In Chipaca's answer to Managing files and sync scenarios there's a screenshot with certain highlights. The highlights are the following:

  1. A row of a GUI list is highlighted by the other parts of the screenshot being darker.
  2. A check mark is highlighted by being circled by what looks like a (orange) crayon.

How do I create both of these highlights on a screenshot? Is there an automated process?

The screenshot I'm referring to looks like this:

Ubuntu One Control Panel “Cloud Folders” tab, with a row highlighted to illustrate the point in the text

  • 6
    This should be a plugin request for Shutter ;) – Achu Sep 12 '11 at 18:11

Here's a guide for The GIMP

Install GIMP

Create Highlighted Rectangle

  1. Select Rectangle Tool:

    • tick Feather Edges choose Radius e.g. 5.0 pixels for smooth borders
    • tick Highlight to highlight the selection

    enter image description here

  2. Select area to highlight

  3. SelectNone to remove selection.

The selection is now highlighted.

Highlight effect

Note: in some versions of GIMP the highlighting may be removed as soon as we select another tool or save the image. In this case, we can proceed as follows to keep the area highlighted:

  1. Invert the selection (SelectInvert or Ctrl+i).
  2. Bucket-fill the background with black 30% opacity.

Create Crayon

  1. Choose Ellipse Select Tool or e to select area for crayon
  2. SelectBorder e.g. with 8 pixels
  3. Paintbrush Tool choose brush e.g. Galaxy, choose color e.g. yellow
  4. Paint selection until happy

Crayon effect

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  • Is some of these steps possible to automate in any way? – N.N. Sep 12 '11 at 18:56
  • You can make the highlight part easier - see edit ;) – Takkat Sep 12 '11 at 19:26
  • 1
    Another way of doing the ellipse painting is by doing it as a path (which you can create with selection-to-path on the paths tab of the layers-and-paths window) and then doing "stroke path" with an appropriate brush set. (I'd be more specific but I don't have a GIMP install handy.) – fluffy Sep 12 '11 at 20:25
  • @luffy: I should have known this :D. I had started to do the same process in the GIMP, but I'm more accustomed to doing path related stuff in Inkscape :P. – RolandiXor Sep 12 '11 at 21:22

You can do this in editors such as Pinta, Shutter*, the GIMP, etc.

The process may vary, but one way to do it, would be to place a translucent square/rectangle in a second layer above the image, and then to cut out the part that you want to glow.

Example workflow:

enter image description here

  • Open your screenshot in Pinta.
    1. Create a new layer.
    2. Select the new layer
    3. Choose the paintbucket tool.
    4. Change the colour to black, but set the opacity to 150.
    5. Now use the rectangle selection tool to select the area you want to highlight.
    6. Fill the layer with this colour.
    7. Hit delete.
  • The image should now be highlighted.


* Shutter is more for accomplishing the reverse effect.

| improve this answer | |
  • You haven't included the second highlighting technique I mentioned. – N.N. Sep 12 '11 at 18:10
  • 2
    That's why I'm wondering if Chipaca got some steps automated. Seems a bit too demanding to do advanced image editing for every screenshot. – N.N. Sep 12 '11 at 18:30
  • @N.N.: I was going to add it, but it's too much work with standard methods. So I'll leave my answer as is. – RolandiXor Sep 12 '11 at 18:35
  • 7. Hit delete. What do we have to delete exactly? – Anmol Singh Jaggi May 21 '16 at 16:27
  • @AnmolSinghJaggi when you hit delete, it deletes the pixels that you selected. – RolandiXor May 21 '16 at 23:59
  1. Take a screenshot

    I use shutter and gnome-screenshot to take screenshot, you may use any one of them.To install them, use the commands.

    sudo apt-get install shutter
    sudo apt-get install gnome-screenshot
  2. Install gimp
    We will need this for the editing.Install it with

    sudo apt-get install gimp
  3. Get the screenshot into gimp I dragged the image into gimp.You may use file -->open

  4. The fun begins

    • We first select the part we want white.We can hold Shift to select multiple areas. Then we invert the selection using Ctrl+I enter image description here
    • Then we select the paintbrush tool. enter image description here
    • Now we change the opacity and increase size.
      enter image description here
    • Paint everything.If it's darker, change opacity and try again.For me, 50% was fine. And the end result is.
      enter image description here

NOTE: The options for gimp were available easily for me because I have customised it a lot. Use some gimp tutorial to learn how to use it.

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Using Shutter

I think it is actually easier to use shutter both for the screenshot and for the highlight. Shutter is an awesome GUI screenshot and image editing tool.

1. Install shutter

If you don't have shutter installed, you can quickly install it via the terminal:
sudo apt install shutter

2. Launch shutter

Launch shutter using your favourite method. This is on Ubuntu 16.04.

enter image description here

3. Take your screenshot.

Let's use google's homepage:

enter image description here

4. Reopen Shutter's main window

You will be greeted by a screen like this showing your last screenshot. Click on the Edit button at the top right corner.

enter image description here

5. The edit window

This will open such a window with the edit tools and buttons on the left hand side.

enter image description here

Among the tools you can use include:

  • Highlight some parts of the screenshot using the Color highlighter
  • Add custom text using the Text tool
  • Add shapes like lines, arrows, rectangles, ellipses, etc
  • Censor parts of the screenshot using a smudge tool or the pixelize tool.
  • You can also crop some parts out

Edit the screenshot as required then click the save button on the top left corner to save the changes.

The screenshot below shows the effect of some of these tools:

enter image description here

Happy editing.

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Whenever you have a workflow like the ones shown in the other answers for the GIMP, it's somewhat easy to automate them at least partially (with the restrictions that scripts have compared to plugins) by writing some Script-Fu (so, Scheme), or Python. If the script is written to respect undo/redo, this also makes experimenting with the values a little bit easier, because it's just a keypress away to remove all traces of the effect again.

Here's a script automates the highlighting part, because I might use that myself going forwards.

Scripts go into ~/.config/GIMP/2.10/scripts (or e.g. ~/.gimp-2.8/scripts, respectively other version numbers), then you only have to start the program, or use Filters > Script-Fu > Refresh Scripts if the file was added when it was already running.

Afterwards, select something and use Filters > Light and Shadow > Highlight Area... to create a new highlight (well, shadow really) layer:

example of highlighting usage

This is also how the highlights would look with 5px of feather applied.

Feathering is optional, after all you can achieve the same effect by using the feather option of the selection tool; using layer opacity can make fiddling with the colour a bit easier, but if you want to paint on top it's easier to go with alpha fill (alternatively another layer would have to be added).

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