Screen capture

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This article lists and describes screenshot and screencast software.

Screenshot software

Dedicated software

  • Deepin Screenshot — Quite easy-to-use screenshot tool. Features: global hotkey to trigger screenshot tool, take screenshot of a selected area, easy to add text and line drawings onto the screenshot. Python/Qt5 based. However, it is now deprecated and has been merged into Deepin Screen Recorder. There is also a known issue with the clipboard functionality. There is a patched version in the aur deepin-screenshot-copy-patchAUR || deepin-screenshot
  • Escrotum — Screen capture using python and gtk3, inspired by scrot. || escrotum-gitAUR
  • Flameshot — Qt5 based software for interactive screenshot taking. Select the desired area, draw with different tools and enjoy the customization capabilities. || flameshot || gnome-screenshot
  • grim — Grab images from a Wayland compositor. || grim
  • gscreenshot — Simple GTK screenshot utility with delays, selection, and copy-to-clipboard functionality. || gscreenshotAUR
  • imgur-screenshot — Take screenshot selection, upload to imgur. + more cool things || imgur-screenshot-gitAUR
  • ksnip — Ksnip is a Qt based cross-platform screenshot tool that provides many annotation features for your screenshots. || ksnipAUR
  • Lightscreen — Simple tool to automate the tedious process of saving and cataloging screenshots, it operates as a hidden background process that is invoked with one (or multiple) hotkeys and then saves a screenshot file to disk according to the user's preferences. || lightscreenAUR
  • LXQt Screenshot — Screenshot tool for LXQt. Run with lximage-qt --screenshot. || lximage-qt
  • maim — Simple command line utility that takes screenshots. It is meant to replace scrot and performs better than scrot in many ways. || maim
  • MATE Screenshot — Screenshot tool for the MATE desktop. || mate-utils
  • menyoki — Screen{shot,cast} and perform ImageOps on the command line. || menyoki
  • mss — An xrandr-aware screenshots Python module with a minimal CLI. || python-mss
  • Pantheon Screenshot — Screenshot tool designed for elementary OS. || pantheon-screenshot
  • ScreenCloud — Take a screenshot of the entire screen or to select an area and then uploading the screenshot to imgur+auth. has plugins and system tray. || screencloudAUR
  • ScreenGrab — Cross-platform application designed to quickly take screenshots (Qt). || screengrab
  • Scrot — Simple command-line screenshot utility for X. || scrot
  • Shotgun — Minimal X screenshot utility written in Rust. According to the author it is twice as fast as maim. || shotgun
  • Shutter — Rich screenshot and editing program. Supports delay. || shutterAUR
  • SpectacleKDE application for taking screenshots. It is capable of capturing images of the whole desktop, a single window, a section of a window, a selected rectangular region or a freehand region. Part of kde-graphics. || spectacle
  • Xfce4 Screenshooter — Application and Xfce4 panel plugin to take screenshots about the entire screen, the active window or a selected region. Part of xfce4-goodies. || xfce4-screenshooter
  • xwd — X Window System image dumping utility || xorg-xwd


xwd(1) provided by xorg-xwd

Take a screenshot of the root window:

$ xwd -root -out screenshot.xwd
Note: The methods for taking shots of active windows with import can also be used with xwd.


scrot enables taking screenshots from the CLI and offers features such as a user-definable time delay. Unless instructed otherwise, it saves the file in the current working directory.

$ scrot -t 20 -d 5

The above command saves a dated .png file, along with a thumbnail (20% of original), for Web posting. It provides a 5 second delay before capturing in this instance.

You can also use standard date and time formatting when saving to a file. e.g.,

$ scrot ~/screenshots/%Y-%m-%d-%T-screenshot.png

saves the screenshot in a filename with the current year, month, date, hours, minutes, and seconds to a folder in your home directory called "screenshots"

See scrot(1) for more information. You can simply automate the file to uploaded like so [1].

Note: In some window managers (dwmAUR, xmonad and possibly others) scrot -s does not work properly when running via window manager's keyboard shortcut, this can be worked around by prepending scrot invocation with a short pause sleep 0.2; scrot -s.


escrotum-gitAUR screen capture using PyGTK, inspired by scrot

Created because scrot has glitches when selection mode is used with refreshing windows.

Because the command line interface its almost the same as scrot, can be used as a replacement of it.


maim is aimed to be an improved scrot.

Takes screenshots of your desktop using slop for regions. It is meant to overcome shortcomings of scrot.

To select a portion of the screen and store it on the clipboard, xclip can be used:

$ maim -s -u | xclip -selection clipboard -t image/png -i

Desktop environment specific


If you use KDE, you might want to use Spectacle.

Spectacle is provided by the spectacle package.

Xfce Screenshooter

If you use Xfce you can install xfce4-screenshooter and then add a keyboard binding:

Xfce Menu > Settings > Keyboard > Application Shortcuts

If you want to skip the Screenshot prompt, type $ xfce4-screenshooter -h in terminal for the options.


GNOME users can press PrintScreen or Apps > Accessories > Take Screenshot. You may need to install gnome-screenshot.


The default installation of Cinnamon does not provide a screenshot utility. Installing gnome-screenshot will enable screenshots through the Menu > Accessories > Screenshot or by pressing PrintScreen.

Other desktop environments or window managers

For other desktop environments such as LXDE or window managers such as Openbox and Compiz, one can add the above commands to the hotkey to take the screenshot. For example,

$ import -window root ~/Pictures/$(date '+%Y%m%d-%H%M%S').png

Note that import is part of the imagemagick package. Adding the above command to the PrintScreen key to Compiz allows to take the screenshot to the Pictures folder according to date and time. Notice that the rc.xml file in Openbox does not understand commas; so, in order to bind that command to the PrintScreen key in Openbox, you need to add the following to the keyboard section of your rc.xml file:

<!-- Screenshot -->
    <keybind key="Print">
      <action name="Execute">
        <command>sh -c "import -window root ~/Pictures/$(date '+%Y%m%d-%H%M%S').png"</command>

If the Print above does not work, see Extra keyboard keys and use different keysym or keycode.

Packages including a screenshot utility


See ImageMagick#Screenshot taking.


You also can take screenshots with GIMP (File > Create > Screenshot...).


imlib2 provides a binary imlib2_grab to take screenshots. To take a screenshot of the full screen, type:

$ imlib2_grab screenshot.png

Note that scrot actually uses imlib2.


See FFmpeg#Screen capture.

Screencast software

See also FFmpeg#Screen capture and Wikipedia:Comparison of screencasting software.

Screencast utilities allow you to create a video of your desktop or individual windows.

  • Byzanz — Simple screencast tool that produces GIF animations. || byzanz
  • Deepin Screen Recorder — Screen recorder application for Deepin desktop. || deepin-screen-recorder
  • FFcast — FFmpeg-based screencast tool written in Bash. || ffcastAUR
  • Green Recorder — Simple yet functional desktop recorder for Linux systems. || green-recorderAUR
  • Kazam — Screencasting program with design in mind. Handles multiscreen setups. || kazamAUR
  • menyoki — Screen{shot,cast} and perform ImageOps on the command line. || menyoki
  • OBS — Video recording and live streaming application. || obs-studio
  • Peek — Simple screencast tool that produces GIF, APNG, WebM or MP4 animations. || peek
  • RecApp — User friendly screencaster written in GTK. Using free GStreamer modules and not depend on FFmpeg. || recapp-gitAUR
  • RecordItNow — Plugin based desktop recorder for KDE. || recorditnowAUR
  • RecordMyDesktop — Easy to use utility that records your desktop into the ogg format with a CLI, GTK or Qt interface. (inactive development) || CLI: recordmydesktop, GTK: gtk-recordmydesktopAUR, Qt: qt-recordmydesktopAUR
  • screencast — Command line interface to record an X11 desktop using FFmpeg, having support for offline recording and live streaming. || screencastAUR
  • Screencast — Simple screencast recorder designed for elementary OS. || pantheon-screencastAUR
  • SimpleScreenRecorder — Feature-rich screen recorder written in C++/Qt5 that supports X11 and OpenGL. || simplescreenrecorder
  • VokoScreen — Simple screencast GUI tool using GStreamer. || vokoscreen
  • XVidCap — Application used for recording a screencast or digital recording of an X Window System screen output with an audio narration. || xvidcapAUR


Capturing the screen on Wlroots-based compositor can be done using grim or swayshotAUR for screenshots and wf-recorder (or wf-recorder-gitAUR) for video; wlrobs-hgAUR is an obs-studio plugin that allows you to screen capture on wlroots-based compositors. Optionally, slurp can be used to select the part of the screen to capture.

Take a screenshot of the whole screen:

$ grim screenshot.png

Take a screenshot of current window:

$ grim -g "$(swaymsg -t get_tree | jq -r '.. | select(.focused?) | .rect | "\(.x),\(.y) \(.width)x\(.height)"')" screenshot.png

Take a screenshot of a part of the screen:

$ grim -g "$(slurp)" screenshot.png

Take a screenshot of a part of the screen and put the output into the clipboard using wl-clipboard:

$ grim -g "$(slurp)" - | wl-copy

Capture a video of the whole screen:

$ wf-recorder -o recording.mp4

Capture a video of a part of the screen:

$ wf-recorder -g "$(slurp)"
  • slurpshot is an interactive screenshot taking script using bemenu.
  • To use a post-capture screenshot editing and drawing tool such as swappyAUR: grim -g "$(slurp)" - | swappy -f -

Additionally, some programs mentioned above work under Wayland (e.g. ksnipAUR, green-recorderAUR).


Via GNOME screencast

green-recorderAUR, obs-gnome-screencastAUR and obs-xdg-portal-gitAUR support screen recording on Wayland using GNOME screencast feature.

Via a virtual webcam video feed

  • This method has been tested with zoomAUR (desktop client running under xorg-xwayland) and BigBlueButton under chromium (under firefox the resolution is really low); skypeforlinux-stable-binAUR detects the virtual video device VirtualVideoDevice, but outputs a blank screen.
  • The example uses wf-recorder but you can use whatever software, just feed the output to the virtual device.

Install wf-recorder (or wf-recorder-gitAUR) and v4l2loopback-dkms. Load the v4l2loopback kernel module with the following parameters:

# modprobe v4l2loopback exclusive_caps=1 card_label=VirtualVideoDevice

Verify that a new virtual video device VirtualVideoDevice has been created:

$ v4l2-ctl --list-devices
VirtualVideoDevice (platform:v4l2loopback-000):

Start recording the screen with wf-recorder and feed the output to the new virtual video device VirtualVideoDevice created by v4l2loopback:

$ wf-recorder --muxer=v4l2 --codec=rawvideo --file=/dev/video2 -x yuv420p

The yuv420p colour space is required for the video output to be compatible with Zoom [2].

You can now select the above virtual video device as your "webcam" in video calling/video conferencing applications (the device is called VirtualVideoDevice). You can use ffplay (part of ffmpeg), mpv, or gst-launch (part of gstreamer) to verify that the virtual video device indeed outputs your screenshare:

$ ffplay /dev/video2
$ mpv av://v4l2:/dev/video2
$ gst-launch-1.0 -v v4l2src device=/dev/video2 ! glimagesink

If Firefox is unable to read the video stream and prints a message like "AbortError: Starting video failed", try preloading

$ LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/ firefox
Sharing individual applications
Warning: This method does not involve a proper implementation of individual application sharing as the region being shared will not change after resizing any windows.

As explained above, wf-recorder is able to record only a portion of the screen by first selecting a region with slurp. To use this functionality for sharing a specific region/application window through a virtual video device, start recording the screen with the following modified command:

$ wf-recorder -g "$(slurp)" --muxer=v4l2 --codec=rawvideo --file=/dev/video2 -x yuv420p

After selecting a region of the screen, you will be able to access the video feed through the vitual video device /dev/video2 as above.

Via the WebRTC protocol

Note: This method only allows sharing an entire output and not individual applications [3].

See PipeWire#WebRTC_screen_sharing.

Chromium and Firefox should now be able to access the screenshare. You can verify this through Mozilla's getUserMedia / getDisplayMedia Test Page.


Tango-view-fullscreen.pngThis article or section needs expansion.Tango-view-fullscreen.png

Reason: Add subsection about terminal recorders. (Discuss in Talk:Screen capture#)

Capture with ANSI codes

You can use the script(1) command, part of the util-linux package. Just run script and from that moment, all the output is going to be saved to the typescript file, including the ANSI codes.

Once you are done, just run exit and the typescript would ready. The resulting file can be converted to HTML using the ansi2htmlAUR package, from the AUR.

To convert the typescript file to typescript.html, do the following:

$ ansi2html --bg=dark < typescript > typescript.html

Actually, some commands can be piped directly to ansi2html:

$ ls --color|ansi2html --bg=dark >output.html

That does not work on every single case, so in those cases, using script is mandatory.


Install a framebuffer and use fbgrab or fbdump to take a screenshot.

Virtual console

If you merely want to capture the text in the console and not an actual image, you can use setterm, which is part of the util-linux package. The following command will dump the textual contents of virtual console 1 to a file screen.dump in the current directory:

# setterm -dump 1 -file screen.dump

Root permission is needed because the contents of /dev/vcs1 need to be read.