By default, i3 ignores the Print Screen key available in most keyboards. How can it be activated?

2 Answers 2


Everything inside i3 needs to be bound and just a minimal set of keys is added/generated inside the default config. Some keys that are not letters can be represented with its keycodes or keysyms. More about this subject here:

Printscreen is the Print keysym.

I personally use gnome-screenshot to that task, since it can crop images, making life easier. Add the following lines to your .config/i3/config or any config file you are using as the i3wm main config file.

#interactive screenshot by pressing printscreen
bindsym Print exec gnome-screenshot -i 
#crop-area screenshot by pressing Mod + printscreen
bindsym $mod+Print exec gnome-screenshot -a

Some people like to use scrot. That is up to you to decide :) . Example:

bindsym Print exec scrot $HOME/Images/`date +%Y-%m-%d_%H:%M:%S`.png
  • 1
    The second binding with Mod1+Print does not work, but the rest is more than enough. Jan 31, 2019 at 14:51
  • 2
    maim has a rich feature set, including region selection
    – williamvds
    Jan 31, 2019 at 17:11
  • Good suggestion :) Will try maim at home too..
    – user34720
    Jan 31, 2019 at 17:52
  • @LuísdeSousa Mod1 is alt, not your main mod key(Control or Winkey, whatever you have set up). Editing the answer to use main mod key. Sorry for the misinformation from my i3/config
    – user34720
    Jan 31, 2019 at 18:07
  • @ndwildner This is not related to the $mod, there is even a sort of error sound that is played. Jan 31, 2019 at 19:32

To expand on @user34720's answer, if bindsym $mod+Print exec gnome-screenshot -a doesn't work, pass the --release parameter to bindsym

bindsym --release Print exec gnome-screenshot -i
bindsym --release $mod+Print exec gnome-screenshot -a

  • --release made it for me because I only wanted to use Print touch
    – Itoun
    Apr 4, 2023 at 9:45

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