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Friday, July 01, 2016

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How to Change the Screenshot File Format in Mac OS X

Oyetoke Tobi - Friday, July 01, 2016

Taking screenshots on Mac OS X is extremely and we’ve shown you how you can do that and even change the destination location for those screenshots. But did you know that you can also easily change the default format of the screenshot? It can either be JPG, PNG, GIF, and so on.

If you take a screenshot on Mac OS X, it will be saved as a PNG formats by default. And the truth is there’s nothing wrong with this format, but probably you want to make your screenshots to be in JPEG format. Normally you can do this by opening the image in Preview and then export it to that format.

This works fine, but it’s not convenient and you’ll need to do this individually for all your screenshots. In case you want your screenshot to be always saved as JPEGs whenever you take a screenshot, then it’s more proper to change how Mac OS X saves its screenshots format.

So here’s how to do so

First thing to do is to open the Terminal and execute a little command line hacking. If you don’t know or have forgotten how you can get to the Terminal, the Terminal is located in Applications > Utilities.

Once you’ve opened it, just copy and paste the following command into the Terminal to change the screenshot format:

defaults write type jpg

Then copy and paste the below command to kill the system server in order to make the change take effect:

killall SystemUIServer

By default, Mac OS X doesn’t show file format extension, however, if you want to be sure that your changes are have taken effect, then go ahead and take a screenshot and then check its file info (Command+I).

Additionally, you’re not limited to JPEG and other image file format. You can choose other file formats as well including PNG, PDF, GIF, and TIFF. So for instance, in case you want all your screenshot to be automatically saved as PDF files, all you need to do is to modify the first Terminal command with “PDF”:

defaults write type pdf

And in case you want to revert back to the original file format (PNG), then you need to modify the terminal command by placing the “png” format at the end of the command as shown below.

defaults write type png

And also always remember to run the KILL command (killall SystemUIServer) in order to restart the system server or else your changes won’t immediately take effect.

Well it’s unlikely you’ll be changing the screenshot file formats regularly, but will always come in handy at some odd times if a job or project needs screenshots to be taken in a specific format other than PNG.

And if you would like to have more control over every screenshot you take on your Mac OS X, the Grab utility is available and you can always use it, which of course will also let you save screenshots in your preferred image file format as you take them.


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