Mac – copy screenshot to clipboard at 200+ percent zoom: how to control this

Posted on


I just got a MacBook with the retina display and when I press CTRL+SHIFT+CMD+4 I get the expected behavior: it copies the selected area as a screenshot to my clipboard. The problem is that it copies it 200+ percent zoom. Shrinking it down to the right size makes it pixelated and so I’m not getting an accurate screenshot (as I see it when it’s taken).

Are there settings somewhere I can change to make it copy at the zoom level I actually work at?

My boss has an older Mac without retina display and he doesn’t have this problem. I don’t know if it has anything necessarily to do with retina display though.


I don’t know of a setting to automatically scale down the screenshot, but here are a few alternatives:

  1. Use RetinaCapture.
  2. After taking the screenshot, open the Preview application, press ⌘N to paste the screenshot into a new document, then select Tools > Adjust Size… and scale to 50% with Scale proportionally and Resample image checked. This should create a smooth sharp non-pixellated image. Then press ⌘A (Select All) followed by ⌘C (Copy), and you’ll have the scaled-down screenshot in your clipboard.
  3. Follow this tutorial to create a folder action which will automatically scale down screenshot image files.
  • Open Automator.
  • Select the Service template
  • Set: Service receives ‘no input’ in ‘any application’
  • Drag ‘Run Shell Script’ from the left to the right
  • Add the following script:
# Variables
NOW=$(date "+%Y-%m-%d at%l.%M.%S %p")
eval homedir=$homedir
SS_FILE="Screen Shot $NOW"

# execute screen capture command, screenshot$NOW.png is the name of file
screencapture -i -r "$SS_PATH/$SS_FILE@2X.png"

# get the 50% width of screenshot by sips
WIDTH=$(($(sips -g pixelWidth "$SS_PATH/$SS_FILE@2X.png" | cut -s -d ':' -f 2 | cut -c 2-)/2))

# scale down by sips
sips --resampleWidth $WIDTH "$SS_PATH/$SS_FILE@2X.png" --out "$SS_PATH/$SS_FILE.png"

# remove the native screenshot
rm "$SS_PATH/$SS_FILE@2X.png"
  • Save (remember the name)
  • Open System Preferences and go to Keyboard
  • Select Shortcuts then select Services
  • Scroll down to the General section and select the name
  • Add a shortcut: Command + Shift + 5

This will create a scaled down screen capture on your desktop

I would prefer doing this in the clipboard as we all use that more often. Anyone up for the challenge?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *