Screen-capture apps

(See also: Desktop video-capture tools list.)



From: Ivy Cabeza (
Subject: Re: [plug] screenshots
Date: 10 Feb 2003 11:05:15 +0800

You could use GIMP. File->Acquire->Screen Shot. You can save it in any supported image format, and edit it as well. :-)

No prob,

(included in X Window System server implementations, e.g.,, XFree86)

Xpaint is a very old X11 utility built using the MIT Athena widget set. File > Take Snapshot will grab a window or mouse-selected rectangle from screen.

MagiCapture is a screen capture and preview utility for the X Window System. A user may capture a single window, a single window with decorations, a rectangular region of the display, or the entire display itself. The user may save the captured image into a graphics file supported by the ImageMagick toolkit, which supports most (if not all) popular graphics formats. MagiCapture uses the GLIB and GTK+ libraries for the user interface and the ImageMagick and GdkMagick library for all graphics processing. Requires ImageMagick.

Captura (proprietary, gratis usage):
Tejasconsulting survey says: "JPEG format, time delay option, English and Spanish."

Screen-Shooter (aka gnome-screenshot; GNOME Panel Applet):
The Screen-shooter applet is a GNOME Panel applet that easily gives you access to the power of the [ImageMagick] "import" command. The applet therefore requires that you have ImageMagick installed.

The 0.5 release adds support for every single image format under the sun!. Filetypes are determined automatically from the suffix of the filename you choose. Try your luck. Practically any format will work, for a really cool trick, try image.html.

Also, command substitution is permitted in the filename entry. The default setting uses the date command to timestamp the image filename. You can do much cooler things than this. Experiment...

New since 0.6 are further post-processing features that make use of the "convert" command (also part of ImageMagick). The first feature to exploit this is the thumbnail feature. This'll create your snapshot, then a thumbnail of it, for sticking on a Web page. More to come.

New since 0.7 is support for CVS GNOME-sized panels. Now the buttons will lie flat on a tiny panel. This needs testing, so feel free to get stuck in...

New to 0.8.1 are more post-processing options. Frame addition, equalization, normalization, and gamma adjustment. Somebody stop me if I get carried away ;)

New to 0.8.2 is a .spec file, and therefore rpms.

xwd (archaic, difficult to use, but always avail.):
(included in X Window System server implementations, e.g.,, XFree86)

type xwininfo to get a + cursor asking you which window you'd like to capture. Click the window you want. You'll get a rather long list, then. Hold on, you need only the 1st line. It's like this;

xwininfo: Window id: 0x18033ae "Netscape: Whatever"

Notice the lovely HEX 0x18033ae here. OK, now you can make image files using this beautiful number with xwd.

$ xwd -id 0x18033ae -out windowcapture.xwd

If you'd like the image of your whole screen, you don't need window id, actually. Just do;

$ xwd -root -out wholescreen.xwd

Well done. Probably, you'd like to see what you've just got. To display images with ImageMagick, use display command;

$ display myscreen.xwd &

With this (ImageMagick), you can convert these images (.xwd) to other formats, including TIFF or GIF or whatever you want.

From: "John P. Looney" (
Subject: Re: [ILUG] print-screen to clipboard ?
Date: Thu, 12 Dec 2002 13:51:07 +0000

xwd | display -

Then right-click & save. There are also loads of screenshooter applets.


From: Orlando Andico (
Subject: Re: [plug] screenshots
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 16:37:33 +0800 (PHT)

There is no more Screen-Shooter applet in RH8/Gnome2. The least-astonishment "PrtSc" key now does that.

You can always use
sleep 10; xwd -root >dump

or similar..

Orlando Andico (
Mosaic Communications, Inc.

Note: The "xwud" (X Window System Undumping utility) will display files saved by xwd. Also, GIMP and xv can read in those files.

KSnapshot: (KDE applet)
KSnapshot is a simple applet for taking screenshots. It is capable of capturing images of either the whole desktop, a single window, or a selected region. The images can then be saved in a variety of formats, or passed to another application using drag and drop.

Takes screenshots of framebuffer contents, whether or not X11 is running. Fbshot is a small program that allowes you to take screenshots from your Linux framebuffer. This utility was written on x86 hardware (typical PC), therefore it has no support for other architectures and their framebuffers, especially not for Amiga nor Atari. On the other hand it should work on machines like Alpha's and maybe SUN's. I'm not sure. Anyways it supports following bit-depths: 8, 15, 16, 24 and 32. So it should be enough for everyone.

Tejasconsulting survey says: "Captures the Linux framebuffer, time-delay option." Grabs an image of a framebuffer device and store it as a PNG file. Also has a timer-feature so you can do things before the image is grabbed.

import (in ImageMagick):
"import" saves any visible window on an X server and outputs it as an image file. You can capture a single window, the entire screen, or any rectangular portion of the screen.

Excellent and recommended article, "The Lazy Man's Way to Linux Screenshots", by Steve Litt , summarised here solely in case the original disappears from the Net:

Recommends any of three methods:
1. "import" (part of ImageMagick) method:
$ netscape -display servername:0 & (if we're screencapping netscape)
$ import -window root -display servername:0 myfile01.pcx (at X server console)
To reduce resolution, add -geometry option ("-geometry 640:480")
To reduce colours, add -colors option ("-colors 16 +dither")
2. "xwd" (old MIT Project Athena utility) method:
$ netscape -display servername:0 &
$ xwd -display servername:0 -root > myfile.dmp (at X server console)
ImageMagic "convert" utility can convert .dmp to .pcx .
3. GIMP method:
Select area. Magnify. Center. Crop. (Eliminates extraneous colours.) Reduce to 16 colours, using
convert -depth 24 $1 $1
convert -depth 16 $1 $1
convert -depth 8 $1 $1
convert -colors 16 $1 $1

Similar article:

Another description of using "import" from ImageMagick (taken from The Linux Cookbook):

import can capture the entire screen, a single window, or an arbitrary rectangular area, taking as an argument the name of the file to save to. As with other ImageMagick tools, the image format of the output file depends on the file extension you specify: `.eps' for EPS, `.tiff' for TIFF, `.jpeg' for JPEG, and so on.

After you give the command, the mouse pointer changes to a set of cross-hairs. You then use the mouse to specify which window to take the shot of, as follows:

* Left-click on a window to capture it.
* Left-click on the root window to capture the entire screen.
* Left-click and drag the mouse across an area of the screen to form a rectangular selection outline; release the mouse button to capture the selected area.

When you specify a window, import captures only the window's contents; use the `-frame' option to include the window manager frame in the image.

* To capture a particular window, including its window manager frame, and write it to a PNG-format file, first type:

$ import -frame session-1.png [RET]

* Then, left-click on the window you want to capture.

In this example, the capture is saved to a file called `session-1.png'.

NOTE: The system bell rings once when the screen capture starts, and twice when the captures finishes.

Electric Eyes (GNOME; aka "ee")
Electric Eyes was originally intended to be the default image viewer on the GNOME / Enlightenment desktop, although it does now have some limited image editing facilities. It's primarily an image viewer, but also allows many types of image manipulations, and can handle almost any type of image.

EasyCopy (proprietary) from AGI (autoGraph international)

EasyCopy from AutoGraph International (AGI) contains an advanced tool for X Window System screen capture, designed to meet the complex requirements of technical and scientific applications, or just to print screen for documentation or Web publishing.

Capture Modes:

EasyCopy supports various screen capture modes for X-window:

Capture Types:
You may capture

EasyCopy supports capture of the local display and remote displays.

Command Line Capture:

AutoCapture or Timed Capture:

AutoCapture or timed capture gives full control of quality, size and number of captures frames in combination with AutoSave.

Captured Image File:

EasyCopy saves the captured screen image in a file in XWD format. This file can be imported into other applications, or converted into other formats.

With AutoSave Easycopy also features automatic save of captures with a choice of profiles and individual preferences. Hot Keys EasyCopy can be operated by user defined hot keys, for example CTRL-W to capture a window, CTRL-F to capture the full screen, etc. You can use the graphical user interface of EasyCopy to configure hot keys. You can also setup hot keys in your windows manager.


scrot is a command-line screen capture util like "import", but using imlib2. It has lots of options for autogenerating filenames, and can do fun stuff like taking screenshots of multiple displays and glueing them together.
[Tejasconsulting survey adds: "Stitches together images from multiple devices."]

Shutter (formerly GScrot):

Shutter is a GTK2+ and gnomelibs-based, feature-rich graphical screenshot utility. Shot a specific rectangulary area, window, whole screen, or Web sites, either immediately or after a specified delay. Generates thumbnails, permits effects and drawing operations. Allows specifying a screenshot directory and file-naming pattern. Supports bulk operations on screenshots taken during a session: copy to clipboard, print, delete, rename.

Requires libgoocanvas3, libgoo-canvas-perl, gnomelibs, and GTK2+ Written in Perl. Licensed under GPLv3.

"cat /dev/vcsX > screenshot":
Excerpt from
The Linux Cookbook:

Screenshots of virtual console images:

To take screen shots in a virtual console, use cat to save the contents of the device file corresponding to that virtual console; these files are in the `/dev' directory, and are in the format `vcsnumber', where number is the number of the virtual console.

For example, if the target console is the first virtual console (which you would see by typing [ALT]-[F1]), the device to cat is `/dev/vcs1'.

* To take a screen shot of the fourth virtual console, and save it to a file called `screenshot', type:

$ cat /dev/vcs4 > screenshot [RET]

NOTE: You must have superuser privileges to access these files.

Take the screen shot from a virtual console different from the one you want to take a shot of; if you try to take it from the same console you want to capture, the command line you give will be included in the shot! (Kind of like having your thumb in front of the lens while taking a photograph.)

In order to re-display the screenshot just paste it back into a free virtual console, type:

$ cat screenshot > /dev/vcs4 [RET]

Screenshots taken of virtual consoles are saved as text files; you can't take screen shots of virtual consoles when graphics are displayed.


Screenshot program for Linux text console(s)

Q: I have 132x50 text mode with 8x8 font, and when I take a snapshot, it looks very wide and not tall... Why does snapscreenshot mess the ratio?

A: snapscreenshot doesn't save or even know about dot-per-inch ratios, and neither do most image display programs. 132x50 with 8x8 font means 1054x400 pixel resolution, and you clearly can see that 1054 is over two times 400. So it really is wider than its tall. Your monitor just squashes the pixels horizontally. If you want a regular 1.25 ratio image, you have to either squeeze it horizontally or stretch it vertically by using an image conversion program like Imagemagick.

GNU make is probably required. The program only works in Linux (I don't know any other Unix clones having /dev/vcs* -devices).

Tejasconsulting survey says: "Takes screen shots from TI graphing calculators." TiLP stands for "Ti Linking Program" or "Tilp is a Linking Program". It is a linking program for Texas Instruments' graphing calculators. TiLP works on several platforms (UNIX, Windows, Macintosh). It can handle any TI calculator (from TI73 to V200) with any link cable. TiLP has all the functions of a linking program and even more. Texas Instruments graphing calculators are capable of transferring information to other graphing calculators, computers, or special devices such as the Calculator-Based Laboratory. Programmers can make use of this capability to write programs that interact with the calculator. We (Romain Liévin and Tim Singer) are separately developing two PC-based linking programs for TI graphing calculators. Up until now there has not been a single complete and accurate piece of documentation for the Texas Instruments transfer protocol and related information. Rather than write two incomplete documents, we prefer to write a single work that is as complete as possible.

Tejasconsulting survey says: "Captures text on Linux virtual consoles and renders them in HTML." vcsadump is a tool for taking color screenshots of Linux virtual consoles and rendering them into HTML.

Noted by Tejasconsulting survey. XscreenCapture allows you to capture an X11 dump from any Linux client with X11 port open. It will also convert and save automatically the result picture in the desidered compress format (default PNG).

Very lightweight, fast, permits capture of arbitrary areas of the screen. When you run xsnap your mouse cursor will change to show an angle shape; simply position the cursor and 'drag' a rectangle describing the area of the screen you want in a snap-shot. That's it. Press either 'p' or 'w' in the resulting window to save a numbered snapshot to your home directory. Saves in xpm (X pixmap) format, which can be easily converted to better formats via wrapper script. Written by Clauss Strauch of Carnegie Mellon University.

More details at

(Bill Janssen modified Strauch's code to allow saving the snapped image in "xwd" and "ATK raster" formats and specifying the region to snap in args rather than interactively.)

Graphical screenshot app, built using the FOX Toolkit.


xv by John Bradley is an excellent, small, fast, easy-to-use, interactive X11-based graphics manipulation, conversion, and screenshot program, under a proprietary but generous licence permitting gratis non-commercial usage. A number of packages including the ImageMagick command-line utilities suite (and various graphical front-ends for them) have been written to get around its licensing limitations.

From: Paul Mc Auley (
Subject: Re: [ILUG] print-screen to clipboard ?
Date: Thu, 12 Dec 2002 16:58:53 +0000

On Thu, 12 Dec 2002 13:19:18 +0000 Declan Grady ( wrote:
> After moving from doze desktop to kde3,openoffice, etc etc .. I find
> one thing "missing" ... I used to be able to take a snapshot of my
> screen (by pressing the print-screen button) and then paste that into
> an app and edit it like any other image.

> How do I get this functionality on my new and improved desktop ?

xv allows you to 'Grab' the desktop, a window or a region.
Gimp allows you to 'Acquire' a screenshot.

I'm sure there are others...


Wink is tutorial and presentation-creation software, primarily aimed at creating tutorials on how to use software. Using Wink, you can capture screenshots, add explanations boxes, buttons, titles, etc. (Outputs Macromedia Flash, MS-Windows .EXE, PDF, PostScript, HTML, MS-Windows bitmap, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, or GIF.) Proprietary, x86-only.

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