I followed the instructions here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201361

How to take a screenshot of a window Press Shift-Command-4. The pointer changes to a crosshair. Press the Space bar. The pointer changes to a camera. Move the camera over a window to highlight it. Click your mouse or trackpad. To cancel, press the Esc (Escape) key before you click. Find the screenshot as a .png file on your desktop.

But afterwards, I get a blank image (transparent everywhere). enter image description here

Has anyone seen this issue, and if so, what am I doing wrong? I am on Sierra 10.12.6

  • 1
    Does this happen on a specific app or does it happen on multiple apps?
    – drivec
    Commented May 8, 2018 at 21:52
  • Version of macOS? Application you're attempting to take a screeenshot of?
    – Allan
    Commented May 8, 2018 at 21:57
  • OS version is: macOS Sierra 10.12.6 (also in the last line of question); Seems to happen to all my applications; I've tried this on: Chrome, Sublime Text, Adobe Acrobat
    – flow2k
    Commented May 8, 2018 at 22:04
  • 1
    This happens only for the "Spacebar" version. If I just do Cmd+Shift+4 (no spacebar) it works fine.
    – flow2k
    Commented May 8, 2018 at 22:06
  • what is spacebar version?
    – Natsfan
    Commented May 8, 2018 at 22:44

4 Answers 4


This happens when a window has contents that are rendered outside the windowserver. Mostly 2d/3d, video and modelling software might do this. Some applications do it on purpose, like the Apple DVD player.


I would recommend you use the application "Grab" to take a picture of the screen, window, or selection. Grab comes with all Macs and is located in your "Utilities" folder. The Utilities folder is in with your applications.


Okay, I found out out what's causing it:

I'm using the Honer app https://github.com/puffnfresh/Honer.app, and it interferes with the screenshots, apparently. I've raised an issue about it on GitHub.

  • 1
    Interesting. It seems to render the contents off-screen and replace it post-processed later on after it put an overlay in place (which is what you see in the screen shot). Commented May 12, 2018 at 1:52

Brightness Slider is also causing this bad behavior.

The solution is to quit it to recover the single window capture capability of Screen Capture.

Brightness Slider

Whole screen grey image produced while trying to capture a single window with CMD-Shift-4, spacebar, with Brightness Slider open.

  • Thank you - This was the exact fix in my case. More specifically, if I adjusted the brightness to 100% w/o quitting then screenshots started to work once more.
    – sean2078
    Commented Jan 12 at 2:45

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