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

I am running Ubuntu GNOME.


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 400x300 -delay 200 screenshot.png

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

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
  • 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

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
| improve this answer | |
  • 5
    gnome-screenshot --help will give you plenty of options. – somethis Jul 11 '13 at 5:00
  • 3
    gnome-screenshot --interactive – Luis Souza Jul 19 '18 at 3:28

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=http://shutter-project.org/ -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.
| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    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

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 xwd:- screenshot.png

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

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

For the second screen only:

xwd -silent -root | convert xwd:- -crop 1920x1080+1920+0 +repage test.png
| improve this answer | |
  • Nice answer. But since you read from pipe you probably need to specify the input format for the convert command : xwd ... | convert xwd:- .... At least it was required on my Debian Strech install with IM 6.9.6-2 – Sylvain Leroux Nov 21 '16 at 14:31

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.

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    What is the format of my_screenshot? How to view it? – Ciro Santilli 郝海东冠状病六四事件法轮功 Aug 11 '16 at 16:57
  • While there are many ways to make a screenshot in the GUI, this actually work in a plain console without X or any GUI. The format of the screenshot is PNG. – mivk Jan 9 '18 at 11:29

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.

| improve this answer | |

No installation needed. Customized to your needs.

  1. Place the following command in a file named screenshot.bash anywhere you want.
gnome-screenshot -a -c -f /home/<username>/Desktop/Screenshot_$(date +"%0y%0m%0d_%0H%0M%0S").png
  1. Copy the location of this file.

  2. Go to "Keyboard Shortcuts" and create a new one by hitting + at the end of the list

enter image description here

| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.