How to Take Perfect Screenshots with KSnapshot

Writers at MakeTechEasier taken more screen shots than many other computer users will take in their lifetimes. We all use our favorite programs and usually do not give them a second thought. The user who might occasionally want to give an instructional lesson or just show off some desktop eye candy will probably need a little more guidance. After all, there are many screen shot programs to choose from, and not all of them are equal.

KSnapshot for KDE stands out as one of the best screen shot tools available and is unquestionably the best one for KDE. It is a standard KDE program and should come packaged with any Linux distributions that offer KDE. It is very easy to learn, but as we always do at MTE, we are about to make it easier.

Starting Ksnapshot

There are a few ways to start KSnapshot:

1. Click the K menu -> Graphics -> KSnapshot.
2. Press Alt-F2 and then type “ksnapshot” into Krunner.
3. Press the shortcut key(s). Mine is set to start after pressing the “Print Screen” key.

Types of Screen Shots

While taking a full screen screen shot might suffice when all you want to do is brag about your desktop organization skills, more involved tasks require more options. With KSnapshot, there are 5 different capture modes:

1. Full Screen

By default KSnapshot will take a screen shot of the entire screen, including the desktop and any present windows. To take a shot, click “New Snapshot” and then click once, anywhere on the screen.


2. Window Under Cursor

With this mode, only the window your mouse pointer is hovering over will be in the screen shot. For this option, you may check “include window decorations” if you want them in the shot. Click “New Snapshot” and then click the window you want to capture.

3. Region

Sometimes you only need a small part of the desktop or window. You always have the option of editing a full screen image, but KSnapshot makes it easier. Click “New Shapshot” and then select the area you want to capture by clicking and dragging the selection box.  The portion of the screen(s) not selected will dim.


4. Section of Window

Windows are typically divided into sections. For example, a web browser will have the menu bar, toolbars, browser viewing area, and status. KSnapshot will detect these sections and allow you to click on the one you want to capture. It will then highlight it with a red rectangle. Click it again to finalize your choice.


5. Current Screen

I love my dual screen setup and found KSnapshot’s “current screen” option to be crucial.  When selected, it will only capture the screen with the focused window or the mouse cursor (depending on your setup).

Snapshot Delay

The snapshot delay setting is perfect when you want to catch something in the act. It may be a rotating desktop cube or a moment in a Flash video. To activate it, set the timer by pressing the up arrow. The time will be counted in seconds. You can always go back and adjust the time if, for example, you find 5 seconds too short. Unlike the “no delay” setting, there is no need to click. Once the countdown expires, the program will automatically take the screen shot. This is the most effective way to take a screen shot while you are doing something else.

Export Options

KSnapshot supports numerous image file formats, including PNG, JPEG, and TIFF. I have found the JPEG default setting to be too lossy and usually opt for a lossless format, later creating an optimized JPEG in Gimp. Once you name and save the first image, KSnapshot will pickup a numerical naming scheme, adding sequential numbers to your name for each shot.


If you prefer, you can send your screen shots straight to the image editor of your choice, including Gimp. If you choose “Copy to Clipboard” you can paste the image into virtually anything that will support image pasting.

KSnapshot is easy to use, free, and works with KDE, GNOME, and other desktops. Best of all, with KSnapshot, you can start multiple instances and take snapshots of KSnapshot, as I did for this article. Enjoy!

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