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The OSX Screenshot

How can you manipulate the good-old OSX Screenshot?

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The screen-shot capability of OSX is fantastic - so many different ways of using it. You can see all of the available keyboard shortcuts here:

Shortcuts for taking pictures of the screen

There’s a lot isn’t there? The most common ones I use are:

CMD+SHIFT+4 Copies a part of the screen to a file
CMD+CTRL+SHIFT+4 Copies part of the screen to the clipboard
CMD+SHIFT+4 then space Allows you to copy the current Window

You can if you want use a screen-grab app as well -
in fact you can do it with Preview or there’s an app called ‘Grab’ in the Utilities folder, but personally I much prefer the keyboard shortcuts. Brilliant for documentation.

Anyway, there’s a few things you can do to manipulate
how OSX handles those screen-shot files. So let’s have a look at them.

Change the Screenshot Type
By default screenshots are saved as PNG files. You can change the format to PNG, PDF, JPG, TIF or PSD. Personally, I prefer JPG. To change the format that screenshot files are saved as, use the following command in terminal:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture type
type

Where type is:
  • PDF
  • PNG
  • JPG
  • TIF
  • PSD

Before this will take effect, you need to restart the UI Server - do that with this command:

killall SystemUIServer

Change the Location of your Screenshot Files
By default, all of your screenshot files get dumped on your desktop - I don’t like that, I like a clean desktop! So, what you can do is create a folder somewhere specific for your screenshots, and have the files put there.

To do that, use this command:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture location
/PathToYourFolder/

Where ‘/PathToYourFolder’ is the full location of your folder. Don’t be tempted to think that you need SUDO for this - you don’t. If you use SUDO it won’t work as the permissions on the config file go screwy. Also, don’t forget the last ‘/‘ - if you miss it, it won’t work!

Before this will take effect, you need to restart the UI Server - do that with this command:

killall SystemUIServer

Change the Name of your Screenshots
You can also change the default name of your screenshot files. I do this just, well, because I can? The command to do this is:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture name “
file name

Again, before this will take effect, you need to restart the UI Server - do that with this command:

killall SystemUIServer

Change the Shadow-Drop on Window Screenshots
This command allows you to copy the current window to the clipboard:

CMD+SHIFT+4 then space Allows you to copy the current Window

By default, this includes a shadow backdrop. What do I mean by that? Well, have a look at these two screenshots:

With a shadow backdrop
Without a shadow backdrop

It could be you’d prefer not having a drop-shadow? I prefer not to in documentation and the like, so I turn it off. So, how to do that? Guess what - terminal command:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture disable-shadow -bool
true

Don’t forget to:

killall SystemUIServer

What do you if you want to turn it back on again? Simple enough:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture disable-shadow -bool
false

...again with a killall SystemUIServer

Cool hey!


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