Screen Clippings to PDF Workflow

Use the free InstantShot! utility on macOS to rapidly capture screen content. You can specify keyboard shortcuts in InstantShot! Preferences. For example, I’ve set up the shortcut SHFT ⌘ R for defining a rectangle to capture and SHFT spacebar to repeat a screen capture in that rectangle.

InstantShot! runs as a menu bar application. Click the icon, then ensure that Shoot inside a rectTo Jpeg file is checked. You want all the screen clips to be saved to a folder so you can select the images and combine into a PDF. From the InstantShot! menu, select Reveal save path in Finder to locate the folder.

Now, we use the Automator app to build a macOS service that takes image files in Finder and combines them into a PDF.

Launch the Automator app from your Applications folder, and select Service from the dialog.

Set up the new Automator document as follows:
  • Up top, Service receives selected image files in Finder
  • Drag in the New PDF from Images action from the left sidebar. You can filter the available actions list using a string such as pdf
  • Save the automator service with a descriptive name such as “New PDF from Images" in the Save dialog.

The one-time setup is now complete.

To start capturing screen clips, ensure that InstantShot! icon is present in the menu bar, and use the shortcut SHFT ⌘ R to capture a rectangular region of the screen. Then, use SHFT spacebar for subsequent captures.

For example, you may open a presentation on, put it into full-screen mode, and screen capture the slides you need.

Next, in InstantShot! menu, choose Reveal save path in Finder.

Select the images that’ve been saved sequentially (use SHFT click to select a range of images), and from the right-click menu select ServicesNew PDF from images.

This will create a new PDF on the Desktop named New_PDF_from_images.pdf (or as configured in the Automator action above.)

Rename the PDF as required.