Setting Screenshot File Location

By default your Mac screenshots will appear on the Desktop. However, if you take screenshots often, it could be useful to set up a dedicated folder for them and have them automatically save there. You can do this with a simple Terminal command.

Comments: 21 Responses to “Setting Screenshot File Location”

    Rob
    2 years ago

    Great video on saving screen shots. Have been searching for any easy way to make the change, bingo, you nailed it! Thanks!

    Squafdonoboles
    2 years ago

    Will this work across all MAC platforms?

    2 years ago

    Squafdonoboles: Not sure what you mean. Should work on all Macs, yes.

    Jerry Naples
    2 years ago

    Nice capability. I hesitate to tell most of my associates about Terminal actions. Few of them would be “safe” in Terminal. Aren’t there some alternatives from developers that stay outside Terminal? Would rather tell people about that
    Of course, DropBox offers to grab any screen shots but I’d rather not
    Jerry

    2 years ago

    Jerry: Any alternatives would (like an app that lets you change things like this) would be MORE dangerous since a click interface would make it easier to change something you shouldn’t.

    Fiona
    2 years ago

    Hi I’m following the instructions but this is not working for me. At the moment my screenshots are not saved to the desktop although they used to be and I’ve no idea where they are now

    2 years ago

    Fiona: First, check to make sure you are using the right keyboard shortcut. Look in System Preferences like I show at the start. It is easy to change them, and you may be simply copying the screen to the clipboard and not saving it as a file.

    John Russell
    2 years ago

    Jerry, as an alternative to this method I wrote a little rule in the app Hazel to watch for any files showing up on the Desktop with .png as the extension and to plunk them in a folder called Screenshots. Tomato, Tom-ah-to?

    william braun
    2 years ago

    Great post – I have wanted to do this for a long time – just did not know how. Thanks much,

    Bill

    Ric
    2 years ago

    When I do this and put it the instruction it says “-bash: default: command not found.

    2 years ago

    Ric: Do a search for “Mac Terminal bash: default: command not found” and you’ll get some results that may lead you in the right direction. But if you are not familiar with using Terminal then at this point I would seek firsthand expert help instead of trying to mess around with Terminal commands on your own.

    Robert E.
    2 years ago

    Hi!
    Regarding Ric and Fiora’s problem…it is not working because of just one slight error Gary made in the video Transcript. The first word of the Terminal command should be “defaults” with an s and not default, as is shown. I had the same problem until I compared the transcript to the video.
    You can’t really blame Gary. He has so much on his plate, he is allowed a mistake now and then. Thanks for all, Gary!

    2 years ago

    Robert: Thanks for spotting that. I didn’t realize people were using the transcript to copy and paste. I don’t do the transcripts myself and they are really there for closed captioning and search engines. I’ve corrected the “default” to “defaults.” Thanks.

    Christy Hemenway
    2 years ago

    Brilliant. I teach weekend intensive classes and one of the chores I have to sure I perform before each class is that of cleaning up all those screen shots off my desktop! I usually sweep them all up into a folder labeled “Desktop Clutter.”
    But now they can go there first – without stopping off at the desktop, and I can find ’em fast.
    Thanks Gary.

    Kathy George
    2 years ago

    That’s great Gary, I want mine on the Desktop but a few weeks ago they moved to some other file so on trying to move them back to the Desktop, Terminal is saying this, lots more of it but this is what it starts with:

    Command line interface to a user’s defaults.
    Syntax:

    ‘defaults’ [-currentHost | -host ] followed by one of the following:

    read shows all defaults

    Is this correct?

    Many thanks,
    Kathy

    2 years ago

    Kathy: I’m not sure what you are asking. If the location of your screenshots changed without you using the command in the Terminal yourself, then something must have changed that location. Perhaps you installed some software that now intercepts these and puts them elsewhere? If so, simply using the Terminal command may not be enough to switch it back. You’ll have to figure out what you installed or set that changed it.

    Kathy George
    2 years ago

    Hi Gary, it was just that Terminal was showing a lot more info than when you showed the example so I wasn’t sure if that was correct or if something weird had happened. It does indeed look as though something weird has happened though! So based on the info I gave you above regarding what Terminal is now saying, is it safe to continue with this session or should I terminate/delete it and try and find another way?

    2 years ago

    Kathy: I’m not sure what you typed in in order to get that response, but it looks like you mistyped the command and it simply gave you some instructions.

    Kathy George
    2 years ago

    Yep you’re dead right Gary, I’d not typed it in properly! Now I have, this is what I typed and what it responded with……

    defaults write com.apple.screencapture /Users/user/Desktop
    2017-03-08 06:54:58.967 defaults[8232:1496217]
    Rep argument is not a dictionary
    Defaults have not been changed.

    What have I done wrong?

    2 years ago

    Kathy: You forgot the “location”
    defaults write com.apple.screencapture location *path*
    Also, I assume you are using an actual path, and not “/Users/user/Desktop” — unless “user” is your home folder name.

    Kathy George
    2 years ago

    Cannot believe I did that! So, I’ve found the problem – I installed Dropbox a few weeks ago (can’t remember why!) and that’s where the screenshots were going. This command in Terminal couldn’t override Dropbox but I’ve now sorted the problem in preferences so I’m happy. So sorry to waste your time Gary and thank you so much for all your fabulous videos.

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