Change Screenshot Path

April 1, 2008

No question, screenshots are your friend. There is a wealth of options for capturing screenshots on a Mac, with the two most common being Shift-Command-3 (entire screen) and Shift-Command-4 (area you specify with mouse). I like to have all images I capture/edit in a specific directory, the same directory that my ftp client points to upon startup.

Here is a defaults command (run from a terminal) that you can use to specify the location where to store screenshots:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture location path

The path setting must truly be the full path, that is, you cannot reference ~ for your home directory. If you would like to place screenshots in reference to your home directory, simply use the full path, such as /Users/John/Desktop/screenshots.

For the new path to take effect your best bet is to logout/login. I’ve seen references to the following command as an alternative, however, this didn’t work consistently for me:

killall SystemUIServer

You can also use the Property List Editor to set the your screencapture preferences. The file you need to edit is located here: ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.screencapture.plist (use Finder to locate the file and double click to open).

4 comments

This is very useful. Thanks.

A question: Tiger used to add 1 to the filename of the last Picture file to name the next one, so that you immediately knew to choose the last numbered picture to select the shot you had just taken. Leopard gives the Picture the first available number, so if you had 24 screen shots and have deleted a few in the middle of the list you have to look through the list to find the file.

Can this behaviour be changed…..?

by james strathallan on May 16, 2008 at 3:57 am. Reply #

Hi, I need your help, tried changing the file format. png. jpeg using the command “defaults write com.apple.screencapture”and my screenshot stopped working. When I try to capture an image pops up an error message talking about the impossibility of creating characters. I would like to reset this property and get back to business as usual. Could you help me? Thanks

by Marcus on Jan 12, 2011 at 4:50 am. Reply #

Marcus, try to edit this file: ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.screencapture.plist to see if you can make the changes needed to get things working again.

by john on Jan 12, 2011 at 7:06 am. Reply #

i do not have this file: com.apple.screencapture.plist

when i attempt to screencapture, it makes the noise, but i do not know where the file goes, this started happening after i updated to version 10.6.3

please help, thank you

by Natalie on Sep 6, 2011 at 10:08 pm. Reply #

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