April 26, 2019

Snap Spiffy Linux Screenshots with Shutter

Save to Network, Multiple File Formats, Capture Long Web Pages

  • March 18, 2010
  • By Paul Ferrill

Snapping a quick screenshot is a capability you get out of the box with most current Linux distributions. Hit the Print Screen function key, and you should see a dialog box pop up with a capture of your entire screen. For GNOME users this typically launches gnome-screenshot while Kde will bring up Ksnapshot. Both tools are similar in functionality and get the basic job accomplished.

<em>Grabbing the whole screen</em>
Grabbing the whole screen

Shutter brings a full range of functionality to the screen grab process. Look under the covers, and you'll find Shutter is written in Perl and uses Gtk for all graphical functions. That means it integrates nicely with the GNOME desktop including taking over the Print Screen button. It will work as a standalone application in other desktop environments but won't integrate quite as nicely.


If you want to make Shutter the default application attached to the Print Screen key, simply open the Preferences item from the Edit menu. From there select the Behavior tab and then check the Gnome-Keybinding boxes for Capture and Capture with selection. You can choose between selecting the current window and selecting a region for the default behavior when pressing Alt-Print Screen.


Shutter will save your image in a whole host of different formats, and you can select which one you want as the default. It also lets you decide the default naming convention for your files and the default location to save your images. Shutter supports uploading images using either FTP (with default account information) or to a public image hosting service such as imageshack.us, imagebanana.com, or ubuntu-pics.de. These sites work great for sharing a quick snapshot of something on your screen with someone else without resorting to e-mail. The website has instructions for adding the ability to upload your images to Flickr.


Writing documentation for any computer-based process or software application begs for a good screen capture tool. Grabbing a screen shot at just the right time can be difficult, particularly if you want to show something like a tool tip or popup window. Shutter has both a time delay feature and the ability to grab just a tool tip if you want.

Capturing a long web page for reference or review is not an easy task with most screenshot tools. You'll need to install gnome-web-photo to get this feature working. Use the following command line to make it happen:

sudo apt-get install gnome-web-photo

With that done you simply click on the globe on the main Shutter toolbar, or right click on the Shutter icon at the top of the screen (in Ubuntu), and select web. This brings up a dialog box prompting you for a URL. You can copy paste from Firefox or just type the address in by hand. When complete, the web page will appear as a new tab in the Shutter main window. Shutter also works from the command line, making it the perfect tool to help capture significant steps in long-running script files.

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