MacOS Mojave: How to customize and markup screenshots and screen recordings

Apple insists that iOS and macOS will never morph into the same
digital beast, but at least it’s increasingly willing to share
the most useful features between each platform.

Consider, for instance, the ability to markup screenshots in
iOS 11. It quickly became one of our favorite tools on the
iPhone, as you could quickly circle or highlight specific
passages in a screenshot of an email or pinpoint a location in
a photo and then send that file off to a friend in an iMessage.

macOS Mojave
, that same great feature comes to Apple’s
desktop system, along with a pile of Mac-appropriate
enhancements (many of which are familiar from Preview). Here’s
how to use it.

How to take a screenshot in macOS Mojave

Many of us have long been familiar with the old standbys of
macOS screenshots:

  • Command-Shift-3 takes a screenshot of the entire
    screen, which immediately saves to the desktop.
  • Command-Shift-4 takes a screenshot of a specific
    area, which you select by dragging an adjustable rectangle.

But with Mojave, we also get Command-Shift-5. Use
this, and you’ll get a small menu bar along the bottom that
offers five choices. (If you use a MacBook Pro with a Touch
Bar, you’ll also see these options on the bar.) Those choices

  • Screenshot the whole screen (exactly like
  • Screenshot a specific window
  • Screenshot a specific area (exactly like
  • Record the entire screen (for video)
  • Record a specific part of the screen (for video)

On the right side of the bar, you’ll also see an
Options menu that lets you further customize your
screenshotting experience. Importantly, these options can also
change how screenshots behave with good ol’
Command-Shift-3 and Command-Shift-4.

Screenshot Tool in macOS Mojave
Leif Johnson/IDG

Only the “stop video” button is showing because I used the
video tool to capture this. It turns out that taking a
screenshot of a screenshot tool is kind of hard.

Clicking on the Options menu allows you to choose
where to save the screenshot—Desktop, Documents, Clipboard,
Mail, Messages, or Preview—and you can set a timer before the
screenshot or video begins that lasts either five or 10

Beyond that, you can choose to include the mouse pointer in the
shot and (much as on an iPhone or iPad) show a floating
thumbnail or the screenshot once it’s been taken. With macOS
Mojave, the floating thumbnail is on by default, and it’ll
appear in the lower-right corner of your screen.

Screenshot in lower right
Leif Johnson/IDG

The thumbnail stays on the screen for about five seconds.

It’s wise to keep the floating thumbnail active as it lets you
change your mind about what you plan to do with the shot. Once
the thumbnail appears following any of the
Command-Shift variations, you can right-click on it to
bring up a menu that lets you save the screenshot to the
Desktop, Documents, or Clipboard.

Beyond that, you can open it in Mail, Messages, Preview, or
Photos. For that matter, you can simply delete it, show where
the file is in Finder, or choose Markup to draw all over it.

How to mark up a screenshot in macOS Mojave

And that, finally, is where our feature from iOS 11 makes its
appearance. If you don’t click Markup when you
right-click on the screenshot, you can always left-click on it
to bring up Markup immediately.

Essentially, the same thing happens here that you find on iOS,
but with a lot more options. Click on the screenshot,
and it opens in a new window with a Markup toolbar. From left
to right, your options are:

  1. Sketch
  2. Draw (basically a more “fluid” version of Sketch)
  3. Add Shapes (which also includes a magnifying class
    for emphasizing specifics)
  4. Add Text
  5. Sign (which is a nifty feature that gives you an
    adjustable version of your signature, based either on one you
    make with the mouse or a photo of one you take with the
    onboard camera)
  6. Stroke and shape style (for Sketch, Draw,
    Shapes, etc.)
  7. Border Color
  8. Fill Color
  9. Customize size, color, font of text, along with paragraph
  10. Rotate Right
  11. Rotate Left
  12. Crop
Markup on macOS Mojave
Leif Johnson/IDG

Just don’t expect Picasso from a marked-up image.

Whew. That’s enough to make the new Markup window a lightweight
version of Preview. And for those of us who take a ton of
screenshots, it’s a blessing.

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