Linux

How to Use ksnip to Capture and Annotate Screenshots on Linux

Most Linux distros come with a built-in screenshot tool to help you capture your screen. However, many of these built-in tools can sometimes feel slow; not to mention, they often lack some useful features when stacked against their third-party counterparts.

Fortunately, there are enough screenshot tools for Linux that you can download on your machine. ksnip is one such tool that’s super quick and offers tonnes of features.

Here’s a look at ksnip in detail and the instructions to get started with it on Linux.


What Is ksnip?

ksnip is a Qt-based screenshot tool for Linux. It supports all major desktops, including X11, KDE Plasma, Wayland, and GNOME.

What separates ksnip from other screenshot tools is its extensive feature set that includes multiple capture modes, command-line capture, annotation, uploading captured screenshots via FTP and scripts, and actions that simplify certain ksnip operations.

Features of ksnip

ksnip gives you access to the following features:

  • Multiple capture modes
  • Capture screenshots via the terminal
  • Support for multiple monitors
  • Upload screenshots via FTP or custom script
  • Custom file naming
  • Extensive annotation and editing options
  • Obfuscate confidential details with blur or pixelation
  • Add watermark
  • Pin screenshots to desktop
  • Hotkeys for quick capturing
  • Plugins

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How to Install ksnip on Linux

ksnip is available on all major Linux distros. Depending on the distro you’re running on your machine, you can install it in a few different ways, as shown below.

On Ubuntu/Debian, open the terminal and run the following command:

sudo apt install ksnip

If you’re using Arch Linux, use:

sudo pacman -S ksnip

On any other Linux distro, you can install ksnip via Snap or Flatpak. With both these methods, you first need to ensure you have the package manager you wish to install ksnip with, present on your system.

For this, open the terminal and run:

snap 

or

flatpak 

If the output returns a version number, it means Snap or Flatpak is installed on your system. Else, it isn’t, and you need to install it first, which you can do using our detailed Snap and Flatpak installation guide.

Once you’ve installed Snap, run this command to install ksnip:

sudo snap install ksnip

With Flatpak, use:

flatpak install flathub org.ksnip.ksnip

Alternatively, if you want an easier way to get ksnip running, you can use its AppImage. For this, first, download the AppImage from ksnip’s GitHub page.

Download: ksnip (AppImage)

Then, use the cd command and the ls command to navigate to the Downloads directory. Once inside it, run the command below to turn the AppImage into an executable:

chmod a+x ksnip-*.AppImage

To launch it, enter:

./ksnip-*.AppImage

Or, to do it via the GUI, navigate to the Downloads directory using the file manager, right-click on the AppImage, and select Properties. Tap on the Permissions tab and tick the box beside Allow executing file as a program if you’re on a Nautilus-based file manager. On Dolphin, check off the Is executable option and change the Execute dropdown to Anyone if you’re using PCManFM.


How to Use ksnip on Linux

With ksnip installed, open the applications menu, search for ksnip, and launch it. You’ll now see a tiny window with a few different options. In case you don’t, click on the ksnip icon in the system tray to bring it up.

Configuring ksnip

Before you start taking screenshots with ksnip, there are a few settings you should modify. To find them, click on Options in the ksnip main window and select Settings.

Then,

  • Check off the Automatically copy new captures to clipboard option under Application settings to copy the screenshot to your clipboard as soon as you capture it.
  • Click on Saver under Application and tick the checkbox next to Remember last save directory to avoid choosing the save directory for each screenshot you capture.
  • Tap on the Browse button next to Save Location in the Saver tab to pick the default location for your new screenshots.

Taking Screenshots With ksnip

Capturing a screenshot with ksnip is easy, and you can do it either using hotkeys or by manually selecting a capture mode in the ksnip main window.

If you want to use hotkeys, make sure it’s enabled in the settings. Navigate to the program settings and select HotKeys. Here, make sure that the checkbox for Enable Global HotKeys is selected. While you’re here, check out the hotkeys for all the different capture modes.

Now, go to the screen or window you want to capture and press one of the screenshot hotkeys to capture it. Alternatively, bring up the ksnip main window, tap on the dropdown next to New, and select a capture mode as per your need.

Once you’ve captured the screenshot, it will appear in the ksnip window. Hit Ctrl + S or click on the Save button in the taskbar to save it.

For a delayed capture, hit the Up Arrow key in the field beside the timer icon in the ksnip window to increase the delay (in seconds). Once it’s set, click on the dropdown beside New and select a capture mode from the list.

Annotating Screenshots With ksnip

Generally, after you capture a screenshot, you may want to annotate or edit it to make it more presentable or fix its style. ksnip includes a built-in editor that lets you do this right inside the program.

As soon as you capture a screenshot, it’ll present you with all the annotation options on the left pane like Select, Duplicate, Arrow, Pen, Text, Blur, and a Rectangle and an Ellipse tool.

To use one of these tools, click on its icon on the left, and depending on what tool it is, perform an action on your screenshot accordingly.

Pinning a Screenshot to Your Desktop

At times, you may want to capture your screen to reference it while you’re working on some other program. ksnip lets you do this with the pin feature, which allows you to pin the captured screenshot to your desktop.

To use this feature, capture the screen you want to pin and tap on Options > Pin. Or, simply press the Shift + P shortcut.

Adding a Watermark to a Screenshot

Before you can add a watermark to your screenshot, you first need to generate one and add it to ksnip. Considering you’ve already done the former, here’s how to upload the watermark to ksnip:

  1. Tap on Options in the ksnip window and select Settings.
  2. Click on Annotator in the left pane to expand it and select Watermark.
  3. Hit the Update button.
  4. Select the watermark file on your system and click Open to upload it to ksnip.
  5. Hit Ok to save the watermark.

Now, when you need to use it, capture a screenshot and click on Edit > Add Watermark. ksnip will then add your watermark to the screenshot. If you wish to change its position, click on it and drag the cursor/mouse around to move it.

Creating a ksnip Action

One of the nifty features of ksnip is that it lets you create actions for various operations you can perform on a screenshot. As of this writing, you can create an action for the following ksnip operations:

  • Capture screenshots (including delayed screenshots)
  • Show image in pin window
  • Copy image to clipboard
  • Upload image
  • Save image
  • Open image parent directory
  • Hide the main window

For the purpose of this guide, let’s say you want to create an action to capture a delayed screenshot. To do so, go to ksnip Settings. Tap on Actions from the left-hand pane and hit the Add button on top.

Now, enter a name for your action in the Name field. Similarly, click on the text field beside Shortcut and press your desired keyboard shortcut for this action.

Next, check off the Take Capture box and select your desired delay (in seconds) from the dropdown button next to Delay. And then, click on the dropdown beside Capture Mode and select a capture mode from the list.

Finally, hit OK to save the action.

Take Better Screenshots on Linux With ksnip

Capturing screenshots is a handy way of sharing the contents of your screen with others, perhaps to help someone with troubleshooting, sharing an error message, or something else.

ksnip proves to be one of the best screenshot tools for Linux. It’s free and offers all the necessary features to suffice most of your screenshot needs.

With that said, if you’d like to explore more options, here are a few other apps to take screenshots on Linux.




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The 6 Best Apps to Take Screenshots on Ubuntu

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