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:

defaults write type jpg;killall SystemUIServer
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.

defaults write type gif;killall SystemUIServer


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:

defaults write type tiff;killall SystemUIServer


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

defaults write type PDF;killall SystemUIServer

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.

defaults write type png;killall SystemUIServer

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.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox