How to Take a Screen and Video Capture on Mac

Taking screenshots and screen recording are two of the best features that Mac users get to enjoy. They can be very helpful in sharing photos, filming tutorials, and saving other screen actions worth hanging on to. However, users have only recently been able to record their screen with the audio of the video rather than only being able to record external audio through the mic. Only newer versions of macOS like Mojave and Catalina can do that though. Before that, you would only be able to record internal audio using QuickTime Player or any other third-party tool. The screenshot feature was also updated with the release of macOS Mojave and Catalina to be merged into the same tool that records the screen. We explain below how you can use those features now on a Mac and what other options you have if you haven’t upgraded to Mojave.

Taking a Screenshot on Mac

Thanks to the new update on macOS, taking a screenshot now is as simple as pressing Command + Shift + 5 and using the screenshot toolbar that gives you many other special features as well. After you get that toolbar, you can choose between Capture Selected Windows, Capture Entire Screen, or Capture Selected Portion to select how much of your screen you would like to capture. Unless you set a timer, Capture Entire Screen will take a screenshot of your full screen immediately. If you choose Capture Selected Portion or Capture Selected Windows, you will have to navigate your mouse and select the portion you want to capture first. Once your screenshot is taken, it will appear in the bottom right corner of your screen in case you want to get right to saving files or editing after taking this one shot. You can then either, right-click, two-finger-click, or control-click on your photo and use a contextual menu to choose a location for saving your screenshot, delete it, send it, mark it up, or show it in the finder.

Recording Screen on Mac

Just like with screenshots, to record your screen, you need to press Command + Shift + 5 and open the screenshot toolbar. The same toolbar is used for recording screen videos as well. The Options button lets you adjust your preferences before you start recording, for example, you can click on it and set a timer, choose a location to save your recording, or turn on the microphone. Additionally, you can choose your capturing portion preferences, just like with taking a screenshot, the boldly outlined screen button gives you full-screen recording and the one with the dotted outline lets you record sections of your screen. To start recording, you can either click record or click anywhere if you’re recording the whole screen. To stop, click on the Stop button found at the top right of the screen (the right corner of the bar at the top, press Command + Shift + 5 to get the bottom toolbar and click Stop, or press Command + Control + Esc.

Screen and Video Capture Before Mojave and Catalina

If you’re using an older version of macOS, these commands won’t work as the screenshot toolbar is a feature update that is only included in recent versions. Instead, the keyboard shortcuts to taking screenshots are Command + Shift + 3 and Command + Shift + 4. These commands work with versions after Mojave too, in addition to the other known keyboard shortcuts for screen capture leaving users with more than 5 ways to take a screenshot on a Mac; for older versions, the first command takes a screenshot of the entire screen while the second one gives you portion selection to choose where you’d like to capture your image. For screen recording, most users look for third-party apps or use QuickTime Player to do the job.

Third-Party Tools

If these basic shortcuts and commands are not your cup of tea, you’re not alone. Most users avoid using these built-in features and go for third-party apps that provide far more options. There are many available tools out there that not only get the job done but also give you extra features for editing screenshots and adjusting screen recording settings. Some of them work as snipping tools while some serve as editing apps for both photo and video. If the Mac built-in screen capture commands are not convenient enough for you, consider opting for a third-party app and exploring the newest screen capturing possibilities.

The macOS update might have managed to answer some of our questions about the whole screenshot dilemma and its several shortcuts, but we’re still given a basic built-in app that only allows for simple actions. Compared to other apps and snipping tools, you can definitely change your experience by switching to a third-party program. It’s also fair to mention that all Mac screen capturing commands, including the old or updated ones, work on the new macOS versions and therefore give users a number of options when it comes to capturing screen activities.


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