screenshot in ubuntu

The way the built-in screenshot tool works in Ubuntu has changed over the years, as have the default shortcuts. If you’re getting back to Ubuntu after some time and this has confused you, you’re not alone. 

So, we’ll cover how to take screenshots with the default tool and recommend some excellent third-party options in this article. 

Using the Screenshot Feature

In recent Ubuntu versions, Shift + PrintScreen instantly captures the whole screen, while just PrtScn brings up the interactive screenshot window.

You can select an area, window, or screen with this tool. You can also choose to show or hide the cursor. Then, simply press the Capture button to take the screenshot.

The screenshot is copied to the clipboard, so you can paste it into image editing apps and the like directly. The image is also saved to the ~/Pictures/Screenshots directory.

Finally, if you don’t like the default key combos, setting custom shortcuts is very easy. 

  1. Search ‘shortcuts’ and open the Keyboard Settings window. Then, click on View and Customize Shortcuts.
    view and customize shortcuts
  2. In the Screenshots section, click on the function you want to change and enter the new combo.
    screenshot shortcuts ubuntu

Best Screenshot Tools on Ubuntu

If you’re looking for alternatives, there are a lot of great screenshots tools available on Ubuntu like ScreenRec or Shutter. Aside from annotations and basic screenshot functionality, tools like these support various unique features too (cloud backups, encryption, etc.). 

Each one has its pros and cons, but as you’re probably looking for one good program to use, we recommend Flameshot.

sudo apt install flameshot

Anyone that extensively takes screenshots on Linux is likely already familiar with Flameshot. It’s a simple and intuitive cross-platform tool for taking screenshots. Some of its features that I love most include:

  • Powerful in-app editor (Add shapes, text, auto-incrementing counter bubble, pixelation tool, invert tool, etc.)
  • Highly customizable (UI, filename, format, shortcuts, and other general settings)
  • Shows selection dimensions in pixels
  • Can take delayed screenshots
  • Can undo or redo modifications
  • Can copy screenshot to clipboard without saving
  • Can open screenshot with another program
  • Can save directly to Imgur

If you like Flameshot, you can set it as the default screenshot tool like so

  1. Go to the Keyboard Settings page again and click on View and Customize Shortcuts.
    view and customize shortcuts
  2. Scroll down to Custom Shortcuts and click on the Add (+) button.
    flameshot ubuntu
  3. Enter the following values and press Add:
    • Name: Flameshot
    • Command: /usr/bin/flameshot gui
    • Shortcut: Print
  4. You should now be able to take screenshots with Flameshot by pressing PrtSc or whichever key you set.
Anup Thapa

Senior Writer

Anup Thapa is a Linux enthusiast with an extensive background in computer hardware and networking. His goal is to effectively communicate technical concepts in a simplified form understandable by new Linux users. To this end, he mainly writes beginner-friendly tutorials and troubleshooting guides. Outside of work, he enjoys reading up on a range of topics, traveling, working out, and MOBAs.