How to quickly annotate and send a screenshot in OS X

How to quickly annotate and send a screenshot in OS X

Create, annotate, and send screenshots without having to clutter up your desktop.

A picture being worth a thousand words makes screenshots often the
most convenient method for conveying instructions to people. While Apple
has a number of screenshot options built into OS X, these often result in intermediary files that can clutter up your computer if you frequently use them.

For example, if you press the classic Shift-Command-3 shortcut to
take a screenshot, the image file will be saved to your desktop, where
you can open it, crop, and otherwise edit it before sending it to your
recipient. With this method, though, you are left with the file on your
desktop that you will have to throw out.

Window screenshot mode in OS XIf you want to avoid this inconvenience, you can take screenshots and
mark them up for sending to others without creating a single
intermediary file. To do this, first take a screenshot using one of the
following methods:

  1. Shift-Control-Command-3
  2. Shift-Control-Command-4
  3. Shift-Control-Command-4 followed by pressing the spacebar

The first of these will create an image of the entire screen, the
second will allow you to specify a selection of the screen, and the
third will allow you to specify a window to take a screenshot of. The
key here is the inclusion of the Control key in these shortcuts, which
saves the screenshot to the clipboard instead of as a file to your hard

Editing a screenshot in Preview
Pressing Command-N in Preview makes a new document of the image, which you can edit, then select and copy for pasting elsewhere.

With the image in the clipboard, open Preview (you can use the
Spotlight menu with the Command-spacebar shortcut to quickly do this),
and then press Command-N to create a new image from the clipboard in
Preview. You should now have an image available, and can use Preview’s
toolbar to crop, add text, shapes, and other markups as you see fit.

When finished editing the image in Preview, you can press Command-A
to select the entire image, followed by pressing Command-C to copy it
as-is, including all of your edits.

Pasted image in Mail
You can then paste your edited image into a Mail message, all without saving a single file to your disk.

Now you can open Apple’s Mail program and paste the copied image into
your message, sending it off without having to manage a single file on
your hard drive.


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