Most devices, apps, extensions, browsers and operating systems generally save screenshots as .PNG files, specifically because .PNG files save text content in images at a higher quality than JPG or other files. However, if you find PNG format hard to work with, are having compatibility issues or some other problem, this guide will show you how change macOS screenshots to another format, either, JPG, TIFF, GIF, PDF.


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The general consensus across almost all devices and screenshot tools is that PNG format is the ideal format to use for capturing what is visibly shown on screen. As mentioned above, this is because PNG is far better than most other common formats for capturing and displaying text-based content, although if you are looking at images captured in both PNG and JPG, it may be hard to spot the difference.

Even though PNG format is one of the oldest image formats available, having first come into existence (on paper) in 1977/1978, it’s still one of the most commonly used and popular formats, but it might not be for everyone. So follow along as we show you how to change macOS screenshots from the default PNG format to either JPG, TIFF, GIF or PDF.

The History of PNG Format.

How Do You Change Screenshots to JPG, PDF, GIF or TIFF on macOS?

To begin, you will need to open the Terminal, so press Command + Space, type Terminal, then press Enter. Once you have the Terminal window open in front of you, the rest is relatively easy, so long as you have the correct commands at your disposal. Listed below are each of the commands you need to enter to change the screenshot format on macOS. Simply copy and paste the command for the format you wish to use into Terminal and press Enter.

Change macOS Screenshots to JPG.

defaults write type jpg;killall SystemUIServer

Change macOS Screenshots to GIF.

defaults write type gif;killall SystemUIServer

Change macOS Screenshots to PDF.

defaults write type pdf;killall SystemUIServer

Change macOS Screenshots to TIFF.

defaults write type tiff;killall SystemUIServer

can you change macos screenshot from png to jpg

Once you enter a command, the change will take effect immediately. If you have a good look at the commands they are basically all the same, all that changes is the text after type, which changes to the name of the new format you would like to use. The killall SystemUIServer part of the command makes macOS cancel all current settings and switch to the new format. If at any stage you wish to change back to PNG format screenshots, you can use the following command.

Change macOS Screenshots to PNG.

defaults write type png;killall SystemUIServer