How to Take a Screen Shot Without the Shadow in Mac OS X

May 26, 2011 - 2 Comments

Screenshot without shadow in Mac OS X

Instead of disabling the screen shot shadow completely you can take a one-time screen capture minus the shadow by using either the Grab app or by using the command line screencapture utility.

Take a Screenshot with No Shadow Using Grab on the Mac

Using Grab is the easiest for most users since it’s wrapped in a familiar GUI. Grab is located in /Applications/Utilities, so launch the app to get started. Then do the following:

  1. From the Grab app, pull down the “Capture” menu
  2. Select “Window” and click on the window you want to take a screenshot of without a shadow

No shadow screenshot using Grab in Mac OS X

This will bring up the familiar window selector tool that you get when you hit Command+Shift+4, but any resulting image won’t include the window shadow.

A resulting screenshot sans shadow looks like this in new versions of Mac OS:

Screenshot without shadow in Mac OS X

And screenshots without shadows look like this in prior versions of OS X:

Take a Screen Shot without a Shadow in Mac OS X

Taking Screenshots without Shadows Using the Command Line in OS X

The command line approach might be preferable to other users, so here’s the syntax you’d want to use for that. This requires the usage of Terminal app and the following command:

screencapture -oi test.jpg

This too will bring up the familiar window selection tool, and any resulting screen capture will be missing the shadow.

If you want the image to go to your desktop like a normal screenshot would, use:

screencapture -oi ~/Desktop/shadowfree.jpg

You can direct the output of this command to where ever you want, just specify the proper path.

Thanks to reader inket for the Grab tip! Both of these tricks work in all versions of Mac OS, regardless of the version, from OS X Snow Leopard, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, OS X Yosemite, and beyond.

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Posted by: William Pearson in Command Line, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Peter says:

    Shadows look better IMO, but I can see where this is useful.

  2. […] the available flags and what they do, and there are a variety of additional options available, like ditching the shadow, automatically launching in Preview, choosing Window Capture mode, and more. You can see a screen […]

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