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What command(s) can I use in the terminal that's equivalent to the PrtSc (Print Screen) button?

I am running Ubuntu GNOME.

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Are you using gnome or KDE or something else? It kind of depends of what desktop environment you are using. – Braiam Feb 14 '14 at 4:09
@Braiam take a look at his answer. – Avinash Raj Feb 14 '14 at 9:16
@AvinashRaj are you aware that Unity use gnome-screenshot too? – Braiam Feb 14 '14 at 14:17
i think gnome-screenshot is the default tool on unity for taking screenshots. – Avinash Raj Feb 14 '14 at 14:19

You can use import tool available in the ImageMagick package (you need to install this if its already not available on your system).

Run the following command in a shell:

import screenshot.png

and select the window you want to capture or select a region by pressing the left mouse button and dragging.

import is a actually a very powerful command which can be used in many ways to > capture the screen. For example, to capture the entire screen and after some delay and resizing it, use the following command:

import -window root -resize 400×300 -delay 200 screenshot.png

To see all the options available with import command, go to ImageMagick’s website.

Source and more info.

Another way to take a screenshot from the terminal is with scrot

To install scrot type:

sudo apt-get install scrot

To take a screenshot in Linux from the terminal with scrot type:

scrot MyScreenshot.png

Some more options with scrot are here:

scrot -b -d 5 '%Y:%m:%d:%H:%M:%S.png' -e 'mv $f ~/Desktop/'

In this example,

  • -b specifies including the window borders
  • -d specifies a delay of five seconds
  • '%Y:%m:%d:%H:%M:%S.png' will save the screenshot with a name based on the current date and time and with the format specified, .png in this case
  • -e 'mv $f ~/Desktop/' tells scrot to save the screenshot to the Desktop
share|improve this answer
+1 for your answer. It helped me. Thanks :) – devav2 Sep 29 '12 at 15:45
You are welcome – user61928 Oct 1 '12 at 5:11
Both answers seem to work only with the current $DISPLAY, therefore not working over SSH – That Brazilian Guy May 8 '15 at 14:18
This certainly works for many users, it just didn't work for me. ImageMagick import renders KDE Desktop Effects transparent window borders / glow effect in solid black. And scrot doesn't want to participate in pipes at all, which I use to avoid unnecessary intermediate files when cropping the desired screen from a Xinerama setup. I use xwd instead and use ImageMagick convert to convert the xwd-format to PNG and do the cropping. (See also my answer below) – Christian Hujer Jul 11 '15 at 18:40
up vote 35 down vote accepted

Found this option here and other options are also listed.

Open terminal by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T and type


use gnome-screenshot -d xx to delay the action.

To delay the screenshot action by 10s

gnome-screenshot -d 10


sleep 10;gnome-screenshot
share|improve this answer
gnome-screenshot --help will give you plenty of options. – somethis Jul 11 '13 at 5:00

You can use shutter program to take screenshot from terminal.Run the below commands in terminal to install shutter,

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:shutter/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install shutter

To take a screenshot of active window,

shutter -a -o shot.png -e

To take a screenshot of whole display,

shutter -f -o shot.png -e

The screenshots taken are stored in the home directory.

For more options run shutter --help command,

    shutter [options]

    Example 1
            shutter -a -p=myprofile --min_at_startup

    Example 2
            shutter -s=100,100,300,300 -e

    Example 3
            shutter --window=.*firefox.*

    Example 4
            shutter --web= -e

  Capture Mode Options:
    -s, --select=[X,Y,WIDTH,HEIGHT]
            Capture an area of the screen. Providing X,Y,WIDTH,HEIGHT is

    -f, --full
            Capture the entire screen.

    -w, --window=[NAME_PATTERN]
            Select a window to capture. Providing a NAME_PATTERN (Perl-style
            regex) ist optional.

    -a, --active
            Capture the current active window.

            Capture a section. You will be able to select any child window
            by moving the mouse over it.

    -m, --menu
            Capture a menu.

    -t, --tooltip
            Capture a tooltip.

            Capture a webpage. Providing an URL ist optional.

    -r, --redo
            Redo last screenshot.

  Settings Options:
    -p, --profile=NAME
            Load a specific profile on startup.

    -o, --output=FILENAME
            Specify a filename to save the screenshot to (overwrites any
            profile-related setting).

            Supported image formats: You can save to any popular image
            format (e.g. jpeg, png, gif, bmp). Additionally it is possible
            to save to pdf, ps or svg.

            Please note: There are several wildcards available, like

             %Y = year
             %m = month
             %d = day
             %T = time
             $w = width
             $h = height
             $name = multi-purpose (e.g. window title)
             $nb_name = like $name but without blanks in resulting strings
             $profile = name of current profile
             $R = random char (e.g. $RRRR = ag4r)
             %NN = counter

            The string is interpretted by strftime. See "man strftime" for
            more examples.

            As an example: shutter -f -e -o './%y-%m-%d_$w_$h.png' would
            create a file named '11-10-28_1280_800.png' in the current

  Application Options:
    -h, --help
            Prints a brief help message and exits.

    -v, --version
            Prints version information.

    -d, --debug
            Prints a lot of debugging information to STDOUT.

            Clears cache, e.g. installed plugins, at startup.

            Starts Shutter minimized to tray.

            Disables systray icon.

    -e, --exit_after_capture
            Exit after the first capture has been made. This is useful when
            using Shutter in scripts.
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Shutter is a very advanced tool that has a editing shots like GIMP and easily adding auto increment shape that is very useful for tutorials. – guneysus Jan 27 '15 at 9:27

If you want to take a screenshot from a login-terminal (the one you open with Ctrl+Alt+F1) you can use the program fbgrab.

You can install it by typing sudo apt-get install fbcat.

Then take a screenshot of your login-terminal, type in your login-terminal:

$ sudo fbgrab my_screenshot

my_screenshot is saved under the current directory.

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I tried using ImageMagick import but it didn't work for me when using KDE Desktop Effects. ImageMagick import has output transparent window borders in black instead of properly combining foreground alpha and background.

I also tried using X11 xwd and NetPBM xwdtopnm but that also didn't work for me, NetPBM xwdtopnm couldn't properly deal with the multiscreen output of xwd because I have a Xinerama setup.

But combining X11 xwd with ImageMagick convert worked just fine for me:

xwd -silent -root | convert - screenshot.png

Or, if you have a Dual-FullHD Xinerama setup, like me, and want the first screen only:

xwd -silent -root | convert - -crop 1920x1080+0+0 test.png

For the second screen only:

xwd -silent -root | convert - -crop 1920x1080+1920+0 +repage test.png
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I'm using ubuntu 13.10 and I have a script that I just wrote which may be helpful. I see this questions been answered but my solution requires no additional installs.

gnome-screenshot --file="$imgSavePath"

This code will save the screenshot without popping up the dialogue window. It uses the current time for a file name to avoid any duplicate filename issues.

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