Snipping Tool: How to Snip on a MacBook

Taking a snip, or a screenshot, is a frequent activity for many computer users. Although Windows users are aided by the Snipping Tool while Mac users might ponder how to get the same functionality on their MacBook. In this all-inclusive guide, we will discuss the different techniques and shortcuts on how to snip on a macbook, so that you have all the gear to get your screen cuts done quick and easy.

Understanding the Snipping Tool on Mac

Different from Windows, macOS does not have an official screenshot tool. Nonetheless, Mac users can still make use of the Screenshot app built-in to perform the same procedure. The Screenshot app enables you to shoot the entire screen, a specific section of the screen, or even a particular window. It does not require third party apps and you get a hassle-free snipping experience.

The snipping tool on a Mac may not work with some applications because of the Digital Rights Management (DRM) restrictions. To illustrate, apps from the likes of Apple TV and Netflix wouldn’t let you grab bits of their content.

Using Keyboard Shortcuts to Snip on a Mac

One of the quickest and easiest ways to snip on a MacBook is by utilizing keyboard shortcuts. Pressing the keys Shift + Command + 4 simultaneously activates the snipping tool. As soon as you press these keys, a crosshair cursor will appear on your screen.

To capture a specific portion of the screen, simply click and drag the crosshair over the desired area. As you drag, the selected area will darken, indicating the portion that will be captured. If you need to reposition the darkened area, hold the Space bar while dragging.

To cancel the snipping tool, press the Esc key. Alternatively, if there is no darkened area on the screen, you can press the trackpad (right-click) or Control-click if you are using a mouse.

If you want to capture an entire window, press Shift + Command + 4 + Space bar simultaneously. Your cursor will transform into a camera icon. Hover the camera icon over the window you wish to capture, and it will be highlighted in blue or yellow. Release the trackpad or mouse to capture the window.

Taking Screenshots with the Screenshot App

In addition to keyboard shortcuts, you can also use the Screenshot app to capture snips on your MacBook. Pressing the keys Command + Shift + 5 opens the Screenshot app, displaying a list of options at the bottom of the screen.

To capture a snip, drag the frame to the desired portion of the screen and click on Capture. Note that the area outside the frame will darken when you open the snipping tool using Command + Shift + 5.

For Mac users with macOS Mojave or above, it is possible to change the default location where screenshots taken with the snipping tool are saved. Open the Screenshot app by pressing Command + Shift + 5, and click on Options. From the dropdown menu, select Other Locations and choose your preferred default location for saving screenshots.

Adding the Snipping Tool to the Touch Bar

MacBook users with a Touch Bar can streamline the snipping process even further by adding the Screenshot app shortcut to their Touch Bar. Here’s how you can customize your Touch Bar:

  1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard.
  2. Click on the dropdown menu next to “Touch Bar shows” and select App Controls.
  3. Click on Customize Control Strip.
  4. A list of app shortcuts will appear on the screen. Locate the Screenshot app shortcut and drag it down to the Touch Bar. It will automatically be added.

Once you have added the shortcut to your Touch Bar, you can access the snipping tool by clicking on the camera icon. Simply drag the frame to the desired area and click on Capture.

Tips for Snipping on Your Mac

Now that you are equipped with the knowledge of how to snip on a MacBook, let’s explore some additional tips and tricks to enhance your snipping experience:

1. Show Your Cursor in Mac Screenshots

By default, Mac screenshots do not capture the cursor. However, if you need to include the cursor in your snips, you can easily enable this feature.

2. Utilize the Thumbnail Preview

After capturing a snip, a thumbnail will appear in the bottom corner of your screen. You can click on the thumbnail to edit or annotate the screenshot using your iPhone or iPad. If you do not take any action, the screenshot will automatically be saved after a few seconds.

To save the snip to your desktop, slide the thumbnail to the right using the trackpad. This allows for quick and easy access to your captured screenshots.

3. Discover Advanced Options

If you prefer a more customizable snipping experience, the Screenshot app offers additional options. Pressing Command + Shift + 5 opens the Screenshot app with a range of features. These include selecting a specific window, recording your screen, and even capturing a screenshot of a Touch Bar. Explore these advanced options to further enhance your snipping capabilities.

4. Customize Default Screenshot Location

I mentioned earlier that you can change the default location where snipping tool captured screenshots are saved. This is especially important if your preferred storage location is a particular folder or directory. Apply the instructions given in the previous section so that you can find the Screenshot app options and choose your preferred default location.


Snipping on a MacBook is a straight forward task as soon as you become accustomed to the available tools and shortcuts. The best way to capture either parts of the screen or whole windows is to use function keys or Screenshot tool. Make sure to also check out the other features such as customizing the Touch Bar and changing the default location of the screenshot to make your snipping experience better.

Now that you know how to snip on a MacBook in detail, you can easily snip and save the images for many uses. Whether you are sending information, showing a process, or needs to you just save an image, snipping on a Mac is a perfect way of doing so.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button