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How to Use the Snipping Tool on Mac

The 2020 M1 MacBook Air.

The Microsoft Windows Snipping Tool is a marvelous time-saving feature for anyone who needs to capture Windows screenshots. On MacBooks and desktop Macs, there’s an equivalent function called Screenshot that’s even easier to use. All you need are a few keyboard shortcuts!

Bringing Up the Screenshot Toolbar

Bringing up the capture tool is easy, simply hold Shift+Command+5 and it will appear on the bottom of your primary display. If you have a MacBook with a Touch Bar, these controls are also replicated there.

From left to right there are five capture options:

  • Capture a screenshot of an entire screen.
  • Capture a selected window,
  • Capture a portion of the screen.
  • Start a video recording of an entire screen.
  • Start a video recording of a portion of a screen.

These are all of the capture options that macOS offers.

Using the Screenshot Toolbar

To make use of any of these features, click on the button that corresponds to the type of capture you need. Using the tool this way is a two-step process. First, you’ll select the type of capture, and then you’ll either use the mouse pointer to complete the capture or click on the Capture button on the far right of the tool.

Capturing the entire screen in MacOS

If you select “Capture the Entire Screen,” then click on “Capture,” you’ll hear an audio confirmation of the capture and see a thumbnail in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. You can click on the thumbnail directly to edit the shot or wait a few seconds for it to disappear. The image will be saved to the desktop by default, although you can change the save location.

If you’re using a multi-monitor setup, you need to move the mouse pointer to the screen you wish to capture. Unlike Windows, a standard screen capture in macOS does not create one large image that includes all desktops.

Capturing selected Window in macOS

If you choose to capture a specific window, your pointer will turn into a camera icon. As you move it across windows they will highlight. Click on the highlighted window to capture it as a screenshot. In macOS, these window captures appear on a transparent background with a drop shadow, but it is possible to capture windows in macOS without the drop shadow.

Capture Portion of Screen in macOS

If you choose to capture a portion of the screen, the mouse pointer changes to a cross-shaped reticle. Click and drag to highlight a portion of the screen. You can use the nodes on the highlighted portion to resize it, or click and drag anywhere inside the highlighted area to move the entire selection. Click capture to finalize the capture.

RELATED: The Best macOS Keyboard Shortcuts You Should Be Using

Video Captures

macOS Record Screen

The two video options work just the same as their image counterparts, except that the Capture button changes to “Record.” Additionally, you must bring up the toolbar again with Shift+Command+5 to end the recording by clicking on the square Stop button.

If you have more than one display connected, you’ll first be asked which display you want to record before the capture starts. Recordings are sent to the same location as screenshots.

RELATED: How to Change Where Screenshots Are Saved on Mac

Creating a Screenshot Immediately

The Screenshot toolbar is intuitive, but it does add a few steps into the process of taking a screenshot. If you want to directly take a screenshot press Shift+Command+3. This will instantly take a screenshot and save it to your default location.

If you want to capture a portion of the screen without opening the Screenshot toolbar first, press Shift+Command+4, then use the pointer to drag your selection over the part of the screen you want to capture.

If you press Shift+Command+4 and then Spacebar, it will switch to capturing the highlighted window instead.

Capturing the Touch Bar

If you have a MacBook with a Touch Bar, then it won’t be captured as part of a standard screenshot. to capture your Touch Bar press Shift+Command+6 and a screenshot of your current bar will be saved to the currently selected location.

RELATED: Five Useful Things You Can Do With The MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar

Changing Capture Options

MacOS Capture Options

You can tweak your capture options by opening the Screenshot tool and clicking the options button. Here you can set the location where captures should be saved or set a timer for captures. You can also set the tool to remember the location of your last partial screen selection or to include the mouse pointer in your captures.

RELATED: How to Take a Mac Screenshot Without a Keyboard

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