How to Use the Mac’s Snipping Tools!

snipping tool mac

Screenshots are so common these days that we don’t think about them much anymore. But we use them every day to show, explain, and talk.

Whether we’re sharing a screenshot of a software bug with customer service, a quick how-to GIF with a coworker, or a joke to someone we care about, screenshots help us make our daily communication more interesting and fun.

The Snipping Tool on a Windows PC is a natural choice for making and editing photos. In fact, if you just moved from PC to Mac, you’re bound to wonder where and what Snipping Tool for Mac is at some point.

Is There A Way to Cut on A Mac?


Don’t worry, you won’t always be unable to take pictures. There is a snipping tool for Mac. It’s also built into the operating system, just like Windows. This is the answer to the popular question of where to download the snipping tool for Mac.

The snipping tool in macOS is so built in that it doesn’t even have a name. It just works, and it’s almost exactly like the Snipping Tool you’re used to on Windows. Also, Mac doesn’t have just one snipping tool; it has dozens.

Below, we’ll compare the screenshot-snipping tool that comes with a Mac to the one that comes with Windows. We’ll also talk about third-party tools like CleanShot, Dropshare, and Capto.

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How to Use The Mac Snipping Tool?

Even if you don’t use computer shortcuts very often, you probably know one or two that let you take screenshots. On a Mac, there are different ways to take a snip.

For each type of screen capture (area, window, full screen, etc.), you can use a different option. Or, you can use a shortcut to open the macOS snipping tool menu and choose the best choice from there.

Where do the screenshots you take go? Every picture you take is saved to your Desktop by default. To change the position, press 5 to open the snipping tool menu, then go to Options, Save to, and then press Enter.

Let’s go into more detail about the tools you should remember to make the most of the snipping tool on macOS.

A Quick Way to Say Snipping Tool

What is the shortcut for the snipping tool in macOS? Pressing 5 is the quickest way to find out how to snip on a Mac. The shortcut brings up a small menu at the bottom of the screen with a lot of choices.

This menu first showed up in 2018 on macOS Mojave. Before that, Mac users could only take a picture of the whole screen by pressing 3 or pick an area by pressing 4. These shortcuts still work the same way.

If you’re using a version of macOS before Mojave, you’ll need to switch to the most recent version to get the most out of the snipping tool on Mac.

So, the Mac OS snipping tool has the following choices on its menu:

  • Capture Entire Screen
  • Capture Selected Window
  • Caption Selected Portion (area)
  • Record Entire Screen
  • and Record Selected Portion (area)

Also, there is a dropdown menu called “Options” that lets you change where the final picture is saved, set a timer, and choose whether or not to show the mouse pointer.

Also, did you know that the snipping tool on a Mac can also be used to take screenshots of the Touch Bar?

touch bar shot snipping tool

  • To save a screenshot of Touch Bar as a file on your desktop press ⇧⌘6
  • To copy what you see on Touch Bar to your clipboard press ⌃⇧⌘6

You can customize your keyboard shortcuts by going to System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Screenshots.

snipping tool mac

Right away, you can see how similar snipping tools on Mac and Windows are in terms of how they work. Let’s compare how each one takes screenshots:

  • Full screen: Mac and Windows
  • Single app window: Mac and Windows
  • Area: Mac and Windows
  • Freeform: Windows only
  • Video: Mac only
  • Delay: 5 or 10 seconds on Mac, 1 to 5 seconds on Windows
  • Editing: A Full Toolkit on Mac, limited to Windows

If you look closely, you might notice that the snipping tool on a Mac doesn’t let you record in a freeform way. In the same way, its Windows equivalent can’t take video and only has a few ways to annotate.

So it makes sense that you would use this built-in Mac photo tool most of the time. But third-party Mac apps have a lot to offer if you need to take screenshots with a freehand pick or just want to use something more powerful.

Snipping Tool to Take a Picture of Your Screen Without Getting in The Way

The snipping tool that comes with a Mac can take basic screenshots, but a professional program like CleanShot X can make them much better. It lets you hide all desktop icons so that you can take a screenshot without any other things on the screen getting in the way.

It also lets you change the wallpaper, test screenshots before saving them, copy the resulting image or video to your clipboard, easily add notes to images, and do a lot more.

CleanShot X is also much better than the macOS tool in terms of how you can cut and copy different parts of your screen. You can take a scrolling capture, record GIFs and videos (all the GIFs in this piece were made with CleanShot X), and more.

snipping tool mac

To see what CleanShot X can really do, open the app, click Capture Area (notice how the desktop icons disappear), drag your mouse to take a picture, and click the pen icon to make changes to the image before saving it.

Set and use custom hotkeys in the CleanShot X app’s Preferences menu to always catch your screen without the desktop icons getting in the way. And if you want to know how to share your picture with other people in the best way, you need to know about one more app.

Text From PDFs, Pictures, Presentations, or Movies Can Be Taken Out

TextSniper is great if you don’t want to take a picture of the whole screen but just want to grab text from a certain part of the screen. This OCR tool lets you pull text from YouTube videos, online presentations, digital images, PDF files, and just about anything else.

Here’s how to use TextSniper to get a text from anywhere:

  1. Open the app via Setapp — you’ll see the icon appear in the menu bar
  2. Click on the icon > Capture text and select the area from where you want to copy text
  3. The text is automatically saved to your clipboard.

Share Pictures Right Away with Others

We have a tool that, unlike Mac’s default snipping tool, looks at the problem of screen snips as a problem of sharing first and foremost.

Dropshare is an option for snipping tools for Mac that lets you choose between taking a screenshot of a specific area, taking a screenshot and editing it, and recording a specific area or the whole screen.

When you’re done, all URLs will be saved instantly and ready to share with your team. Every time you take a screenshot, Dropshare quickly saves it to the cloud and gives you a short link to share with others.

It also has a lot of different ways to send files. You can use its 10 GB of storage or any of the cloud services you already use, like Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace, Amazon S3, etc.

To make any kind of image, open the app, click Area > Freehand, and then draw the shape you want. If you press Option, you can take a picture, and it will show up in the Capto app by itself. After that, you can change your screenshot and send it anywhere.

Under the Web tab, you can find choices for taking seamless screenshots of long web pages right away. You can either use the built-in browser to find the website or open the current URL. With this feature, you no longer have to use the old method of getting as many screenshots as your screen will let you and then putting them all together by hand.

What Is The Best Tool for Cutting on A Mac?

As you can see, your Mac has a lot of different snipping tools that can be used for any purpose. And if you’ve read this far, ideally you’ve gone from wondering “Does Mac even have snipping tools?” to “How do I use snipping tools on a Mac?” to “OMG, which snipping tool do I use?”

Your choice of snipping tool should depend on what you want to do. It’s probably best to forget about the snipping tool that comes with macOS and use CleanShot X right away since it has more features and is easier to use.

But if a conversation is the most important thing, you can use Dropshare to stay in the loop in a super-efficient and visually appealing way. TextSniper will work great for your OCR jobs, like saving text from images, videos, etc.

And finally, Capto can handle any screenshot function, no matter how difficult it is. It is a one-stop shop for all custom screenshot needs.

Best of all, you can try and download all of these apps for free to see which one you like best. This is because they are all part of Setapp, which is a suite of more than 200 of the best Mac and iOS apps for any job.

When you use unique apps from Setapp to take screenshots, you’ll get the best and most beautiful results in no time. Take screenshots!