How to Replace Your Mac’s Screenshot Tool With Something Better

How to Replace Your Mac’s Screenshot Tool With Something Better
Photo: Manu Padilla, Shutterstock

Your Mac’s standard screenshot tool includes the basic features most people need to capture images displayed on their screens, but it could be better. It doesn’t allow you to take scrolling screenshots (where you capture a long screenshot of an entire webpage), and other tools — including the two discussed below — are better at bypassing some websites’ attempts to block you from taking a screenshot. (Tried to screenshot Netflix via Safari lately? Good luck.)

Shottr

Screenshot: Pranay Parab

Shottr is a fast and free screenshot app for Mac. Like the default program, it can take full-screen screenshots or capture a predefined area. It adds must-have features such as scrolling screenshots, OCR (the ability to copy text from images), and a powerful editing tool that allows you to blur text or erase objects from an image.

Each time you take a screenshot with Shottr, it opens a preview window that allows you to edit the screenshot quickly and save it to your computer or copy it to the clipboard. You can open Shottr’s menu bar app if you want to use features such as delayed screenshots, which lets you set a three-second timer before taking the screenshot.

If you need to capture the entire image of a website without zooming way out and sacrificing legibility or resorting to a screen recording, a scrolling screenshot is a better option. Shottr includes this functionality, outputting a single long JPG/PNG file you can scroll up or down at your own pace, with a much smaller file size than a video.

The editing features are what truly set the app apart from the default option. They grant you the ability to easily customise your screenshots after you take them to blur text or remove something in them (say, an app icon visible on your desktop) without resorting to another photo editing program.

The app’s OCR feature also deserves special mention, as it’s excellent at capturing text from images. Sure, you can select text using the OCR feature in macOS Monterey, but it requires you to take a screenshot and open the file in Preview first. Shottr’s OCR mode is more efficient, allowing you define an area and pick up all the text inside it without snapping a screenshot at all.

You can use the app to configure a keyboard shortcut for its main screenshot capture modes. For example, you can try Command + Shift +8 for scrolling screenshots. Just open Shottr and go to the Hotkeys tab to set this up.

Shottr is currently free to use. The app collects some diagnostic data by default, though you can disable that via the Advanced tab in Shottr’s preferences menu.

Cleanshot X

Screenshot: Pranay Parab

Cleanshot X is the best Mac screenshot app for power users, though it comes at a cost (currently $US29 (which will be billed by your bank at around $40) for a licence and $US19 (around $26)/year thereafter for updates). It includes all the same editing features as Shottr, plus more, all of which can be customised via the Shortcuts tab in Preferences, where you can set up a shortcut for basically everything the app does. You can choose whether you want the mouse pointer to appear in a screenshots or not, and even add a clean image of your background wallpaper to screenshots of the active window.

Among its many features, Cleanshot X can create scrolling screenshots; place thumbnails of your recent screenshots on a desktop overlay that allows you to save, download, pin, or edit them; copy text in images from any website (with lines breaks or without); and record your screen. Basically, it’s like someone thought of almost every screenshot use case and built that functionality into the app.

Cleanshot X includes cloud storage, so you can upload your screenshots to its servers automatically and copy a link to them to your clipboard via a keyboard shortcut.

You can try out Cleanshot X via a 30-day free trial. The cost to licence the software is about $40, including 1GB of free cloud storage one year of free updates. When the year is up, you can continue to use the app, but access to future updates costs about $26/year.

How to replace your Mac’s screenshot functionality without losing shortcut access

If you prefer not to use the Mac’s screenshot tool at all, you can erase its keyboard shortcuts from your Mac to disable it. You can always assign a different keyboard shortcut or reassign the original shortcuts to start using it again. To do this, go to System Preferences > Keyboard and open the Shortcuts tab. Here you can select Screenshots from the left pane and uncheck all the options in the right pane.

This will disable the default screenshot utility, and you can now install one of the apps mentioned above to replace it with something better.