Taking screenshots is quite easy on macOS, but to a new Mac user with Windows experience, it may seem a bit confusing. Screenshots are saved directly to the Desktop as opposed to Windows’ style of pasting them to the clipboard or being saved in the “Pictures” folder. You might be used to that on your previous Windows system and might want to change it on macOS. Here we show you how to do both: change where your Mac screenshots are save, and save screenshots to the clipboard.
How to change where screenshots are saved
If you’re using macOS Mojave, changing the screenshot location is very easy. We’ve detailed the steps for this below:
1. Press Command + Shift + 5.
2. Click on Options.
3. You can choose any of the listed frequently-accessed folders or choose your own by clicking on “Other Location.”
4. Navigate to and select a folder where you want your screenshots to be saved.
5. From now on all of your screenshots will be saved to your specified location.
If you’re using an older version of macOS, you’ll need to use Terminal to change the location where you screenshots will be saved.
1. Select the folder you want to save your screenshots to. You can select or make a folder wherever you want to and name it whatever you like.
2. Open Terminal on your Mac via Spotlight or by accessing “Finder -> Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal.”
3. Type in the following code:
defaults write com.apple.screencapture location
4. Press your keyboard’s spacebar to add a period after the line of code.
5. Specify the location of your folder by dragging and dropping your selected folder onto the Terminal window. Alternatively, if you’re familiar with identifying and specifying folder locations, you can type the location in Terminal.
6. Press Enter.
7. Type in the following command to make sure the changes take place:
3. Make sure you don’t delete the folder you created/specified for the screenshots.
If at any time you want to revert to the original screenshot location (Desktop), type the following lines of code in Terminal and press Enter (after each line):
defaults write com.apple.screencapture location ~/Desktop killall SystemUIServer
How to save a screenshot to the clipboard
As was mentioned earlier, the Print screen function in macOS works a bit differently compared to Windows. In Windows the screenshot is saved to the clipboard, after which you need to open up Paint, Photoshop or any other photo-editing software and paste the photo to get the actual JPEG/PNG screenshot file.
This power feature is easier and useful if you’re just taking screenshots to add into a document and want to avoid the clutter of multiple screenshot files on your hard drive. Fortunately, you can also do the same on macOS:
1. Press Command + Shift + 4 to take a standard screenshot.
2. Press and hold Control while you use your mouse/trackpad to select the screen region you want to save to the screenshot.
3. Your screenshot will be saved to the clipboard. You can now paste it wherever it’s needed.
Alternatively, you can also use the method detailed above to change the default screenshot location to the clipboard. You won’t need to press Control at all. Simply select “Clipboard” in the Options menu:
Let us know below if you found these tips helpful.
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