Screen Capture

Best Free Linux Screen Capture Tools (Updated 2019)

The phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words” refers to the idea that a solitary still image can provide as much information as a large amount of descriptive text. Essentially, pictures convey information more effectively and efficiently than words can.

A screenshot is an image captured by a computer to record the output of a visual device. Screen capture software enable screenshots to be taken on a computer. This type of software has a wide range of uses. As an image can illustrate the operation of computer software so well, screenshots play a crucial role in software development and documentation. Alternatively, if you have a technical problem with your computer, a screenshot allows a technical support department to understand the problems you are facing. Writing computer-related articles, documentation and tutorials is nigh on impossible without a good tool for creating screenshots.

Linux has a good selection of versatile open source screenshot programs, both graphical and console based. Our longstanding favorite was Shutter. Although the software is still under development, the software has only received bug fixes in recent years.

The two most popular desktop environments, GNOME and KDE, each offer a competent screenshot utility. However, the functionality offered by their screenshot utilities is relatively basic. Furthermore, some Linux users prefer to use an alternative desktop environment.

Screen capture functionality is not only provided by dedicated applications. GIMP and ImageMagick, two programs which are primarily image manipulation tools, also offer competent screen capturing functionality.

This chart summarizes our view of the software. Note the rating awarded to the software relates only in the context of their screen capture functionality.


To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 6 screen capture tools. Hopefully, there will be something of interest for anyone who wants to demonstrate a program, or a particular problem with others.

Now, let’s explore the 6 screen capture tools at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, screenshots, together with links to relevant resources.

Screen Capture Tools
flameshotComplete screen capture and snipping tool with unique features
ShutterFeature-rich screenshot program
SpectacleSimple KDE application for capturing desktop screenshots
gnome-screenshotScreen capture tool for GNOME
GIMPThe GNU Image Manipulation Program
ImageMagickSoftware suite to create, edit, and compose bitmap images

Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There's tons of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle and Autodesk. There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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  1. Been using shutter and xfce-screenshooter alternatively with a quick key assigned to capturing a portion of the screen. After reading this article I discovered flameshot, I cannot thank you enough. It is exactly what i was looking for in a screen capture and annotation application. Finally a real alternative to windows sniping tool. And better even.

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