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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

5 Answers 5

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: https://github.com/jcsalterego/pngpaste. sips comes with OSX. impbcopyis here: alecjacobson.com/weblog/?p=3816.

LifeHacker had an article on sips http://lifehacker.com/5962420/batch-resize-images-quickly-in-the-os-x-terminal that I referenced, as well as this gist: gist.github.com/lanceli/4966207.

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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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 (com.apple.screencapture 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

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

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.

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