Last updated on November 23, 2020 by Dan Nanni
There are various flavors of Linux screenshot utilities, including desktop-specific screenshot programs (e.g.,
KSnapshot for KDE,
gnome-screenshot for GNOME,
Screenshooter for Xfce), or general screenshot utilities (e.g., Shutter).
One of unique screenshot utilities is
scrot (short for "SCReen shOT"), which is a command-line screenshot utility. While its interface is minimalistic,
scrot is as powerful as other dedicated GUI-based screen capture tools feature-wise. For example,
scrot supports delayed screenshot, adjustable quality/size, command line pipelining, etc. If you are one of those command line junkies,
scrot is a useful tool to add to your arsenal. In this tutorial, I will describe how to take a screenshot from the command line with
scrot on Linux
scrot on Debian, Ubuntu or Linux Mint:
$ sudo apt-get install scrot
scrot on Fedora:
$ sudo yum install scrot
scrot on CentOS, you can build it from its source by first enabling Repoforge and using the following commands.
$ sudo yum install giblib-devel $ wget http://linuxbrit.co.uk/downloads/scrot-0.8.tar.gz $ tar xvfvz scrot-0.8.tar.gz $ cd scrot-0.8 $ ./configure $ make $ sudo make install
In the rest of the tutorial, I will describe how to use
scrot to take screenshots in various ways.
It is easy to screen-capture the entire desktop. Simply run
scrot command without any argument, and it will save a screenshot of the entire desktop as a (date-stamped) .png file in the current directory.
You can also specify a destination folder and image file name.
$ scrot ~/Pictures/my_desktop.png
scrot allows you to choose a specific window or define a rectangular region in your desktop to take a screenshot of. For that, use the following command.
$ scrot -s
After running this command, go ahead and click on any window or draw a rectangle with your mouse, which will trigger screen capture of the selected window/region.
Sometimes the chosen region or window may be partially blocked by other windows of the desktop. In that case, you need some time to clear the area before taking a shot. That is when delayed screenshot can help you, as described next.
Delayed capture can be useful under various circumstances. Right before taking a shot, you may want to move windows around, activate a menu, or trigger a certain event (e.g., notification), etc. With
-d N option, we can delay a screenshot process by
$ scrot -s -d 5
You can adjust the image quality of a screenshot in the range of
100 (the higher the better quality). Default quality is
$ scrot -q 50
You can adjust the size of a screenshot in the range of
100 (the higher the bigger). To reduce screenshot size to
10% of the original:
$ scrot -t 10
scrot allows you to send a saved screenshot image to any arbitrary command as an input. This option can be useful when you want to do any post-processing on a screenshot image. The filename/path of a screenshot is stored as
$ scrot -e 'mv $f ~/screenshots'
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