Crop Custom Part or as PNG to Desktop with cmd+shift+4 OR cmd+shift+3 for FULL Screenshot


<Clippy> OS X? pfft, how can I print full desktop screen prints like in Windows?

<Clippy> What’s the Mac/OS X alternative to the clumsy prnt-scrn (print screen) > paste > MS Paint > save > name and format (oops, saved as useless .bmp again?) > find the file (and possibly resize it if you forgot the first time around) > use file > delete > possibly repeat enter process > or clear clipboard if Windows is feeling sluggish, even if the perceived latency or load is purely psychological. Nothing subjective matters when your brain is subjectively seventeen times slower than “real” time.

Snippet of Desktop Screen Instantly Automatically Saves to BG

Shortcut to Crop Rectangle &  Save PNG to Desktop (or change default location/format)

The shortcuts use any combination of the left and right command/shift keys and either the number 3 (full screenprint) or 4 (crop rectangular area) If you want to workout your fingers, use use leftCommand + leftShift + rightCommand + rightShift + 3 (or 4)). Here’s the result, two screenshots,

In Mac OS X (From Yosemite to Maverick to Snow Leopard to Lion, etc)*, you can crop any part of any screen on any monitor you have running, anytime by using Command + Shift + 4 and check the desktop for a new image. (It helps to have it sorted by Date Modified)

Use Command + Shift + 3

and check the desktop for the new image(s).

Unclutted Your Desktop (Change location and format of stored shots/prints

Soon your desktop will look like this:

changing filename screenshot mac os x yosemite

Change Prefix of Default Screenshot Name Saved to Desktop

defaults write name “___ss” && killall SystemUIServer

Restore name to default “Screen Shot” prefix

defaults write name "Screen Shot" && killall SystemUIServer

WTF is a command or “defaults” anyway? The command line structure and syntax, dissected and easy to visualize.

Change Where Captured Shots Instantly Get Saved In

Instruct, invoke, run, execute, call the defaults cmd, which like most commands isjust the name of an app your (make sure it's open!, use SpotLight) or iTerm or other terminal emu or shell is aware of (technically it exists in your shell's $PATH variable) (usually) should write 3 underscores as a prefix to shots stored in ~/Pictures/Screenshots

Change the Format of the Saved Screenshot to JPG, TIFF, PDF, GIF or default PNG

defaults write type jpg
defaults write type tiff
defaults write type pdf
defaults write type gif
defaults write type png

*pro tip: To avoid repetition in documentation and tutorials, we can put all choices between square [ brackets ] and delimit or separate each choice with a vertical pipe |. The result is [only|one|of|these|words|not|all]. The above 5 calls to default can be abbreviated, ie in their man/documentation pages as:

defaults write type [png|tiff|jpg|pdf|gif]

though typing all of this out would be invalid. You just have to learn that a pipe | is an OR, as you agreed that in literature (or major languages) an ampersand & is an AND. Just remember it.

Read current format Images get Saved As

defaults read

Tip: This is how you read any of these “OS X user defaults”. The Command Line Explained in Detail. To see the documentation, type

man defaults

in the Terminal/iTerm/shell/Bash/Zsh and hit enter to read the manual page. press q or Q to quit and the UP arrow to cycle through the last commands you ran in descending order.


Troubleshooting / Screenshot shortcut doesn’t work?

It’s the number 4, not F4, ensure exclusively three keys held. If you can’t locate the images, open up Finder (Command + Space, type finder and press Return when it’s found (usually by the 3rd letter, ‘fin’. Typing nothing else and waiting will drop down mixed results. )

* You can do this in Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8 or above by using the included SnipperTool.exe (type it into the Start > Search bar, then create a shortcut to it on your Start Bar and/or create a universal shortcut for it. and in Linux and other versions of Mac or Windows (XP, Vista, etc) using third party apps or browser extensions if you’re only interested in grabbing screen captures/crops within your browser.