How to Capture and Email a Screenshot in macOS

Screenshots come in handy when troubleshooting a problem with your Mac

You can take a screenshot on your Mac to capture what's on the display. Screenshotting your Mac's screen is easy and can be helpful for a number of reasons, including documenting an error and quickly sharing something you see.

Once you've made the screengrab or screenshot, you can send it with any email program you have installed on your computer. Include the captured image as a file attachment in the message.

Instructions in this article apply to Mac OS X Lion (10.7) and higher.

MacBook Pro with OS X Yosemite is on the table

How to Capture the Whole Screen

Taking a screenshot of your entire screen and capturing everything that's currently visible on it is as easy as striking a few keys on your keyboard.

  1. With the item(s) you want to capture on your screen, press Command+Shift+3 on your keyboard.

  2. Go to the desktop to locate the PNG screenshot. It's named Screen Shot with a date and time appended.

    The desktop is the default location, and PNG is the default format. You can change both of them to keep things organized.

  3. Alternatively, press Control+Shift+Command+3 to copy the screenshot to your clipboard to paste it into the body of your email.

    When you use this method, it won't save to your desktop (or the location you chose).

  4. Open your email program and attach the screenshot to the email. How you do this depends on which platform you're using.

How to Screenshot Only Part of the Screen

If you know exactly what part of the screen you want to include in the screenshot, you can take the screengrab of a limited area to exclude the parts of the image you don't need.

  1. Press Command+Shift+4, which changes the cursor to a crosshair.

  2. Click and drag the crosshair over the area you want to include in the screenshot. As you do this, a box forms to show what your screenshot will include.

    To adjust the selection box while you're making it, hold the Space key to drag and reposition the highlighted area. Release Space to keep adjusting the size.

    Highlight area in capture selection
  3. Release the cursor, and the section you selected saved to the screenshot location.

  4. Alternatively, press Control+Shift+Command+4 to start the selection, and the area you highlight is saved to your clipboard instead of the screenshots folder or desktop.

How to Screenshot a Specific Window or Menu

You can use the selection method to pick out a particular window or menu on your screen, but macOS includes a faster and more accurate way to do this. Here's how.

  1. Pull up the window or menu you want to capture.

  2. Press Shift+Command+4+Space on your keyboard.

    You can also use this method by pressing Space after activating the selection mode.

  3. The pointer becomes a camera.

    Capture specific window or menu on a Mac
  4. Place the pointer (camera) over the window you want to capture. The highlighted window turns blue.

  5. Click the window you want to capture, and the screenshot saves to your computer.

Pressing Esc at any time during the screengrab will abort the whole process and not save the image to your computer.