How to Take A Screenshot on a Raspberry Pi

In order to troubleshoot or just share knowledge about anything happening on a computer it is useful to see what is happening. Typically this means getting screen shots or recording the desktop. As with any other computing systems Linux has this ability via a number of simple applications and for most of the OS versions used on the Raspberry Pi it comes preinstalled (or at the very least is only a single command line away).

The most popular screen capture tool is Scrot. You can install it directly from the command line by entering:

sudo apt-get install scrot

Once installed thats it! Now to take a screen capture all you have to do is run scrot from the command line. To do so the location of the saved image must be defined using the "-o" tag, follwed by the file location. By default it will save to the current directory so this:
scrot -o myimage.jpg

will save a file called “myimage” in .jpg format to the current file. From there you can start to configure scrot through a bunch of other useful tasks.

To be able to select the area instead of capturing the whole screen use:

scrot -s testimage.jpg

Delaying the screen shot will also make it easier to hide the terminal or prepare the screen in general. To do so use:

scrot -cd 10 testimage.jpg

This will display a countdown and delay for 10 seconds, then save a file to the working directory called testimage.jpg.

If you always want the images saving to the same file you can alter edit the /.bash_aliases file in your main directory. Drop in a line that says:

alias scrot='scrot ~/home/pi/Screenshots/%b%d::%H%M%S.png'

This will will change scrot to automatically name and output the file using the time stamp of when it was taken.

That is all there is to it. Scrot is a great tool and with the right flags can be used to capture pretty much anything coming out of the display for a Raspberry Pi. Use this the next time you need help troubleshooting, posting to forums, or sharing a project.


Product Development Expert

Chris is a former mechanical engineer turned product manager, and has written more than 100 articles for 3DNPD. He is passionate about exploring new technologies and staying active, which he writes about on his site

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