How to launch and use Grab utility on macOS and Mac OS X?
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Many Mac users are already familiar with the Utility folder and the useful tools it contains such as Terminal, Activity Monitor, Disk Utility, Console, Keychain Access, etc. Some of these apps are helpful when seeking solutions to problems you may have encountered.
Among these useful apps is Grab, which is based on capturing a computer screen image. The Mac OS has built-in functions for screen capturing, they are reached through keyboard combinations such as Command, Shift and 3 or 4, however, the Grab app is much more powerful, and includes different image formats, a timer screenshot function, and more. In this article, we will cover all types of screenshots, troubleshooting, and how to set up the Grab app to deliver good quality images.
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Capabilities of Grab
As mentioned, the Grab app has higher functionality than Mac's built-in screenshot function - here is a clear view of its potential:
- Is able to capture just a portion of the screen.
- Takes an image grab of a selected window.
- Performs a Timed Screenshot. This function allows you to take a screen grab after 10 seconds.
- Allows you to select a type of pointer (cursor) and also to show or hide it in screenshots. To set pointer settings, open Grab Preferences and select the type of pointer, or disable it.
- Takes a picture of the entire screen, including multiple-monitor screens.
- Saves pictures in various image formats such as JPEG, PNG, and TIFF.
- Owns a small 'tooltip' displaying the exact coordinate of your pointer, which transforms into the amount of pixels selected when selecting an area.
Use of the Grab utility
This app has a simple interface, however, some steps might be confusing. Here, we walk step-by-step though all Grab functions. There are several ways to launch the app. As mentioned above, the app is within the Utilities folder, so we can use Spotlight, launchpad, or finder to start Grab. In finder, go to Applications, choose Utilities, and select Grab. In launchpad, Grab is within Other.
Take a screenshot of selected area in your screen
When the app is launched, click on Capture on Grab's menu at top of your screen, and then choose Selection or simply press Shift, Command and A together on your keyboard. You will notice Grab's information message. Now select your desired area by dragging with your mouse. When you have finished selecting, the picture will appear in a new window where you can save the image in a specified destination folder with a filename you provide.
Take a picture of desired window
Select Capture from Grab's menu, and then choose Window or simply press the keyboard shortcut Shift, Command and W. In the popped-up window, click Choose Window. Left click to select the window required to capture, and then save it.
Capture your entire screen
Select Capture from Grab's menu, choose Screen or simply press the keyboard combination of Command and Z to start capturing the whole screen. An information message will pop-up stating that the image will be taken when you left-click the screen anywhere (outside the message).
Perform a timed screenshot
To launch a timed screenshot function, go to Capture in Grab's menu and choose Timed Screen or use the keyboard shortcut Shift, Command and Z. The activation window will pop up and leave 10 seconds before capturing from the moment you clicked Start Timer. This function will take a picture of the entire screen - it is very useful when you need to take a screenshot of menus or menu options.
Check the details of taken screenshot
To look up information about the screen capture, click Window and choose Inspector, or simply press Command and 1 together. This information is available before image is saved, so you can check the dimensions and file size with the TIFF format, which is default Grab format for screen captures. You can change this format when you are not saving the screenshot.
It is often useful to change the resolution of image. The Grab app usually captures images at high-resolution, however, this is restricted to your display resolution. To achieve a better quality of screenshot, ensure your display is at highest available resolution. To change your device display resolution, open the Mac's System Preferences and choose Displays. Check that the display is set to highest number of pixels available.
Change default screenshot format
The default format when saving captures is generally PNG and can be changed easily using terminal and a few simple commands. Mac supports PNG, JPG, TIFF, GIF, and PDF formats, so you can choose any of these. Launch terminal, which is under the Utilities folder or use spotlight.
- To set JPEG format as the default, type the terminal command: defaults write com.apple.screencapture type jpg
- To set TIFF, type: defaults write com.apple.screencapture type tiff
- To set GIF, type: defaults write com.apple.screencapture type gif
- Set PDF, type: defaults write com.apple.screencapture type pdf
- If you wish to return the format to PNG, type: defaults write com.apple.screencapture type png
The changes will not take effect until you restart the Mac. Alternatively, you can use the additional terminal command: killall SystemUIServer. The Mac will then be forced to reboot and the system will use the new settings.
Grab utility stopped working after macOS update
Occassionally, the app might fail to work after a system update. This issue can be due to a corrupted Grab preference file. To see if this is the case on your system, open Finder, choose Go from the Finder's menu at top of your screen, select Go to Folder, and type the following path: ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.grab.plist and press return. Move the selected file to Trash or your Desktop and restart the Mac. Once the computer has completely rebooted, attempt to launch Grab again. If this step helped, delete the old preference file. Otherwise, try reinstalling the Grab app using macOS Recovery. Finally, if none of these solutions fixes the problem, you could reinstall macOS.
Detailed steps on how to reinstall macOS.
An alternative method to take a screenshot on the Mac is to use built-in screenshot function.
Video Showing how to use Grab utility on macOS and Mac OS X
- How to use
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Download YouTube playlist
With this professional video downloader for Mac, users can download YouTube single videos as well the whole collections from YouTube users' channel, personal playlist, movies category, YouTube charts, artists' channel and music category. Within just one click, you can grab all videos in specified channle/list with 3X faster speed brought by advanced technologies.
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The program enables users to start and stop video downloading at any time you preset. Moreover, you can schedule your Mac computer to shut down, enter into sleeping mode or exit the program when download completes.
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How to use
1. Use free online tool to download videos on Mac
This free Mac video downloader does not require any installations or registrations; you simply copy the video link and paste it into the URL field. After clicking 'Grab it', it will display video formats available for saving your videos in FLV, WebM, 3GP, MP4 and other formats depending on the website you are downloading from. Nevertheless, before using the app, the very first step is to enable Java applet in Safari or other browsers. Please make sure that you check 'Enable Java check box' under 'Preferences' tab in your browser.
2. Use free Mac software to download videos
One click to download single video as well as the whole collections
- The program is very easy to use. To perform every single video download, you simply specify the video URL that you want to download and click 'Paste URL' button.
- The steps to download the entire YouTube playlist are exactly the same. All you need to do is to find the URL of YouTube playlist and hit on 'Paste URL'. Resume to interface, in the popup window, all the videos will be automatically fetched. Select all or part of them per your needs, and then click 'Add to download' to carry on multiple downloads simultaneously.
Auto-detect and grab video that is being played
Given that you do not want to process Mac video download simply by copying and pasting the URL manually, then you are suggested to take advantage of its 'Detector' function. As long as you load videos in the built-in browser, this Mac video downloader will take care of the rest.
3. Video Tips for Mac
Most video addicts like to enjoy abundant videos from video sharing sites including YouTube, Dailymotion, Vube, BBC, ESPN, Facebook, Vimeo, Hulu and other similar sites. You are looking for specific guides on downloading from a platform to your Mac computer, please refer the detailed instructions below
YouTube has had such an incredible string of successes. People want to download their favorite videos to watch offline and keep forever.
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