Google+ open-source construction: How 2: take screen-shots with Linux. Google+

Monday, December 12, 2011

How 2: take screen-shots with Linux.

Many of you have probably noticed how many screen-shots I use within my Blogs, so I have decided to demonstrate just how easy it is to capture screen-shots on a Linux Operating system. 

Most of the time when you want to take a screen-shot of your desktop, you want to either take a picture of either your whole desktop or an individual window. In order to do this you will need to Learn two hot-key keyboard combinations.

hitting the print screen button by itself will take a simple screen-shot of the entire desktop. This is usually abbreviated as "prt scr".

If you are on a smaller computer, the "prt scr" might be a dark blue colo, which is the case on my LGx120 netbook. So when I want to press the "prt scr" key on my netbook I have to hit the "fn" + "prt scr" keyboard combination to trigger a screen-shot of my desktop. On my net-book the "prt scr" button is inegrated with the "pg up"(page up) key.
The next key combination you will need to Learn is the what triggers a screen-shot of the active window on a Linux computer. The key combination is "Alt." + "prt scr". Which also means that if I want to take a screen-shot of an active window, while using my net-book; I have to hit "fn" + "alt" + "prt scr".
What happens next, is what makes taking screen-shots in Linux so much easier than windows. In windows the key combinations are the same, but what happens after a correct key combo press is very different. Watch what happens in Linux:

a screen-shot save preview window, of me starting to write this Blog within Blogger.
Now you may think that I have an incredibly expensive wide-screen at home. This is actually a dual-screen desktop PC, thanks in part to my friend Robert who gave me a second monitor.

If you want to know how to configure you Linux PC, with a dual-screen setup then please check out a previous post here.

If the save in folder is where you want to save your picture, then just click save. You could also just hit enter, or hit "alt." + "S". If you want to save to a different folder, like the a folder that you create just for a series of screen-shots; then select other from this drop down menu.

Windows in contrast does not give you a preview window, of the image you just captured. This confused me when I first learned the windows way. Windows assumes that you already have a window open that you want to place the image in. Once a program is open like an office document, or the GIMP on windows then you paste it in. You can do that with the "ctrl" + "V " keyboard shortcut, or right click and select paste from the context menu options. For a better explanation than I can give please click here.
Wilber the GIMP mascot.

I sometimes choose to use the (GNU Image manipulation Program) to crop, and re-save my pictures.

Here is a short, and simple video that describes how to crop, and re-save an image that you have captured using the GIMP.


 Now that will cover your needs 98% of the time. But what if you want to capture a menu in action. You may want to show your viewers what the menu looks like, that you are trying to describe. In Linux you cannot take a screen-shot while there is a window menu active. You also cannot take screens of tool-tips.

That is where the screen-shot tool shutter comes into play. There are many things that you can do with shutter that really help you speed up the screen-shot process, if you are like me and take tons of screen-shots.

main shutter application of shutter.
Shutter features:

  • Screen-shot session management.
  • Blur sensative data from pictures.
  • Highlight important data in multiple ways. 
  • Crop your selected picture.
  • Set a timer for when to snap the screen-shot.
  • Select an active menu, or series of menus for a screen-shot.
  • Select an active tool-tip for your screen-shot. 
  • Upload to an FTP file server.
  • Upload directly to your Ubuntu one account.
  • Choose whether or not to include the cursor in your  screen-shot.
  • Choose to let shutter handle your key-board combinations, for screen-shot. (aka..."prt scr" && "alt" + "prt scr")

Shutter is included in both the Ubuntu/Linux, and Linux Mint repositories.

Although the preferred way to do this is through the Linux terminal. That way when a new version is available you will have access to it right away. There is generally a lag in time between when a new version is posted to a repository, and when it is available for your distribution's software manager.

If you wish to earn geek credit, and get the newest application updates as soon as they are released; then do the following:

"ctrl" + "alt" + "T" ~ Launches a terminal window
 copy and paste the following commands into your terminal:
 $ sudo apt-add-repository ppa:shutter/ppa
press [enter] when you reach this screen to add the PPA.

{enter password when prompted, and hit return}
gpg keys are encryption keys that verify your software is malware free, and was not corrupted during download.

$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install shutter
**you may need to type a [y] if prompted.**
 I truly hope everyone who has read this post, has learned as much as I did writing it. It is highly likely that I will write a follow up post on the screen-shot tool "shutter".

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