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[solved] How to change the screenshot file format on your Mac?

[solved] How to change the screenshot file format on your Mac? [ 1 year 10 months ago ] #5

These are the shortcuts to learn in order to get better screenshots on a Mac -- don't forget you can cancel the shot by pressing Escape before you click:

?+?+3: Capture entire screen and save as a file.
?+Ctrl+?+3: Capture entire screen and copy to the clipboard.
?+?+4: Capture dragged area and save as a file.
?+ctrl+?+4: Capture dragged area and copy to the clipboard.
?+?+4 then Space: Capture a window, menu, desktop icon, or the menu bar and save as a file.
?+Ctrl+?+4 then Space: Capture a window, menu, desktop icon, or the menu bar and copy to the clipboard.

When you press ?+?+4 to grab an image you can toggle between an image you select using a crosshair or a full-window snap by keeping those keys depressed and pressing the Spacebar. The cursor will swap between the crosshair and a camera icon when you do. In camera mode you can just click on the window you want an image of to highlight and capture it.

Change the screenshot format to JPG

Type or paste the following line into a Terminal window and hit the Return key to execute the command:
defaults write com.apple.screencapture type jpg;killall SystemUIServer

Change the screenshot format to GIF

defaults write com.apple.screencapture type gif;killall SystemUIServer

Change the screenshot format to PDF
defaults write com.apple.screencapture type PDF;killall SystemUIServer

Change the screenshot format to PNG
defaults write com.apple.screencapture type png;killall SystemUIServer

Change the screenshot format to TIFF
defaults write com.apple.screencapture type tiff;killall SystemUIServer

Change the screenshot image type

By default, OS X saves screenshots as PNG (or Portable Network Graphics) files. This format can be useful because it supports transparency, but PNG files are not suitable for all uses. To change the default capture file format, open Terminal and type in the following command:
defaults write com.apple.screencapture type [format]

In the command above, replace [format] with one of the following (click on each link for a description if you are unfamiliar with a particular format):


For example, typing “defaults write com.apple.screencapture type jpg” will make JPEG the the default file format. You can change this as often as you need to by simply entering the Terminal command again with a new format.
Change the default screenshot file name

OS X saves each screenshot with the name “Screen shot [date] at [time].” As an example, a screenshot taken on Friday, March 1, at 9:29 PM will be saved as “Screen shot 2017–08–01 at 9:29 PM.”

You cannot remove the date and time from the name but you can easily change “Screen shot” to something else. To do this, type the following command into Terminal and press Return:
defaults write com.apple.screencapture name [ file_name ]

Replace [ file name ] with the custom name you’d like to use with each screenshot. If it’s a single word, you can simply type it in place of [ file name ], but if it’s a phrase with one or more spaces, you need to put the phrase in quotations. For example, if you’re taking screenshots for a book and would like to keep them organized by chapter, enter:
defaults write com.apple.screencapture name "Chapter 1"

This will create a series of screenshots named “Chapter 1 2013–03–01 at 9:29 PM.” In the case of our book example, you’ll update the Terminal command as you start each new chapter.

Change the default location to which screenshots are saved

Screenshots are saved by default to the user’s desktop. This is handy for the occasional screenshot but those looking to take dozens or hundreds of screenshots will want to set up a custom destination to avoid cluttering up the desktop.

First, create or identify a folder to which you want to save your screenshots. Next, go to Terminal and enter the following command:
defaults write com.apple.screencapture location

Press the spacebar once to create a single space after 'location' and then drag and drop the folder you created above onto the Terminal window. Doing so will enter the exact path to that folder. After you’ve dropped the folder and see the path displayed, press Return to activate the command.

Alternatively, you can also manually type the destination, although dragging and dropping the folder is faster and error-proof (if you mistype a destination path while entering the command manually, it won’t work). For example, if you wish to save screenshots to a “Screenshots” folder in your user’s Pictures folder, you’d type the following:
defaults write com.apple.screencapture location Users/[username]/Pictures/Screenshots/

Dragging the folder from a Finder window into the Terminal window results in the same outcome.
Disable window drop shadow

A really nice feature of OS X is the automatic creation of drop shadows when taking a screenshot of an individual window with the Command-Shift–4-Space command. This may not be desired by all users, however, and it can be disabled by entering the following Terminal command:
defaults write com.apple.screencapture disable-shadow -bool true

If you wish to revert to the default drop shadow, just head back to Terminal and type:
defaults write com.apple.screencapture disable-shadow -bool false

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Alex experienced Freelance Web Developer with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. Skilled in User Experience, Joomla, WordPress, User Interface Design, Front-end Development, and IT Service.
Last Edit: by alex.
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