ksnapshot – the screen capturing software for kde and linux

Capturing screen shots is probably one of most common things you do when you are blogging, especially if your niche include software or technology. There are quite a few desktop programs that take screen shots, but the probably the best one I have found so far is KSnapshot. It provides several ways to capture your screen as well as many different ways to save it or share it. Though not the only way to take screenshots in Linux, KSnapshot is a good screen capturing software available by default on KDE, but can also be used in other Linux desktop environments such as Gnome.

KSnapshot comes default with most Linux/Kde distros, otherwise you should be able to install it from your distro’s repository using apt-get or yum or emerge. You should also be able to use this in Gnome environment if you get all the Kde required libraries installed.

How to start KSnapshot

You can start KSnapshot in several different ways. The easiest is probably to dig around in your kickoff application launcher (startup menu). Otherwise you can press Alt+F2 to open up the Run command dialog and type in KSnapshot. You can also type KSnapshot in a command prompt.

It is very likely that your print screen key in your keyboard is shortcut to the KSnapshot program. If it is not, then you should be able to map the print key to KSnapshot in your control panel.

How to map Print Screen Key to KSnapshot in Kde desktop

Setting Ksnapshot in Kde SystemSettings
  1. Open System Settings
  2. Under the section Common Appearence and Behaviour, click on Shortcuts and Gestures
  3. Select Custom Shortcuts on the left side panel. This will display a two columns on the right with your current settings
  4. Right click on the Tree Panel, and select New -> Global Shortcut -> Command Url
  5. Name the action as Print Screen
  6. On the right side, select the tab Trigger and set the shortcut to Print key
  7. In the tab Action, browse and select the ksnapshot program from you have installed (usually in /usr/bin/ksnapshot)
  8. Apply and Close System Settings

Screenshot Types

KSnapshot allows you to take a screenshot in 6 different modes: Full Screen, Window under cursor, Rectangular region, Freehand Region, Section of window and Current screen.

Full Screen

As the name suggests, this will create a screenshot of your entire screen. If you happen to have two or monitors, then it will produce a screenshot of all the screens, desktop and windows on all the monitors.

Window under cursor

In this mode, you can get the screenshot of just the window that is currently under the cursor. If you specify a snapshot delay, then the screenshot is taken after the specified delay of whichever window was under the cursor. If there is no delay specified, then you will need to click on a particular window or desktop to get its screenshot.

Rectangular Region

In the rectangular mode, you get to select a rectangular region on the screen and hit ‘Enter‘ to get the screenshot of that particular region. This is useful if you need to get a screenshot of multiple windows which might be overlapping or a just a section of the desktop.

Freehand region

Sample Ksnapshot Screenshot in Freehand Region mode

This is a real nice addition that allows you to select any region on your screen using a free hand drawing. It allows you to make some nice screenshots with all kind of edges. The screenshot to the right is a “funky” little screenshot of my desktop using freehand region option.

Section of Window

This mode allows you to select sections of a window rather than the whole window itself. Though it works on all windows, I have noticed that it works the best in KDE or X Windows where more sections of the window is identified. KSnapshot is not currently not that great at identifying sections in non-native Kde programs like Firefox and Java programs.

Current Screen

This is most useful if you have multiple monitors attached to your computer. This allows you to get the screenshot of just one screen rather than all of them as Full Screen mode does.

Other Options

It also provides an option to include or exclude the window decorations while taking the screenshot of a window. There is a checkbox which you can select to include the window decorations in the screenshot. This is enabled only in the Window under cursor mode where you are taking the screenshot of the window.

You may also choose to include or exclude the mouse pointer in the screenshot. This is avaliable in all modes except the rectangular and freehand regions.

Snapshot Delay

Save Options available in KSnapshot in Kde

You can specify a delay before the screenshot is captured. Almost all screen capturing software provide this feature and this delay can be quite handy. You can use this delay to pull down a menu or perform some action on the window before the screenshot is taken.

Export, Share and Save Options

After you have taken the screenshot, KSnapshot gives you a plethora of options, probably the most I have seen in any screen capturing software. You can upload the screenshot to Flickr, 23, Zoomr, Smugmug, Shwup, Picasaweb, Facebook among many others. You can also save the image onto your hard disk and KSnapshot gives you the choice of almost all image formats. Some of the formats include JPG, PNG, TIFF and BMP.

It also give you the option to open the screenshot in Gimp for further editing. You can use another image viewer or editor as well. It also provides the option to print the image directly.

KSnapshot is by far the best free screen capturing software that I have seen on any platform…