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I recently got a retina display MacBook, and all my screenshots (via ⌘ CMD+⇧ SHIFT+3 or ⌘ CMD+⇧ SHIFT+4) end up being twice the size compared to how they appear on-screen.

How can I stop this from happening?

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Twice the size? Like literally 4x the pixel density? Screen shots usually capture a 1:1 pixel density image. Can you check the image properties in Preview to make sure it's really 2x the width and 2x the height of your retina display which is either 2880×1800 (15") or 2560×1600 (13"). – Ian C. Oct 13 '13 at 23:16
A screencap of a retina display has the same number of pixels originally displayed. When shared in many other contexts (eg, pasted on the web), the higher DPI information is lost, so it appears twice as big. 2880x1800 is a pretty freaking big image. – Steve Bennett Sep 26 at 2:48

7 Answers 7

Here is the most convenient solution (Taken from and modified a bit)

Use OsX embedded Automator to downsize screenshots automatically after they taken.

  1. Open /Applications/Automator
  2. Create a "Folder Action"
  3. At the top of the window, where it says "Folder Action receives file and folders added to", select "Desktop"
  4. From the panel on the left, select "Files & Folders" and drag the item "Filter Finder Items" to the right panel.
  5. Add the following conditions to the Filter Finder Items action: Name begins with "Screen Shot"; Kind is image.
  6. (Optional step: if you want to keep copy of originals) - From the Actions list on the left, find "Copy Finder Items" and drag it to the panel on the right. Set the destination folder for the image copy (for example: "To: Pictures")
  7. In the Actions library on the left, click on "Photos" and drag the "Scale Images" action to the right panel.
  8. In the Scale Images action, select "By Percentage" from the drop-down and set the value to 50.
  9. Select File > Save and give the Folder Action a snappy name like "Smaller Screenshot Copy"


Here is saved workflow file

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While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. – jherran May 29 at 8:45
@jherran thanx for advice, modified as you suggested – Dan Key Jun 13 at 9:39

This is how I handle it. It's convoluted, but it works, and doesn't interrupt my screen-grab -> paste workflow wildly... I just screengrab, call an alfred workflow, and then paste.

CMD-CTRL-SHIFT-4 will capture a section of the screen. That section is copied to the OSX clipboard. Then I launch a script in terminal to save the clipboard contents to a temporary file, resize by half (72 dpi is half of 144 dpi), and copy the image back to the clipboard. This requires the use of several utilities - if someone knows of a way to accomplish this same feat with one simple utility please let me know.

I launch this script from Alfred to make it easy to get to:

pngpaste /tmp/ss.png
width=$((`sips -g pixelWidth /tmp/ss.png | cut -s -d ':' -f 2 | cut -c 2-` / 2))
sips -Z $width /tmp/ss.png
impbcopy /tmp/ss.png

pngpaste is on github: sips comes with OSX. impbcopyis here:

LifeHacker had an article on sips that I referenced, as well as this gist:

For Alfred, I just made a workflow that runs this as a bash script:

/Users/yourusername/bin/shrink_clipboard > /dev/null 2&>1
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This workaround may not suit everyone, but if you have a non-Retina external monitor, you can move the application window there and take the screenshot. That's what I do most of the time.


I have another workaround, which only works in browsers. Press ⌘CMD+- a couple of times to shrink your font to 50%, then screencap.

For instance:

enter image description here

Obviously the layout may change a bit, but it may be ok depending on your needs.

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Your best bet is to use a third party utility like RetinaCapture.

This is quite cumbersome to use, but gives you what you're looking for, and provides the option for generating both 1x and 2x screen captures at the same time, which is helpful if you're building a website:

enter image description here

enter image description here

I expect that there is a setting somewhere to do this ( seems the best candidate); but I can't find it.

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When you say your screenshots "end up" twice the size, I suspect you're sending them to people who are viewing them on non-retina displays. If so, that's to be expected – the pixel density on your display is higher, so when they view a screenshot taken from your machine on theirs, it'll appear physically larger.

One workaround for this, if you're sending the screenshots via OS X Mail, is to set the Image Size setting for attached images to "Large" instead of "Actual Size." That'll scale down the attached image such that it'll appear "normal" when viewed on a non-retina display.

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There are lots of cases where your retina screenshot will look twice as big, even on your own Retina display. Uploading to any website that ignores the DPI setting, for starters. – Steve Bennett Mar 2 at 1:59
  1. Take screenshot.
  2. Paste screenshot into Evernote.
  3. Copy screenshot from Evernote.
  4. Paste screenshot where intended.
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use the following addon for firefox

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Please add some information what it does etc. – Rob Sep 30 '14 at 15:01

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