How to Change the Screenshot Save Folder on Your Mac

How to Change the Screenshot Save Folder on Your Mac

If you are one of those users who takes a lot of screenshots either for teaching purposes or just for keeping records of whatever you did on your machine, you might eventually find your desktop cluttered with a number of screenshots scattered here and there. Unless you individually check out those screenshots and delete the ones you don’t need, your desktop will remain cluttered. The default location for saving your screenshot when using the screen capture shortcut key (Cmd + Shift + 3) is the Desktop. What if there was a way you could place your screenshots somewhere else on your Mac instead of the desktop?

Although your Mac comes configured to put all the screenshots on the desktop, you can modify the settings and have your screenshots placed somewhere else so that there will be less clutter on your desktop. However, you will need to dabble with the Terminal to get things done. Here’s how you can do that:

1. The first step is to decide where you want to save the screenshots. You can create a folder anywhere on your Mac for that purpose, and you can then use it to store the screenshots that you capture on your Mac.

In the example below, I have created a folder called “New Screenshots” in the “Documents” directory on my Mac. I will use it to store my screenshots.

2. Fire up Terminal on your Mac. To do that, click on Launchpad in your dock, search for and click on Terminal, and it will launch for you.

Open the Terminal app.

3. When Terminal launches, enter the following command. Hit space after “location,” and then drag and drop the screenshot folder you created earlier onto the Terminal window. It will put in the full path to the screenshot folder in the Terminal Window so that you don’t have to type it manually.

When you have dropped in the screenshot folder, the full command will look like this:

Hit Enter and let Terminal do its magic.

Drag and drop the screenshot folder you created.

Once the above command has done its thing, enter the following command into Terminal and hit Enter. It will reset the UI on your machine so that it recognizes the changes you just made.

This command will reset the UI on your machine.

You are all set.

Now, try capturing a screenshot using “Cmd + Shift + 3,” and you should see that it’s being saved to the folder you chose above instead of your desktop. Your job is done.

If you ever wish to change the folder to back to the desktop, you can do so using the following steps.

Launch Terminal on your Mac.

Type in the following command and press Enter. Make sure to replace “Mahesh” with your own username on your Mac.

Change back the folder to desktop.

In order for your Mac to recognize the changes, simply issue the following command:

Enter this so your Mac will recognize the changes.

And you are all done.

The default save folder for your screenshots is your desktop now.

Assigning a particular space of your Mac for a specific file is a good idea to keep things organized. The above solution should help you change the screenshots folder so you can save them wherever you want instead of your desktop. That way they will be saved in the folder you want and you will have less clutter on your desktop.

24 comments

  1. 1.To capture a specific application window, press and hold Command-Shift-4 then tap on the Spacebar. The cursor will change to a camera, and you can move it around the screen. …

    2.To copy a specific application window, press and hold Command-Control-Shift-4 then tap on the Spacebar.

  2. Everytime I screenshot,it goes to a folder automatically…I really want to delete them all but i cant drag and drop or transfer them to my mac homescreen…

    • Hi Inha,

      You can just delete the folder where the screenshots are saved, does that not work for you?

  3. when copy and paste the command “defaults write com.apple.screencapture location” and drop and drag folder to set path i get this

    2016-02-15 12:29:57.295 defaults[42986:762511]
    Rep argument is not a dictionary
    Defaults have not been changed.

    any thoughts on how to fix? or what i did wrong?

    • Hi owen,

      There’s a space between “location” and the path that you’re going to paste.

      Did you have a space between “location” and the directory path?

      Let me know. Thanks!

  4. I use screenshots constantly…My desktop is a disaster! Thanks for showing me how to corral my images.

  5. My screenshots save in a dropbox account. I do all the steps above and it changes. Once I turn off my computer and tirn back on it goes back to the original settings of saving it to dropbox.

    Please help.

    Thanks.

    • Did you set up something in the Dropbox app so that it always saves your screenshots in your Dropbox account? The above change once made doesn’t get reversed when you reboot your machine.

  6. Informational but for some reason it didn’t work for me. I was trying to get screenshots target to again be desktop, My solution was to click on Dropbox icon on top line of screen. Then choose “settings”. In settings, select “Import”. On my Mac, the “Share screenshots using Dropbox” was checked. I simply unchecked that box and all was back to normal.

    • Hi Larry,

      Sometimes third-party apps like Dropbox interfere with your Mac settings and they don’t let you achieve what you really wish to!

      Glad you finally found a solution :)

  7. Informational but for some reason it didn’t work for me. I was trying to get screenshots target to again be desktop, My solution was to click on Dropbox icon on top line of screen. Then choose “settings”. In settings, select “Import”. On my Mac, the “Share screenshots using Dropbox” was checked. I simply unchecked that box and all was back to normal.

  8. Really excellent, clear and concise. I’ve seen other people’s explanations for this but yours is the best, and easiest to execute.

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