How to Screen Snip on Mac: A Beginner’s Guide

Have you ever been in a situation where you need to capture a screenshot on your Mac? Whether you want to save an important conversation, highlight a bug in a program, or remember a recipe from a website, taking a screen snip can come in handy. Luckily, the process is quite simple and easily accessible on your Mac. In this article, we will provide step-by-step instructions on how to screen snip on Mac, along with some helpful tips and tricks.


Step 1: Open the App or Window You Want to Capture
Firstly, you need to open the window or app that you want to capture in the screenshot. It can be any window, such as a web page, folder, image, document, or even a video.

Step 2: Press the Screen Shot Keys on Your Keyboard
Once you have opened the window or app, press the following keys on your keyboard:

– Command + Shift + 3: Captures the entire screen
– Command + Shift + 4: Captures a selected area of the screen
– Command + Shift + 4, then Spacebar, then click on a window: Captures a specific window

Step 3: Edit the Screenshot Preview
After you have pressed the screen shot keys, a preview of the screenshot will automatically appear in the bottom right corner of your screen. You can click on it to open it in the Preview app, where you can crop, resize, annotate, or save it in various formats, such as PNG, JPG, PDF, or GIF.

Step 4: Use the Grab Utility
If you want to capture a more complex screenshot, such as a menu, a tooltip, or a timed shot, you can use the Grab utility, which is located in the Utilities folder of your Applications folder. Open it, choose the desired option, and then follow the on-screen instructions.

Step 5: Use the Terminal App
If you prefer a more advanced method, you can use the Terminal app, which is a command-line interface for your Mac. Open it, type “screencapture” followed by the desired options and file name, and then press Enter. You can check the manual or help pages of the screencapture command for more options and examples.

Step 6: Use Third-Party Apps
If you want more features and flexibility in your screen snipping process, you can use third-party apps, which are available in the Mac App Store or other online sources. Some popular options include: Snagit, Lightshot, Capto, Skitch, and Monosnap. Choose the one that suits your needs and preferences.


Capturing a screen snip on Mac is not only useful, but also easy and versatile. You can choose from several built-in options, such as keyboard shortcuts, preview editing, grab utility, terminal commands, and third-party apps. Each option has its own advantages and limitations, so it’s up to you to decide which one works best for your specific task or preference. However, there are some common tips and tricks that you can use to enhance your screen snipping experience on Mac.

Tips and Tricks

1. Use the Shift key to adjust the selection or direction of the screen capture.
2. Use the Control key to copy the screenshot to the clipboard instead of saving it as a file.
3. Use the Option key to change the format or color of the screenshot.
4. Use the Spacebar key to toggle between different capture modes or windows.
5. Use the Escape key to cancel the current capture or selection.
6. Use the Preview app to add annotations, captions, or shapes to your screenshot.
7. Use the Grab utility to take an inverted or window-to-window screenshot.
8. Use the screencapture command to capture a specific time delay or audio feedback.
9. Use third-party apps to capture video, GIFs, or scrolling capture of web pages.
10. Use the keyboard shortcut Command + Control + Shift + 3 or 4 to copy the screenshot directly to the clipboard without saving it as a file.

In conclusion, capturing a screen snip on Mac is a convenient and flexible tool that can help you in various situations. With the simple steps, tips, and tricks outlined in this article, you can easily master this skill and take your screen snipping game to the next level. Whether you’re a student, a professional, or just a curious user, screen snipping can be your ally in productivity, creativity, and communication. So, go ahead and try it out for yourself!

Advantages and Disadvantages of Screen Snipping on Mac


1. Efficient – Screen snipping helps in saving time and effort, especially when sharing important information with others.

2. Easy to use – Snipping tools available on a Mac are intuitive and straightforward, making them easy to use even for those with minimal technical know-how.

3. Versatile – Screen snipping can be used for a myriad of purposes, from capturing an image, to highlighting a feature, to preserving a moment.

4. Increases productivity – The ability to quickly capture and edit an image on a Mac can lead to increased productivity in a variety of settings, including work and education.

5. Saves space – Compared to capturing an entire screenshot, screen snipping allows you to capture the exact portion of the screen you want, saving valuable storage space.

6. Editing options – Most snipping tools on Mac come with editing options that allow you to add text, shapes, and other elements to further enhance the captured image.

7. Annotate and highlight – Snipping tools on Mac enable you to annotate and highlight important parts of the image to draw the viewer’s attention.

8. Shareable – Captured images can easily be shared via email, messaging apps, or social media.

9. Beneficial for troubleshooting – Screen snipping can also be beneficial for troubleshooting technical issues as it allows you to capture and share error messages and other pertinent information.

10. Accessibility – Screen snipping is accessible to everyone, whether professional or casual users, providing a versatile and easy option for capturing and sharing information.


1. Limited functionality – Unlike professional image editing software, screen snipping tools on Mac offer limited functionality and may not provide the depth of features required for complex editing tasks.

2. Quality differences – Depending on the type of snipping tool used, the quality of the captured image may vary. Low-quality images may not be suitable for certain situations.

3. System requirements – Some snipping tools may require certain system specifications or may not be compatible with older Mac models.

4. Security risks – Snipping tools on Mac can potentially capture sensitive information, so it’s important to be cautious when using them and to make sure they are not in violation of company policies or data protection laws.

5. Overuse – Screen snipping can be addictive, leading to overuse and distraction from other important tasks.

6. Learning curve – While snipping tools are simple to use, they may still require some training or practice to master, particularly for more complex editing tasks.

7. Cost – Some snipping tools may require a one-time or subscription fee for access to their premium features, which can be a disadvantage for those on a tight budget.

8. Redundant – With the availability of integrated screen capture tools on Mac, some users may find snipping tools redundant and unnecessary.

9. Limited sharing options – Depending on the tool used, the sharing options for captured images may be limited, which can be a disadvantage for those who need to share with a wider audience or through different platforms.

10. Distortion – Depending on the quality of the image and the size of the area captured, using snip tools on Mac can also cause distortion or blurring of the image.


1. What is screen snip?

Screen snip is a feature on Mac that allows you to take a screenshot of a selected area on your screen.

2. How do I open the screen snip tool?

You can open the screen snip tool by pressing the keys Shift + Command + 5 on your keyboard.

3. Can I select which part of my screen to snip?

Yes, you can select which part of your screen to snip by clicking and dragging your cursor over the desired area.

4. What do I do after I’ve snipped my screen?

After you have snipped your screen, the screenshot will appear in the bottom right corner of your screen. You can click on it to open and edit it further.

5. How do I save my screen snip?

To save your screen snip, click on the screenshot in the bottom right corner of your screen and select “Save to…” to choose where to save the file.

6. Can I annotate my screen snip?

Yes, you can annotate your screen snip by clicking on the screenshot in the bottom right corner of your screen and selecting “Markup”.

7. How do I cancel my screen snip?

To cancel your screen snip, press the “Esc” key on your keyboard.

8. How do I change the file format of my screen snip?

You can change the file format of your screen snip by clicking on the screenshot in the bottom right corner of your screen and selecting the “Options” menu.

9. Can I use screen snip to capture a video?

No, screen snip only captures screenshots. To capture a video of your screen, you can use QuickTime or other screen recording software.

10. How many screen snips can I take at once?

You can take multiple screen snips at once, but only one at a time.

11. Can I assign a shortcut key for screen snip?

Yes, you can assign a shortcut key for screen snip by going to “Preferences” in the screen snip tool and selecting “Keyboard Shortcuts”.

12. Is screen snip only available on Mac?

Yes, screen snip is a feature exclusive to Mac. However, there are similar screenshot tools available for other operating systems.

13. Can I use screen snip to capture a scrolling window?

No, screen snip only captures a selected area on your screen. To capture a scrolling window, you can use other screenshot or screen recording tools.

How to Screen Snip on Mac

Screen snipping is a useful feature that allows you to take screenshots of your Mac’s display. Whether it’s to capture a funny meme or a valuable piece of information, learning how to screen snip can save you time and effort in the long run. Here’s how to do it:


Learning how to screen snip on your Mac can be a real game-changer. Whether you’re a student, a professional, or just someone who loves memes, knowing how to quickly and easily capture your screen can be incredibly helpful. So take a few minutes to learn this feature and see how it can make your life a little easier.


Thanks for reading! We hope you found this guide helpful. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to leave a comment below. Until next time, happy screen snipping!