How one can Save Mac Screenshots as JPG, GIF, PDF, and Different Codecs

When you press Command + Shift + 3 or 4th To take a screenshot on Mac, the file is saved in PNG format. However, if you want, you can change this to have Mac screenshots automatically saved in other formats like JPG, GIF, TIFF, HEIC, or even PDF.

Whether you're only allowed to use JPG formats or just prefer to work with PDFs, here are two ways to change the default format for screenshots on your Mac. You make a permanent change to all screenshots, and that works per screenshot.

How to use Terminal to change Mac screenshot format permanently

With simple terminal commands, you can set your Mac to save screenshots in the format you want. From now on, this rule will apply to all screenshots you take unless you revert to PNG format.

Here are the steps to change Mac's screenshot format using Terminal:

  1. Open minded terminal of the use > Utilities Folder or use Spotlight to open it.

  2. Copy and paste any of the following commands into Terminal and press the Enter Key.

  3. To save Mac screenshots in JPG format: default values ​​write com.apple.screencapture type jpg; killall SystemUIServer

  4. To save Mac screenshots in HEIC format: write default values ​​com.apple.screencapture type heic; killall SystemUIServer

  5. How to save Mac screenshots as PDF: write defaults com.apple.screencapture type PDF; killall SystemUIServer

  6. To save Mac screenshots as GIF: default values ​​write com.apple.screencapture type gif; killall SystemUIServer

  7. To save Mac screenshots as TIFF: defaults write com.apple.screencapture type tiff; killall SystemUIServer

  8. Or, to return Mac screenshots to PNG format: Default values ​​write com.apple.screencapture type png; killall SystemUIServer

As you can see, the command is the same for all formats. All you do is replace png with jpg, heic, pdf, gif, or tiff.

To test it, press Command + Shift + 3 to take a screenshot. Next, select the saved file and press Command + I to view its information. As the Image type, you should see the new format you set.

How To Use Preview To Save Mac Screenshots In Any Format

If you don't want to change the format for all of the Mac screenshots but don't want to save a single screenshot in a different format, you can use the preview on a case-by-case basis.

This is useful when you don't want to have the screenshot in just one format at all times. For example, TIFF files are high quality, but the file size is huge. PDF, on the other hand, is difficult to insert into blog posts or documents. PNG is sharp, but its file size can be large. And sometimes JPEG or JPG can blur the text and provide lower image quality.

So, if a standard format doesn't fit, you can use these steps to take a Mac screenshot and save it in whatever format you want. Here is how.

  1. Open that preview App from the Applications Folders or by searching for them with Spotlight.

  2. Click in the top menu bar file > Take a screenshot then choose From the selection, Out of the window, or From the entire screen based on your needs.

  3. After you use Preview to take the screenshot, Preview will open it automatically. click file > export.

  4. Press the format Dropdown box and choose one of the formats you want for the screenshot like HEIC, JPEG, JPEG-2000, OpenEXR, PDF, PNG, or TIFF.

  5. You can also enter any suitable file name and select a location. Then click on Save on computer.

Once you understand the basic idea, you can speed up the process by pressing Command + S in the preview window. Now select the desired image file format for this screenshot and click on Save on computer.

Alternatively, you can click on the Close Button in the upper left corner of the preview window and you will automatically see the option to save the screenshot in the format you want.

Convert Mac screenshots to other formats later

Now that you know how to take all of your Mac screenshots in a non-PNG format. You also learned how to save screenshots in any format on a case-by-case basis. This should give you the flexibility to use screenshots for different works and projects.

Suppose you change your mind after taking a screenshot in a certain format. In that case, instead of taking the screenshot again, you can easily convert the pictures to other formats on your Mac.

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About the author

Ankur Thakur
(25 articles published)

Ankur has been an Apple user for more than seven years and is focused on iPhone how-tos, troubleshooting, and tips. When he's not writing, he likes to watch The Office over and over again. Ankur also loves tech videos, comedies and romantic movies, old songs, pizza and chicken.

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