macOS Mojave significantly changed the way screenshots work on macOS. Review the changes made, discuss how to accomplish tasks previously accomplished in the new-defunct Grab.app, and describe how to use the new Screenshots application most effectively.
In the past Mac users could use the Command + Shift + 3 and Command + Shift + 4 to capture screenshots of the full screen and a region respectively. Those screenshot shortcuts are still available, so you don’t need to rewrite your muscle memory. But Command + Shift + 5 invokes the new Screenshots application which provides a screenshot GUI and more options, especially for post-capture editing.
The Screenshots Toolbar
Pressing Command + Shift + 5 will pull up the Screenshots toolbar.
The buttons on the toolbar perform the following actions, from left to right:
- Capture Entire Screen: take a screenshot of everything on the screen.
- Capture Selected Window: take a screenshot of only the foremost window.
- Capture a Selected Area: drag a box around a region to capture.
- Record Entire Screen: record a video of the entire screen.
- Record Selected Area: record a video of the selected region.
The first three capture still images and relate to the keyboard shortcuts Command + Shift + 3, Command + Shift + 4 + Space, and Command + Shift + 4, respectively. The last two record videos, which are new features in Mojave. If you’ve ever used Quicktime to record a screenshot, you’ll recognize the functionality. It’s been essentially moved from Quicktime’s screen-recording functionality to the Screenshots toolbar.
To start a video, select either of the two record options and press the “Record” button in the toolbar. To stop the recording, either press the Stop button in the Touch Bar (if applicable) or in the menu bar.
Capturing a screenshot will now create a floating thumbnail in the lower-right corner of your screen. If you click on this thumbnail, you’ll have the opportunity to annotate or edit your screenshot before saving. You can read more about annotation further down.
The “Options” menu reveals more settings.
Long-time macOS screenshot pros may recognize these options. These screenshot options were once confined to Terminal commands. Now they can be set through this menu.
The first section allows you to select the target of your screenshot. By default, the screenshot won’t be saved there immediately. If you don’t interact with the screenshot thumbnail, the screenshot will be saved to this location.
“Clipboard” will copy the screenshot to the clipboard after capture. Use the “Paste” command (or the Command + V keyboard shortcut) to insert the screenshot into an editable field. Choosing an application (Mail, Messages, or Preview) will open the screenshot in that application immediately. “Other Location …” allows you to set a specific folder as the screenshot’s destination. If you select a location, it will be included in the destination menu later.
The timer functions as expected. There are presets for none, which captures the screenshot immediately. Five and ten seconds makes you wait that many seconds before capturing the screenshot.
At the bottom we have miscellaneous options. “Show Floating Thumbnail” controls the post-capture behavior. Keep the option checked, and macOS will display a temporary thumbnail after capture and before saving to disk. “Remember last selection” saves the region selection box used last, allowing for easier repeatable screen captures. For example, if you’re capturing the same window repeatedly, repeating the capture region is perfect. “Show mouse pointer” controls whether or not your cursor appears in the screenshot.
Once you’ve set your settings as desired, click the “Capture” button on the far-right of the toolbar to capture a screenshot.
Editing Screenshots with Markup
Once the screenshots are captured, they will appear as a small floating thumbnail by default. Click on this thumbnail to reveal the Markup window.
In the Markup window you can use all of the annotation tools from Preview on your images. While the set might not approach the usefulness of professional annotation programs, they’re more than adequate for simple labeling or editing. Applying signatures or circling objects are both especially useful.
When done, clicking the “Done” button will save the screenshot to the location chosen in Options before capture. The trash can icon will delete the screenshot, and the sharing icon provides options for exporting to other apps.
The new Screenshots tool in Mojave is a major upgrade from the previous tool. With the benefit of a graphical interface, taking a screenshot is easier, clearer, and more robust. While third-party tools like Snagit still offer significantly more editing and markup tools, Screenshots is a major upgrade for all Mac users.
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