How to Take and Annotate Screenshots with Ksnip in Linux

Annotated Screenshots With Ksnip Featured

When you need to highlight ab issue on your computer, one of the best ways is to take a screenshot to illustrate the issue. Better still, you can add annotations to it so the people helping you can easily understand the issue you are having. Let’s see how you can easily grab a screenshot of your desktop and annotate it with Ksnip in Linux.


The best way to get Ksnip is by using the Snap Store. If you are using an Ubuntu-based distribution that supports the Snap Store by default, you can find it in its Software Center.

Annotated Screenshots With Ksnip Software Center

If you’re a fan of the terminal, you can install it with:

sudo snap install ksnip
Annotated Screenshots With Ksnip Apt Install

If you are using something like Arch or Manjaro, you will first have to add support for the Snap Store as we saw here, then issue the same command.

Take a Screenshot

The first step to taking a screenshot of something is to have it on your screen. Start by running the application, opening the document, or visiting the site you want to grab a screenshot of. We will use this site as an example.

Annotated Screenshots With Ksnip Open Site

To take a screenshot of a specific area of your screen, you can click on the “New” button. By default, you will have to define the area you want to capture. If you prefer to take a snap of your full screen or a specific window, use the accompanying pull-down menu to select your desired capture mode.

Annotated Screenshots With Ksnip Screenshot Types

When it’s done grabbing your screenshot, Ksnip will open it in its main interface.

Add Some Text

To add text to your screenshot, use the text tool with the “A” symbol. You can click anywhere and start typing, or you can click and drag to define its bounding box beforehand and then start typing inside it.

Annotated Screenshots With Ksnip Add Text

On the bottom left of the window, right under the mini toolbar, you will see some options that allow you to customize how your text will look. Among other things, you can change the font’s color, size, the bounding box’s fill and border color, etc.

Annotated Screenshots With Ksnip Text Color

After some tweaks, your text will look different than when you first clicked and started typing. To readjust its position, select the transformation tool (first in the toolbar, with an arrow in a bounding box). Left-click on your text box and keep the mouse button pressed down, then drag it wherever you wish.

Annotated Screenshots With Ksnip Fix Position

Arrows and Highlights

Ksnip offers two ways to drag someone’s attention to a specific point of your screenshot.

You can use the arrow tool (sixth tool in the toolbar, with an arrow icon) to point at something. Select it, left-click and keep the mouse button pressed where you want the arrow to start, then drag where you want it to point to and click the mouse button. This is much easier than using the arrow tool in GIMP.

Annotated Screenshots With Ksnip Arrows

Alternatively, you can use the highlighter tool (fourth in the toolbar, with a marker icon) to create a colored overlay over an area of your screenshot. It’s better for text, though, so you may not notice the yellowish tint in the screenshot below.

Annotated Screenshots With Ksnip Highlighting

Like with the text tool, both the arrow and highlighter tools come with some basic options that, for example, allow you to change their color.

Blurring and Numbering

It’s almost a given that some of your screenshots will contain elements that you wouldn’t want to share with others. Fortunately, you won’t have to use a full-blown graphics editing application to remove anything from personal information to inappropriate advertising: you can blur it in Ksnip.

Choose the blur tool (seventh in the toolbar, showing dots in a “tic-tac-toe” arrangement). Use the only active option right below to define how “powerful” the blurring effect will be on your screenshots. Finally, define a bounding box with your left mouse button over the area you want to blur.

Annotated Screenshots With Ksnip Blurring

As a final step, if you have too many points of interest in the same screenshot, you can use numbers to prioritize them. Select the numbering tool (third in the toolbar, with the number 1 inside a circle), then click where you want your number to appear.

Annotated Screenshots With Ksnip Numbers

You can use the numbering tool’s parameters to change the fill, text, and stroke color. And you can use the transformation tool (first one, with the arrow inside a bounding box) on them, too, to move your numbers around or drag the edges of their bounding boxes to resize them.

Finally, use “File -> Save” to save your screenshot in a popular file format you can easily share with others, like PNG or JPG.

Although Ksnip excels as a screenshot and annotation combo, it’s lacking and feels somewhat buggy compared to more popular screenshot tools. If you’re not interested in annotating and only need a great screen-grabbing app, maybe you’d like to look at some alternatives.

Are you using a different tool to capture and annotate screenshots? If yes, which one, and why do you prefer it over other alternatives?

Odysseas Kourafalos
Odysseas Kourafalos

OK's real life started at around 10, when he got his first computer - a Commodore 128. Since then, he's been melting keycaps by typing 24/7, trying to spread The Word Of Tech to anyone interested enough to listen. Or, rather, read.

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