlighted to confirm that it’s selected, then click to take the screenshot.

How to record screen on Mac

To record the screen on your Mac, you can use the built-in screenshot app. To open it, press Shift-Command-5. When the screenshot toolbar appears, you can drag it to move it around if you’d like.

  • The buttons on the left side let you capture a still image of your screen.

  • To make a video recording of everything on your screen, you can click the record entire screen button. Or, to record a specific area, click the record selected portion button, and a recording area appears, while the rest of your screen dims slightly. You can move the frame to reposition it and drag the edges to adjust the size of the area you want to record. When you’re ready, click record to start recording the screen on your Mac, and the screenshot toolbar will disappear.

  • To stop recording, click the stop recording button in the menu bar, or you can use the keyboard shortcut Command-Control-Escape.

Your screen recording appears as a thumbnail in the bottom right corner of your screen. You can click it to edit or share the screen recording right away, or you can wait for it to appear on your desktop.

Now, you’re ready to capture what’s on the screen on your Mac, so you can save it, share it, and more.

To learn more about your Mac, tap or click another article to keep reading.

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By Tom Griffin Executive Editor
Tom Griffin is the editor-in-chief at GeeksChalk where he oversees all of site’s evergreen content to ensure it’s up to date with the latest information. Hailing from London in the UK, he has over seven years of experience in the tech journalism space and holds a degree in English Literature. In his spare time, Tom can found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, and petting every dog he comes across in the outside world.
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