How to Change the Screenshot File Format to JPG on Mac

Change Screenshot File Format Mac Featured

If you ever find yourself taking a screenshot on your Mac, you may notice that macOS saves all screenshots in the PNG format by default. PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics and is a lossless format that can retain the quality of the image. The only drawback of this format is the files tend to be larger than the other formats (like jpg) which may not be convenient for those who want to upload their screenshots to the Web. It doesn’t help improve loading times for the websites.

You may not be aware of it, but there’s a little trick that lets you change the screenshot file format on your Mac. The screenshots you capture on your machine will be saved in your chosen format instead of the default PNG format. The trick requires the use of Terminal to issue a command that tells the system to change the format of the screenshots taken on the machine.

Follow the steps below to accomplish the task.

Changing the Screenshot File Format on a Mac

First you need to launch Terminal on your Mac. To do that, open Spotlight and search for and click on “Terminal.”

Change Screenshot Format Macos Terminal


The most common photo file type is the JPEG file. To change the default screenshot format from PNG to JPG, simply type the following command into Terminal and press Enter:

Change Screenshot Format Macos Command

You can now try capturing a screenshot on your Mac using the Command + Shift + 3 combo and should see the screenshot saved in the JPG format instead of PNG.

Change Screenshot Format Macos Format


GIF images are usually low-quality images that do not retain the full quality in which the image was captured. It’s good if you don’t want the viewers of your screenshot to pay attention to the little details.


TIFF stands for Tagged Image File Format and is usually used for high-quality images. To turn your future screenshots into this format, use the following command:


PDF is usually used for documents, and you can have your screenshots saved to this format using the below command:

Reverting Back to the Original Screenshot File Format

If you tried all of the above file formats but nothing seemed to work as great as the default format, you can revert back to the original screenshot format (PNG) using the command given below. Just run the following command in Terminal like the above commands, and it will get your screenshot format settings back to the default.

You are now back to the original file format.

Other than changing the screenshot file format, you can also change the location of where the screenshot is saved in macOS or disable the floating preview of a screenshot.

Shujaa Imran Shujaa Imran

Shujaa Imran is MakeTechEasier's resident Mac tutorial writer. He's currently training to follow his other passion become a commercial pilot. You can check his content out on Youtube


  1. Why would one want to change from a .png file to a .jpg? The .png file is lossless and the .jpg file is lossy and will loose picture information every time you make modifications to the file.
    I personally rather have a .png file, and I also like .pdf files for some things.

  2. You can change the size of .png files also. I do it for including in emails. I usually use 640 X 480 for my resized images. I still retain the original size .png file.

  3. I’d rather learn how to change to WebP format instead. Since it’s possible for QuickLook Previews, can this be done for Screencpature, too?

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