Screen captures are useful illustration tools to show steps in a process or simply to “snip” something from the iMac computer screen. Follow the steps below to use the following alternatives to make screen shots:

  1. keyboard shortcuts for quick screen captures
  2. the Grab Utility for menu-driven screen captures
  3. the screen capture feature from the Preview application

Using Mac shortcut keys

Try these shortcut keys for the different types of screen captures:


Take a screenshot of the entire screen, and save it as a file on the desktop.


Take a screenshot of the screen, and save it to the clipboard, ready to be pasted into another application window.

Command-Shift-4, then select an area of the screen

Take a screenshot of a limited area of a screen and save it as a file on the desktop.

Command-Control-Shift-4, then select an area

Take a screenshot of an area and save it to the clipboard.

Using the Mac Grab Utility

Open the Grab utility from the Mac Applications/Utilities folder. Use the Capture menu options for the desired screen capture options. Note that the Capture menu has an option called “Timed Screen,” which allows you to open and capture a dropdown menu in an active window or show a screen tip that would otherwise disappear using other screen capture methods.

The screen shot image will open on the Mac desktop. To further edit (crop, annotate, etc.) the resulting screenshot, take another screenshot of the open file. The Grab utility does not have editing functions. Its main advantage is its “Time Screen” function.

Using the Preview application

Open the Mac Preview application. From the active Preview/File menu select Take Screen Shot. Choose from the three options by pointing to the arrow:

  1. From Selection: will yield a cross-shaped mouse pointer for surrounding a rectangular area of the screen.
  2. From Window: will prompt you to select one open window for a quick screen shot.
  3. From Entire Screen: will capture everything showing on the screen.

The resulting screen shot will open in a new window. Name it and save it to your Mac desktop. Use Preview’s tools menu to edit the new saved image.

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