Create screenshots on the mac with CleanShot x

Create screenshots on the mac with CleanShot x

A faster more efficient way to make screenshots

Taking a screenshot on a mac in the usual manner (⌘ ⇧ 5) is a bit of a pain. After you press ⌘ ⇧ 5 you get a menu where you can select to make a recording or a screenshot, after selecting screenshot you have to click on the window you want to take a screenshot of, wait for 5 seconds, then in the right corner, a preview will appear in the lower right corner of your screen you have to click on that within a few seconds in order to give it a name otherwise it is just saved as Screenshot-timestamp.png.

All that for just taking a screenshot and if you want to annotate the screenshot you have to open the screenshot in an image editing app. Even more steps! The good news is there is a better way, an app called CleanShot X.

CleanShot X can be purchased on for $29 or if you have a SetApp subscription you can get it from SetApp. CleanShot X has a better workflow out of the box and with a little bit of configuration, it is really efficient to make screenshots.

Configuration in System Preferences

The first time you run CleanShot X the app will ask for recording permissions.

  • Open  > System Preferences > Security & Privacy
  • Click on the Privacy tab
  • On the left pane scroll down to Screen Recording
  • Click on the lock icon to unlock System Preferences
  • Enable CleanShot


While you are in System Preferences remove the old shortcuts. We let these shortcuts open Cleanshot instead.

  • Open  > System Preferences > Keyboard
  • Click on Shortcuts
  • Select Screenshot on the left panel
  • Disable all the shortcuts you want to use in CleanShot X. I only use CleanShot for making screenshots For recording I use another app so for now I leave ⇧ ⌘ 5 enabled and the rest disabled.


Configuration in CleanShot X Preferences

On the menubar Click on the CleanShot X icon and select Preferences. On the General tab, I enabled Start at login. I also disabled Show Quick Access Overlay and enabled Open Annotate tool. This way when I take a screenshot the annotation tool starts up immediately. From there I can annotate if needed (usually not) and save the screenshot with a name of my choosing.


On the wallpaper tab, I selected the transparent option without padding or shadow.


On the shortcuts tab, I only made changes in the Screenshots section.


I did not make any changes to the other tabs.


Alright, let's run a test. Say I have the system preferences window open and I want to make a screenshot. Type ⌘ ⇧ 2. The cursor changes to a camera. Move the camera to the window you want to make a screenshot of (if this window has the focus the camera is already there). Either click with the mouse or press enter. A screenshot is taken and you are in the annotation tool. Click Save As. Supply the filename and click Save.

Now if the window that you want to make a screenshot of already has the focus, then you can take a screenshot with the following keystrokes

  • ⌘ ⇧ 2
  • Enter
  • ⌘ s
  • (type the filename)
  • Enter

Taking a screenshot is now a lot more efficient. Problem solved.