I could swear I've always been able to do Alt+Print Screen to get 'just that window' but right now I am getting my entire desktop.

Any idea why this would be or what I can do to get my ability to do small window screen shots?

I've tried a lot of combination with the Ctrl, Alt, Shift and Print Screen keys, but no luck, nothing happens in response. One option: Shift+Ctrl+Print Screen lets me do a selection using a cross hair to size out the screen capture but I don't know where this gets saved. I'm not being given the choice and it's not in Desktop or Pictures.

I use an external keyboard, but I've tried using the laptop's own keyboard and no difference.

I am running Ubuntu 12.04 and the laptop is a Samsung Ultrabook 900

Update: I rebooted and it "fixed" it - for now. However this is not the first time I've seen this so I'm still curious as to why it happens, what I can do to fix w/o reboot and if other share the same problem.

2014 Update:

  • Print Screen - print desktop
  • AltPrint Screen - print window
  • CtrlPrint Screen - select and print area

all seem to be working fine now.

  • what currently happens when you hit those key-combos? Commented Nov 21, 2012 at 16:06
  • You can try gnome-screenshot -w -d 4. Will take snapshot of window.
    – VedVals
    Commented Nov 21, 2012 at 16:06
  • I tried that at the command line and it locked up my machine and I had to reboot. Commented Nov 21, 2012 at 16:10
  • 3
    Have you tried Shift+Prt sc?
    – Seth
    Commented Nov 21, 2012 at 16:33
  • @Seth, I don't know about your machine, but on mine Shift+PrtSc does the area-select screenshot, just like Shift+Ctrl+PrtSc. Commented Dec 1, 2013 at 16:15

8 Answers 8


I'm not sure if Ubuntu 12 has a similar settings tools. Pull up System Settings and look at your Keyboard settings. Shortcuts contain many keys that your system may be expect you to use. Make sure you don't have a conflict with another keyboard shortcut and check that your screenshot shortcut is what you are expecting to use. I've disabled the general ALT key for dashboard that might interfere.

This is what it looks like in Ubuntu 13: enter image description here


I don't have a fix for this issue, but I could suggest another option: use Shutter Install shutter. It's a pretty advanced screenshot application that lets you do a lot more than just take screenshots - including choosing where to save them.

enter image description here


you dont need to use any tool ubuntu 18.04 supports this out of the box simply use these keybinding

  1. Specifc Window in focus Alt+Fn+Prnt Scrn
  2. Full Screen fn+prt sc

if the funtion key is not available/doesn't work out,

  1. go to settings
  2. Under keyboard
  3. search for screenshot and tap on each action and set the desired keybindings for a desired action,hope this helps

enter image description here

  • 1
    Another answer already says Alt + Fn + Print Screen combination. However neither that answer nor your own points out the Fn key doesn't exist on traditional keyboards. The Fn key is usually only found on laptops and special keyboards with backlit keys or other special hardware functions. Commented Dec 21, 2019 at 4:37
  • Thanks for pointing out I have updated the answer Commented Dec 21, 2019 at 6:27

My 'answer' to this, at least for now was to look for the app itself. So I went to dash home (top left icon with circle) and looked for the 'Screenshot' app then when I saw it I dragged it to my unity icons on the left and now it's simply available as an app and I get the options of capturing just the window, etc. when I use it.

enter image description here

  • Just a note: You can also press Shift+PrtSc to be able to select a specific part of the screen. Simply press it, then drag a rectangle over the area you want to screenshot. Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 19:15

Alt+Fn+Prnt Scrn = Only print the window


The reason this happens is that on many (most?) keyboards the PrtScn key is also the SysRq key, and Alt+SysRq is the "Magic SysRq Key" (see this answer: https://askubuntu.com/a/5168/50450). You can either disable the Magic SysRq key, or change the screenshot window shortcut to something else.


Alt+Prnt Scrn and release the buttons, will print-screen only the active window.


Try this! [ Ubuntu 20.04.4 by Terminal ]

# Screenshot a specific window, in this case a Firefox window:

import -window "$(wmctrl -l | cut -d ' ' -f 5- | grep -i firefox)" ~/Pictures/result.jpg

# Explaining the "wmctrl -l | cut -d ' ' -f 5- | grep -i firefox", list open windows and cut out the window name part by filtering on a keyword. Install the packages if necessary!


Make sure you have a Firefox window open before testing!

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