How to use Alt+Print Screen with VMWare or VirtualBox on Mac OSX

If you’ve ever had a Windows process or application you were trying to document using screenshots, chances are that you’ve used the Alt+Print Screen shortcut to capture a single window to the clipboard. If you have Windows running on a virtual environment like VMWare or VirtualBox under Mac OSX, you can still use the print screen key. Here’s how:

  1. Go to System Preferences
  2. Click on Keyboard
  3. Check the “Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys” box on the Keyboard tab.
  4. Use the F13 key as your Print Screen key, and the option key (alt) for your alt.  For example Alt+Print Screen would translate to option+F13

5 thoughts on “How to use Alt+Print Screen with VMWare or VirtualBox on Mac OSX

  1. This would be great except on a MacBook Pro, the keyboard F keys only go up to F12. Any ideas?

  2. Hey Michele,

    Try creating a custom key mapping:
    VMWare Fusion->Preferences->Keyboard & Mouse->Key Mappings->(+)

    Choose the combo you want to map in the From section.
    Then, choose “Print Scrn” from the dropdown list in the To section.

  3. On a MacBook Pro (but I guess this solution is actually cross-platform and is also a native VirtualBox feature):
    1. If it is not already enabled, switch on the “View” menu option for your particular guest vm: configure your VM (even while it is running): Open VirtualBox (Oracle VirtualBox VM Manager), select your VM and click Settings and click “User Interface”. There, I suggest enabling at least the “View” menu (by clicking on it – it will toggle-select it) and click “OK”. It will save modifications.
    2. Switch to (or start up) your (runnning) guest VM, then click the “View” menu now visible in your vm MacOS menu (check upper right edge of your host MacOS screen)
    3. In the “View” menu, you should be seeing a “Take Screenshot… (Host+E)” option, which is your friend.
    4. Of course, you could have tried Host+E right away 😉 NOTE: “Host” is the currently assigned host key (whatever you had set it to – I set mine to Left Cmd)
    5. A vm pop-up will be shown to specify where to save the screenshot.

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