Take Better Screenshots In Ubuntu With Flameshot

Taking a screenshot in Ubuntu isn’t a tough thing to do (unless you want to take a screenshot of your login screen). It’s as simple as pressing the “Print Screen” button. Simple doesn’t necessarily mean the best, though. Yes, it’s easy, but the built-in screenshot functionality doesn’t exactly offer a lot of options.

If you take your screenshots seriously, you might need something more. Flameshot is a relatively new utility that lets you do a whole lot more with your screenshots. Powerful though it may be, Flameshot is also quite simple to install and use.

flameshot-ubuntu-installing

First things first: you’ll need to install Flameshot. Fortunately, it’s one of the easiest install processes you’ll encounter. Simply open up the terminal and type:

If you prefer a more visual way of installing the application, you can search for it in the Software Center.

After you enter the command, just wait a few moments for Flameshot and its various dependencies to install.

Even if you’re not on Ubuntu, the installation process is still easy. We’re not going to cover the steps for each distribution here but fear not. Instructions for installing on most popular distros are available on the Flameshot website.

flameshot-ubuntu-icon

Once the app is installed, you’re ready to go. There are two ways to use the app, depending on whether you prefer a GUI or the command line.

Using Flameshot in GUI mode

You can launch Flameshot via the Applications menu. Either click the menu icon in the lower left of the screen or search by typing Alt + F1. Now start typing the name of the icon and you’ll see Flameshot pop up. Once you launch the app, it will park itself in the tray. Click on the icon and select “Take Screenshot” to get started.

As the help message will explain, you can select a portion of the screen to take a screenshot of. You’re not limited to one shot. Once you’ve got a selection, you can refine it by dragging the different corners.

flameshot-ubuntu-screenshot-blur

Once you’ve got your selection, a handy assortment of tools is available. You can annotate the screenshot with arrows, draw on it, or blur out sections. This is great if you want to keep sensitive information out of a screenshot.

Once you’ve finished marking up your screenshot, you can save it. You can also copy it to the clipboard or open it directly in another application.

Using Flameshot from the command line

If you’re more comfortable with the terminal, Flameshot’s command line mode is plenty full featured. This is also handy if you don’t want the app running in your tray constantly.

The command flameshot full will take a screenshot of the entire desktop, then ask you where to save it.

If you’d rather copy to the clipboard, you can do this with flameshot full -c.

If you need some setup time, flameshot full -c -d 5000 will take a screenshot after 5 seconds.

To save it to your desktop, use flameshot full -p ~/Desktop -d 5000.

You can also get the best of both worlds. Using flameshot gui will launch the same interface that the full GUI version of the app uses. The difference is that this way the app doesn’t need to run in the tray.

While the app is ready to go as soon as you install it, you might want to tweak the configuration. Either type flameshot config or select Configuration from the tray icon menu.

flameshot-ubuntu-configuration1

Options you can set include whether to show the tray icon or if you want Flameshot to launch at startup. You can also select what buttons are shown in the GUI and what color you want the interface to be.

Overriding the Print Screen button

One thing you can’t set in the Flameshot configuration is to use the Print Screen button to take a screenshot. The wording on the Flameshot website seems to indicate that the app will eventually add this functionality. For now, you can override the Print Screen shortcut yourself.

flameshot-ubuntu-keyboard-shortcut

Open the system settings app, select Devices, then go to Keyboard. Scroll down to Screenshots. Select “Save a screenshot to Pictures” and hit Delete to disable the shortcut. Then scroll all the way to the bottom and hit the plus button. Here, give it a name and type the Flameshot command you want to bind to the shortcut. Then set the shortcut as Print Screen and you’re done.

Not everyone needs a powerful screenshot tool like Flameshot, but there are plenty of reasons to keep it installed. Detailed screenshots are great for reporting bugs or presenting problems you may be having when you’re looking for help. Using Flameshot is a much easier option than taking a fullscreen screenshot and editing the resulting image in GIMP. It’s worth keeping around for that reason alone.

One comment

  1. Taking screenshots under Linux has been trivial for twenty years. Let’s reinvent the wheel anyway – it is far easier than coming up with new and useful things.

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