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How to change the screenshot keyboard shortcut on macOS

macOS has the best screenshot and screencast support of any mainstream desktop OS. It’s hard not to compare it to Windows 10 since it’s the only other desktop OS that’s close in number of users. Windows 10 is the first version of the OS to have a screenshot feature and it’s just a simple full-screen screenshot. macOS can capture the entire screen, a portion of the screen, a window, and it can record a screencast which Windows 10 cannot do so out of the box. It’s really great though the keyboard shortcuts are a bit complicated. You learn them quickly enough but they may not be easy to press. If that’s the case, you can change the screenshot keyboard shortcut on macOS.

Change screenshot keyboard shortcut

Open the System Preferences app and go to the Keyboard preference.

Go to the Shortcuts tab. The column on the left will have a ‘Screenshots’ option. Select it and in the pane on the right will list the various screenshot keyboard shortcuts that macOS has. The full-screen keyboard shortcut and the select area keyboard shortcut are listed here, along with the screen recording shortcut. If you have a Macbook with a touch bar, you may also see an option for the touch bar’s screenshot shortcut.

Click inside the shortcut and enter whatever you’d like to use in its place. Any time you want to go back to the default keyboard shortcuts, you can click the ‘Restore Defaults’ button.

The one keyboard shortcut that’s missing in this preference pane is the one for capturing the active window. This screenshot option is activated by first tapping the Shift+Command+4 and then tapping the spacebar. It’s likely that if you change the shortcut for an area-specific screenshot, you will also change it for the active window type screenshot. You want to try it out first before you commit to it. It also goes without saying that once the shortcuts have been freed up, you can use them for something else. Make sure the new shortcuts you set do not conflict with anything else. macOS may not be able to tell you if a shortcut is going to conflict with another app so it’s up to you to make sure you use the right keyboard key combination.

You will notice that there are lots of other shortcuts that you can modify here, many of them belong to the system. Feel free to modify them if you need to, add ones that are still unassigned, and create new ones for apps. There’s a reset option if you run into trouble so nothing is permanent.

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