Add Style to Your Screenshots Using Screenie

It has been said that “a picture paints a thousand words,” and that is so often true when explaining technology. The screenshot is a key element in passing on pertinent information in an easy to digest format. It shows the reader what to expect, and when combined with an explanation, a screenshot can help readers tackle the task ahead.

But screenshots can, at times, be boring! One way to add flare to a screenshot is to use a picture editor and modify the picture by adding reflections, lighting, shadows and perspective, or to frame the shot or present it in different way. However if you don’t have the right “Photoshop”-type skills, that can be hard.

As an alternative to using a picture editor, you can use Screenie, a program designed to give screenshots a different look without needing a graphic artist. To install it on Ubuntu, type the following command into a terminal window:

sudo apt-get install screenie-qt

You can start Screenie from the launcher or from the command line like this:



Using Screenie is very simple. There are two main windows: one which shows a preview of your screenshot collage and the other for the controls. To add images to the collage, you just drag and drop them from the file manager. Once loaded, you can then use the controls to get the desired look.

There are five sets of controls. The first three work the same but apply to the left, center and right image. The last two control the reflection and the background. The image controls allow you to change the offset (the horizontal position of the image), the distance (how close or how far away the image appears), and the angle (how much rotation is applied to the image). Here is an example using three images and all the controls in their default positions:


If you are only using one or two images, you can deactivate the unwanted images by un-checking the relevant tick box. Here is an example using just the one image:


The first of the reflection settings allow you to control the opacity of the reflection. This basically controls how much transparency is applied to the reflection. The “Offset” setting controls the size of the reflection. A small offset means the reflection will be short, while a large offset will create a long reflection.

The other major control set is for the background color. The three sliders control the red, green and blue (RGB) levels, meaning you can set the background to just about any color. If you un-check the “Background” tick box, then the background will be set to completely transparent.


Once you are happy with your screenshot collage, you can save it by right-clicking on the images. Select the path where you want to save the image, enter a filename and click save. The image will be saved as a PNG.

If you have any problems with the examples given above, please use the comments section below and we will see if we can help.

Gary Sims

Gary has been a technical writer, author and blogger since 2003. He is an expert in open source systems (including Linux), system administration, system security and networking protocols. He also knows several programming languages, as he was previously a software engineer for 10 years. He has a Bachelor of Science in business information systems from a UK University.

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