How to Crop a Screenshot on Mac: Quick Guide

Need to crop a screenshot on your Mac? It’s simple. Take a screenshot, open it with Preview, use the selection tool to select the area you want to keep, and crop it. Let’s dive deeper into the details.

Taking a Screenshot

Using Keyboard Shortcuts

To begin with, you’ll need to take a screenshot.

On your Mac, you have a few keyboard shortcuts at your disposal:

Press Command + Shift + 3 to capture the entire screen.

For a selected portion, press Command + Shift + 4.

A crosshair will appear; click and drag to select the area.

Finally, to capture a specific window, press Command + Shift + 4, then hit the Spacebar.

Click on the window you want to capture.

Where to Find Your Screenshot

Your screenshots typically save to your desktop by default.

You’ll see a thumbnail of the screenshot briefly in the bottom right corner of your screen.

Wait for it to save fully or click it for quick editing.

Opening Your Screenshot in Preview

Locating the Preview App

To crop your screenshot, you’ll need to open it in Preview.

Preview is a built-in Mac app that’s great for basic editing.

Locate your screenshot on the desktop and right-click it.

From the context menu, choose “Open With” and select “Preview.”

Using Preview’s Toolbar

In Preview, the toolbar at the top offers various tools.

You’ll find options for annotating, rotating, and more.

For now, focus on the selection tool, which is crucial for cropping.

Crop Your Screenshot

Selecting Your Area

The first step in cropping is to select the area you want to keep.

Click on the “Markup” button in the Preview toolbar.

This reveals the selection tool options.

Making Your Selection

Click the rectangle selection tool in the toolbar.

Click and drag your cursor to create a box around the area you wish to keep.

Fine-tune the selection as needed by adjusting the edges of the box.

Executing the Crop

Once your area is selected, it’s time to crop.

Go to the “Tools” menu in the top bar.

Select “Crop” from the dropdown menu.

Your screenshot is now cropped to your selected area.

Additional Editing Features

Annotating Your Screenshot

Preview offers more than just cropping.

Feel free to annotate your screenshot if needed.

Use the text, shapes, and drawing tools found in the Markup toolbar.

Exporting Your Cropped Image

After making your edits, you might want to save it in a different format.

Go to “File” in the top bar and select “Export.”

You can choose from various file formats like PNG, JPEG, or PDF.

Using the Photos App to Crop

Import Your Screenshot

Another option is to use the Photos app.

Drag your screenshot into the Photos app to import it.

Double-click the image to open it.

Cropping in Photos

Click “Edit” in the top right corner.

In the editing toolbar, click on the Crop tool.

Drag the corners to resize and crop your image.

Once satisfied, click “Done.”

Built-in Screenshot Editor

Instant Cropping

As of more recent macOS versions, there’s an instant editor right after you take a screenshot.

A floating thumbnail appears in the corner.

Click on it quickly to bring up the editor.

Crop Within the Editor

In this editor, you can immediately crop the screenshot.

Select the crop tool and adjust the frame as needed.

Click “Done” to save the cropped screenshot to your desktop.

Using Third-Party Apps

Other Software Options

While Preview and the built-in tools are great, some may prefer other apps.

However, they aren’t necessary for simple cropping tasks.

Most users find Preview more than sufficient for basic needs.

Common Issues

Unable to Crop

If you can’t crop the image, ensure it’s properly selected.

If the options are greyed out, try reopening the image in Preview.

Issues Saving

If you’re unable to save the cropped image, double-check your permissions.

Ensure you have write access to the desired location.

Advantages of Cropping Screenshots

Highlighting Important Parts

Cropping helps focus attention on the important parts of the image.

It eliminates unnecessary elements that could distract viewers.

Reducing File Size

Cropping can also reduce the file size of your screenshot.

This is useful for faster uploading and sharing.


Cropping a screenshot on your Mac is a straightforward process.

Whether you use Preview, the built-in editor, or the Photos app, the tools are user-friendly.

In no time, you’ll have the perfect cropped screenshot.

Practice makes perfect, so keep experimenting to get comfortable with the tools.

Happy cropping!