How to Screenshot on MacBook Air: A Step-by-Step Guide

Taking a screenshot on a MacBook Air is a simple task that can be accomplished with just a few keystrokes. Whether you want to capture the entire screen, a specific window, or a selected portion, the MacBook Air has built-in shortcuts that make it easy to snap a quick image of your screen. In just a few steps, you’ll have a screenshot ready to share or save for later use.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Screenshot on MacBook Air

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to know that there are different methods to take a screenshot on a MacBook Air, depending on what part of the screen you want to capture.

Step 1: Capture the entire screen

Press the Shift, Command, and 3 keys simultaneously.

When you press these keys together, your MacBook Air captures an image of your entire screen. The screenshot is automatically saved to your desktop, labeled with the date and time it was taken.

Step 2: Capture a selected portion of the screen

Press the Shift, Command, and 4 keys at the same time, then drag to select the area you want to capture.

After pressing these keys, your cursor turns into a crosshair. Click and drag to select the area you want to screenshot. When you release the mouse or trackpad button, the selected portion is captured and saved to your desktop.

Step 3: Capture a specific window

Press the Shift, Command, 4, and Spacebar keys in sequence, then click on the window you want to capture.

By pressing the Spacebar after the initial key combination, your cursor changes to a camera icon. Move the camera over the window you want to screenshot. The window will be highlighted, and you can click to capture just that window. The screenshot is saved to your desktop.

After you complete the action of taking a screenshot, the image will be saved as a .png file on your desktop by default. You can find it easily by looking for a file named “Screenshot” followed by the date and time. From there, you can edit, share, or move the screenshot to a different folder.

Tips: Making the Most of Your MacBook Air Screenshots

  • If you want to save your screenshot to the clipboard instead of the desktop, add the Control key to any of the combinations above. Then, you can paste the screenshot directly into a document or image editor.
  • To quickly open the screenshot for editing, double-click on the file on your desktop. It will open in Preview, where you can annotate or crop the image.
  • If you take a lot of screenshots and don’t want them cluttering your desktop, you can change the default save location using the Terminal app or third-party software.
  • If you’re using macOS Mojave or later, you can use the Screenshot app to capture images and video of your screen. Press Command, Shift, and 5 to open the app.
  • Remember, screenshots can contain sensitive information. Be careful when sharing screenshots that may include personal data or confidential material.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my screenshots are not appearing on the desktop?

Check your keyboard shortcuts in System Preferences under Keyboard and ensure the shortcuts for screenshots are active. Also, check if you have changed the default save location for screenshots.

Can I take a screenshot of a menu without the title?

Yes, press Shift, Command, 4, and Spacebar keys, then press the Option key before clicking on the menu.

How can I capture the Touch Bar on a MacBook Air?

Press Shift, Command, 6 to take a screenshot of your Touch Bar if your MacBook Air model includes one.

Is it possible to record a video of my screen?

Yes, on macOS Mojave or later, use the Screenshot app (Command, Shift, and 5) and select ‘Record Entire Screen’ or ‘Record Selected Portion.’

How do I cancel a screenshot while in the middle of taking one?

Press the Escape (Esc) key before releasing the mouse or trackpad button to cancel the screenshot.


  1. Capture the entire screen with Shift, Command, and 3.
  2. Capture a selected portion with Shift, Command, and 4, then select the area.
  3. Capture a specific window with Shift, Command, 4, and Spacebar, then click the window.


Taking a screenshot on a MacBook Air is a breeze once you get the hang of the key combinations. Whether you’re capturing an error message to send to tech support, grabbing a funny moment from a video, or saving a receipt from an online purchase, screenshots are an essential part of everyday computer use. With these simple steps and handy tips, you’ll be a screenshot pro in no time. Remember to use your screenshot powers wisely, and always consider privacy when sharing images that may contain personal or sensitive information. Happy capturing! And if you ever find yourself in a jam, just circle back to this guide on how to screenshot on MacBook Air for a quick refresher.

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