scrot - command line screen capture utility


scrot [options] [file]


scrot (SCReenshOT) is a simple command line screen capture utility that uses imlib2 to grab and save images. Multiple image formats are supported through imlib2’s dynamic saver modules.

Some features of the scrot:

support to multiple image formats (JPG, PNG, GIF, etc.).

optimization of the screen shots image quality.

capture a specific window or a rectangular area on the screen with the help of switch.

scrot also can be used to monitor a desktop PC in admin absent and register unwanted activities.


-h, --help

Display help output and exit.

-v, --version

Output version information and exit.

-D, --display

Specify the display to use; see X(7).

-a, --autoselect

Non-interactively choose a rectangle of x,y,w,h.

-b, --border

When selecting a window, grab wm border too.

-c, --count

Display a countdown when used with delay.

-d, --delay NUM

Wait NUM seconds before taking a shot.

-e, --exec APP

Exec APP on the saved image.

-q, --quality NUM

Image quality (1-100) high value means high size, low compression. Default: 75. (Effect differs depending on file format chosen).

-m, --multidisp

For multiple heads, grab shot from each and join them together.

-s, --select

Interactively select a window or rectangle with the mouse. See -l and -f options.

-l, --line

Indicates the style of the line when the -s option is used. See SELECTION STYLE.

-f, --freeze

Freeze the screen when the -s option is used.

-u, --focused

Use the currently focused window.

-t, --thumb NUM|GEOM

Generate thumbnail too. NUM is the percentage of the original size for the thumbnail to be. Alternatively, a GEOMetry can be specified, example: 300x200.

-z, --silent

Prevent beeping.

-p, --pointer

Capture the mouse pointer.

-o, --overwrite

By default scrot does not overwrite the files, use this option to allow it.

-n, --note

Draw a text note. See NOTE FORMAT.

-k, --stack

Capture stack/overlapped windows and join them together. A running Composite Manager is needed.

-C, --class NAME

Window class name. Associative with options: -k.


Both the --exec and filename parameters can take format specifiers that are expanded by scrot when encountered. There are two types of format specifier. Characters preceded by a ’%’ are interpreted by strftime(2). See man strftime for examples. These options may be used to refer to the current date and time. The second kind are internal to scrot and are prefixed by ’$’ The following specifiers are recognised:

$a hostname
$f image path/filename (ignored when used in the filename)
$m thumb image path/filename (ignored when used in the filename)
$n image name (ignored when used in the filename)
$s image size (bytes) (ignored when used in the filename)
$p image pixel size
$w image width
$h image height
$t image format (ignored when used in the filename)
$$ print a literal ’$’
\n print a newline (ignored when used in the filename)


$ scrot ’%Y-%m-%d_$wx$h.png’ -e ’mv $f ~/shots/’

This would create a file called something like 2000-10-30_2560x1024.png and move it to your shots directory.


When using --select you can indicate the style of the line with --line.

The following specifiers are recognised:

style=(solid,dash),width=(range 1 to 8),color="value",
opacity=(range 10 to 100),mode=(edge,classic)

The default style is:


Mode ’edge’ ignore: style, --freeze

Mode ’classic’ ignore: opacity

The ’opacity’ specifier is only effective if a Composite Manager is running.

For the color you can use a name or a hexadecimal value.

color="red" or color="#ff0000"


$ scrot --line style=dash,width=3,color="red" --select


The following specifiers are recognised for the option --note:

-f ’FontName/size’
-t ’text’
-x position (optional)
-y position (optional)
-c color(RGBA) (optional)
-a angle (optional)


$ scrot --note "-f ’/usr/share/fonts/TTF/DroidSans-Bold/40’ -x 10 -y 20 -c 255,0,0,255 -t ’Hi’"


scrot was originally developed by Tom Gilbert under MIT-advertising license and is maintained by some people.

Currently, source code and newer versions are available at