Ways To Grab Screenshots In Ubuntu

When I am writing post for Make Tech Easier, I love to take plenty of screenshots as I feel they can make the explanation clearer and easier. Over the year, I have also discovered several ways to take screenshot on my Ubuntu machine. If you are looking for one, I have compiled a list of screen capture tools that you can use in Ubuntu.


Gnome Screenshot

Gnome-screenshot is the default screen capture tool in Ubuntu. It is simple and easy to use. You can choose to capture the whole desktop or the current window and you are able to set a delay before activating the capture. It is useful for those who wanted a lightweight and minimal screen capture tool.

Gnome-screenshot can be accessed from Appications -> Accessories -> Take Screenshots.



Compiz comes with a screenshot plugin that allows you to take screenshot quickly and easily. It consist of the bare minimum and few or none configuration options. You simply press the Windows button on your keyboard, left click your mouse and drag the cursor to cover the area you want to snap. That’s it. For those who want a quick snapshot of a specified region, Compiz is the best.

To activate the screenshot plugin, you will have to install CompizConfig Settings Manager and activate it from there.


GIMP screenshot

GIMP has a screen capture function that can be found several levels down the menubar. One of the advantage of using GIMP is that you can immediately edit the screenshots and save it in the file format that you want it to be. In addition, this is the screen capture tool that I used everytime I wanted to take a snap of a window inside a virtual machine.

GIMP is useful if you want to take a comprehensive screenshot that you can edit immediately. If you just want a quick snapshot, I don’t think it is worth the trouble to load up GIMP, navigate several levels down the menubar before you can take a shot.

If you are using Gimp 2.6, the screen capture function can be found in File -> Create -> Screenshot



One of my favorite screenshot tool is Ksnapshot (Click the link to install). It is a KDE application and is not available in the GNOME desktop. You will have to install it to use it. For me, I find that Ksnapshot is more like a combination of Gnome-screenshot and GIMP. You get to choose which region to capture – full screen or active window, and after you have captured it, you can either save it as a image file in various format or you can send to another application, such as GIMP, for editing.

If you don’t mind having a large bunch of KDE file in your Gnome desktop, then Ksnapshot is the one to go for.



Webkut is an Adobe Air application meant for taking screenshot of Web page. It is like a browser where you can load up the webpage by entering the URL in the address bar and select the region to capture. One thing that I like about Webkut is that I can adjust the size of the canvas before I take the screenshot. This is useful when I need to take a screenshot of specific width and height.



ScreenGrab is a Firefox extension that can capture the screenshot of any web page. Once installed, you can access the ScreenGrab options via the context menu (right mouse click). There are a few options that are available to you. One of them is the ability to capture the whole web page even though it is out of your screen. This can save you the trouble of taking several screenshots and stitching them together. You can also choose to capture only the visible portion or a partial region of the whole desktop.



Webshots is another Firefox extension for screen capture. The option is rather limiting as it only allows you to capture the full page. One thing good is that it can be quickly activated with the shortcut key Alt + W.

For Seasoned Windows User: Easy Capture

Easy Capture

For those seasoned Windows users who just got on to the Ubuntu platform and are not comfortable with any of the above native Linux apps, I have found Easy Capture (a Windows screen capture application) to work well under Wine. It is like a mini GIMP where you can take screenshots and do some simple editing before saving it in the file format you want.

Which one is your favorite screen capture app in Ubuntu?


  1. did you ever try GScrot? as it’s a gnome-tool it is perfect for Ubuntu..

  2. @Imd: That is something new. I will give it a try.

  3. You can also hit the PrintScreen/PrtSc key anywhere in Ubuntu and it will immediately take a screenshot of the whole screen and ask for a filename to save it to.

  4. @qiet72: Definitely. That is by far the easiest way to capture screenshots.

  5. And I always use Gnome-Screenshot + GIMP to grab any screenshot.

  6. The above all pretty good. But if you are doing notes AND screenshots AND reference material for an article then the program Basket is the way to go. It is by far the fastest way to do all three functions at once.

  7. never thought about using basket for that. i take all the notes I need in firefox with the scrapbook-extension. in this way you have a whole site or only a part of it, you can take notes and highlight interesting parts. only the screenshots are apart. as with gscrot you can also upload the pictures (for use in a forum or wiki), that seemed a good choice.

  8. Personally i use Macvide ScreenCap! A very good program for capturing.You’d taken result screenshots to PNG, JPEG, TIFF, BMP formats,
    Save captured video to quickTime MOV, iPod mp4 or Mobile 3GP formats,Save captured to Flash SWF and FLV Video. Also you can print your screen shots or publish them to the internet.
    Nice tool.
    You can try it here http://www.macvide.com/Macvide_ScreenCap/
    I have no regrets by using it.

  9. Bumpitty bump…

    Gscrot is now Shutter.

    What is Shutter?
    Shutter is a feature-rich screenshot program. You can take a screenshot of a specific area, window, your whole screen, or even of a website – apply different effects to it, draw on it to highlight points, and then upload to an image hosting site, all within one window. Shutter is free, open-source, and licensed under GPL v3.

    Shutter used to be called GScrot.

    1. Shutter is great. If you are using Ubuntu you can even install it from the repositories

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