I use screen shots a lot and have always big a big fan of Mac’s Grab, something I always thought was a bit of an underutilized app. The fatal flaw to Grab, though, is that it saves its screen shots as TIFFs, a graphics format that, for instance, I couldn’t upload to this blog, which means any Grab screen shot needs to be converted (not difficult, of course: just open in Preview and Save As… but an extra step I’d like to avoid).

When our students got their laptops, they told me about the built in keystroke screen shot functionality (a functionality I always knew about but never bothered to learn because of Grab): command-shift-3 is a screen shot of the whole screen; command-shift-4 is a screen shot of a selection (the keystroke produces a cross hair that you place at the corner of the selection and then drag; upon release the shot is taken). These are saved directly to the desktop as a .png, a much more useful format.

The most recent issue of MacWorld has on its cover 100 tips for power Mac users (not PowerMac users; get it…?). One of them concerned the keystroke screen shot. Apparently by adding the control key to the sequence (a bit Twister-like I realize, but with pinky on shift, ring finger can get control, and thumb command) whatever screen shot is taken (either -3 or -4, window or selection) will automatically be copied to the clipboard. I just tried it and it was then very easy to go to Preview and select ‘New from Clipboard’ in the File menu to then do whatever I wanted with my screen shot.

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