Is there an equivalent of the Window's Print Screen + Paste (or better yet the Mac OS Cmd+Shift+4, Space) in Gnome?

5 Answers 5


Shift+PrtScrn will do the job. A dialog appears on screen allowing you to select any part of it.


Gnome should have screenshot abilities built already in.

Save screenshot

However, the default trigger is the Print key, which your keyboard may lack. You can remap this shortcut with gnome-keybinding-properties.


  • By default, "Take a screenshot of a window" is Ctrl-Print. This combination failed to work reliably for me, however, so I changed it.
    – badp
    Nov 3, 2010 at 10:08
  • Didn't work for me either, thanks for the tip! Nov 3, 2010 at 19:55
  • 1
    If you use gnome-screenshot --interactive you can select the option to select an area instead of the whole screen or window.
    – Gert
    Jan 6, 2011 at 21:17
  • 1
    Even better is gnome-screenshot -a (which instead of openning the choosing window, goes for select an area immediately). I'm struggling to make this default though. Mar 21, 2016 at 17:36
  • This won't capture the contents immediately, though, and will steal mouse focus.
    – palswim
    Jul 3, 2019 at 21:33

There are tons. I personally use import, from ImageMagick. It has the ability to capture the whole screen, a given window, or to let you select an area of the screen and just capture that

Specific area

$ import /path/to/output.png

import will let you draw an area with the mouse to capture:

Screenshot of drawing a capture area

Individual window

First you need to find out the X window ID:

$ xdpyinfo | grep focus
focus:  window 0x3000006, revert to Parent

Then you can run import:

$ import -window 0x3000006 /path/to/output.png

You can also run import /path/to/output.png like when taking a screenshot of a specific area, and when it pauses to let you draw the area with your mouse, click on the target window.

Whole screen

Use root for the window ID:

$ import -window root /path/to/output.png

You can use xbindkeys to bind those commands to the Print Screen key; I use a script called screenshot, so my configuration looks like:

"screenshot root"
m:0x0 + c:107

"screenshot window"
m:0x8 + c:107
  • Strangely enough, xdpyinfo | grep focus returns a window ID different by a unit by the expected one (found with wmctrl and the human knowledge of what window has the focus).
    – enzotib
    Feb 3, 2012 at 11:08
  • xdpyinfo | grep focus doesn't work because what if i want to capture other GUI windows instead of current terminal window.
    – 林果皞
    Jan 29, 2015 at 9:14
  • It might be worth mentioning an alternative to the 'individual window' section: if you type $ import /path/to/output.png as in the third example and then click on a window (rather than click+drag to draw an area), then you will get a screenshot of that window. Jan 4, 2018 at 12:16
  • @JohnGowers Thanks, didn't know about that Jan 4, 2018 at 16:22

Just wrote this small interface to xwd, to make it wait the provided number of seconds before it takes the dump. It seems to work.

dumptime () {
  (sleep $1; xwd -root | convert - `date +%I.%M.%S`.png) &

Also, there are scrot and gnome-screenshot.

The ImageMagick import solution in Mr. Mrozek's answer has a famous "black box" bug on -window root - not everyone gets it, but I do.

According to this, gnome-screenshot is based on ImageMagick - but it is not a wrapper; I just browsed the code, and it is a big C application.


Hit print screen and if gnome is setup correctly, a screenshot utility will pop up.

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