High-level use case: Highlight parts in a screenshot

I don't care if gimp or another tool gets used to solve this.

Up to now, I do it like this:

  1. Super-key "screen..."
  2. choose application "Screenshot"
  3. take screenshot
  4. save it as foo.png
  5. open gimp
  6. select pencil
  7. set color to red
  8. set brush type to pixel
  9. set width of brush to 4
  10. mark the part
  11. overwrite foo.png

Unfortunately, gimp does not remember the settings.

I need to do step 6 to 9 over and over again.

What is the easiest way to take a screenshot and highlight a part?

Version: Ubuntu 18.04

  • 1
    Revisit this answer posted to your older question. Both Shutter and Flameshot would do the job pretty well.
    – pomsky
    Mar 6, 2019 at 12:38
  • @pomsky the old question is related, but different. Please answer the current answer question here.
    – guettli
    Mar 6, 2019 at 13:06
  • I never claimed the questions are the same... (BTW I didn't downvote if you're pointing to that)
    – pomsky
    Mar 6, 2019 at 13:10

3 Answers 3


There was Shutter but the edit (marking some parts) feature is a bit hard to enable under recent Ubuntu. Personaly familiar with Shutter, I did enable the edit feature by downloading missing debs. It works fine

sudo apt install shutter
wget https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+archive/primary/+files/libgoocanvas-common_1.0.0-1_all.deb
wget https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+archive/primary/+files/libgoocanvas3_1.0.0-1_amd64.deb
wget https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+archive/primary/+files/libgoo-canvas-perl_0.06-2ubuntu3_amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i libgoocanvas3_1.0.0-1_amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i libgoo-canvas-perl_0.06-2ubuntu3_amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i libgoocanvas-common_1.0.0-1_all.deb
sudo apt --fix-broken install

enter image description here

If you prefer some out of box app, you can take a look to Flameshot (available in Ubuntu repositories via apt)

sudo apt install flameshot

flameshot demo

  • 1
    Nice gif, top marks. I think Okular (KDE file viewer) does highlighting like that.
    – pbhj
    Mar 6, 2019 at 13:25
  • 1
    You can install the full version of shutter with all dependencies from this ppa: launchpad.net/~linuxuprising/+archive/ubuntu/shutter Mar 6, 2019 at 14:49
  • Since when is shutter not complete on Ubuntu? Asking just out of curiosity as it works fine without any other side steps to do on 18.04
    – Videonauth
    Mar 6, 2019 at 16:04
  • @Videonauth : The Edit image function needs libgoocanvas old version, unavailable in official repos since 18.04.
    – cmak.fr
    Mar 6, 2019 at 19:12
  • 1
    flameshot is the tool what I wanted, thank you.
    – Rafiq
    Jan 22, 2021 at 6:08

In Gimp you can save tool settings, using the icons at the bottom of the tool options:

enter image description here

(the icons are bit different in Gimp 2.8 but the functionality is the same)

If you use Gimp mostly for this, you can also make the whole setup your default when you start Gimp:

  • Activate the pencil tool
  • Set colors
  • Set brush and brush size
  • Set whatever you like as a default (font, gradient, pattern...)

Go to Edit>Preferences>Tools options

  • Uncheck Save tool options on exit
  • Click Save tool options now

In Gimp 2.10, also go to Edit>Preferences>Input devices

  • Uncheck Save input device settings on exit
  • Check Save input device settings now
  • For me "Save input device settings on exit" sounds good. I activated it. But the size of the brush gets reset to 20 after stopping and starting gimp again. Color and pencil type get saved. Thank you for this hint.
    – guettli
    Mar 11, 2019 at 11:33
  • You maye to save both Input device and Tool settings (it may depend on what is checked in "Paint options shared between tools")
    – xenoid
    Mar 11, 2019 at 13:18

I think you got better answers already providing specific tools for Ubuntu. Still I share my 50 cents here. This is how I do when I need to highlight a part of the image.

  1. Simply open it in GIMP
  2. Add a new layer
  3. Make a selection of the parts I want to Highlight.
  4. Fill with a colour
  5. Change the blending option with one that works for me.
  6. Export to your taste (image, copy/paste, and so on...)

In point 3: To make regular and clean results I often use guides to have a standard line height on text or precise selection overall. I often zoom to be pixel perfect. Them you can quickly get very precise selection using magnet selection.

In point 5: I use Multiply mostly. On white backgrounds Result : Text + coloured frame. Like a highlighter pen. On Black backgrounds Result : Coloured text.

There are tons of apps now that give such results quickly but often you have to draw the lines with mouse which to me give unclean results hence all the fuss with GIMP. Now I would go for Flameshot from what I see.

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