Change Screen Capture File Format on Mac OS X
Today, a quick tip for my fellow Mac users. Mac OS X allows various methods for capturing your screen to an image file ...
- Command+Shift+3: takes a screenshot of the full screen (or screens if multiple monitors), and save it as a file to the desktop
- Command+Shift+4: brings up a selection box so you can specify an area to take a screenshot of, then save it as a file to the desktop
- Command+Shift+4, then spacebar, then click a window: takes a screenshot of a window only and saves it as a file to the desktop
- Command+Control+Shift+3: take a screenshot of the entire screen (screens if multiple monitors), and saves it to the clipboard for pasting elsewhere
- Command+Control+Shift+4, then select an area: takes a screenshot of selection and saves it to the clipboard for pasting elsewhere
- Command+Control+Shift+4, then space, then click a window: takes a screenshot of a window and saves it to the clipboard for pasting
What all of these methods have in common, however, is that they capture to a PNG file by default. And that's fine in many contexts, but Lightroom doesn't allow PNG files in its Library. No big deal perhaps, but I like Lightroom's crop tools, I don't necessarily want to launch Photoshop just to crop and image for a blog post, and I'm often already in Lightroom anyway. And if I'm cropping a series of images from the same application window, I can often save time using Lightroom's ability to copy crops and other settings across multiple images. Fortunately, it's relatively simple to reconfigure Mac OS X to capture in other image formats. Here's how it's done.
You can change the default file type for screen captures by using a terminal command. Every installation of Mac OS X includes the Terminal application in Applications > Utilities. Most major image formats are supported including PNG, PDF, GIF, TIFF, and JPG, we’ll go with JPG since that is a common type of web graphic:
defaults write com.apple.screencapture type jpg
Then you must kill the SystemUIServer for changes to take effect:
Screen captures will now be saved as JPG files, which you may open, file and edit in Lightroom. To change back to PNG, just run through the process again setting 'png' as your type in the first Terminal command.