Screenshots

Many years ago I worked for a commercial help desk operation, and one of the things I had to do was take screen shots for documentation, or just to show users what they needed to do.

I had my personal Mac at work, and I owned Snapz Pro X, from the now-defunct Ambrosia Software. It was a great program that did screencast captures as well, and I enjoyed using it. Most of the time, I didn’t even need to use it, as the Mac has a great screenshot utility, activated by command-shift-3 and command-shift-4, that allows taking screenshots of the whole screen or a portion of it. However, some of my work required me to take screenshots of Windows screens. I researched and installed Greenshot, and was happy with that. Since that time, Greenshot has expanded their software to work on Macs.

Fast forward to a more recent time, and I’m switching my work environment over to Linux. Among the needs I have is the need to do screenshots, so I went back to work researching. Greenshot wasn’t an option, so I found Shutter. At that time, the project had been abandoned for some years, but I was able to scrounge up the procedure to make it work on my computer, and I was happy again.

More recently, Shutter has been adopted, and installation is straightforward, and there really seems to be no reason to look elsewhere, but I did. In looking around I found Flameshot, which is available for Linux, Mac, and Windows, and seems really nice. I didn’t really need to explore it in depth, since Shutter works, but I took it for a spin or two.

For Windows, I’ve installed ShareX, which gets enthusiastic reviews. I haven’t actually had occasion to use it, as I take most of my Windows screenshots from Linux these days, but I thought it worth mentioning.

Finally, as I was fiddling around with trying to assign a key combination (Ctrl-Shift-3 and Ctrl-Shift-4, as it happens) to my screen capture utility, I discovered that I had already done so. In activating the combo, I found that it didn’t activate Shutter, nor did it activate Flameshot or any of the other screenshot utilities I had installed.

Linux Mint has a built-in screen capture utility that works similarly to the one built in to macOS. On activating the screen capture command (I have no idea what the default key combo is, and I’m too lazy to look right now) a screen capture is taken, and the user is prompted with a save dialog that also has a Copy to Clipboard button. (On the Mac, copying the screenshot to the clipboard was accomplished by holding Option along with the other keys.)

Now, while I say that I don’t know what the default combo is, that’s not strictly true. You can certainly use the PrtSc key on most keyboards for this. However, because of the settings I had put in to Mint, on my computer Ctrl-Shift-4 allows me to select a portion of the screen to capture.

Now it’s true that this built-in utility has no editing capability, and that I can’t do timed captures to select active menus, etc. For that, I’ll probably continue to use Shutter, which has some really nice controls for that. I may even just paste screenshots from the native tool into Shutter for editing.

However, for many people, the built-in function is good enough, as it was on the Mac for me for many years. I’m thrilled to see this kind of simple usability making its way into the notoriously difficult to use Linux ecosystem.

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