Change Where macOS Saves Screenshots

Dave Mark recently posted some useful information about taking screenshots without drop shadows on a Mac. He then updated the post with more information about Mac screenshots. So I thought I’d make a contribution, and mention something I do that makes managing screenshots easier.

If you take screenshots on your Mac, they are saved by default on the Desktop. But, for me, that’s not a good location to store them. I take a lot of screenshots for articles and books, and sometimes need to save them for a time while I’m working on a project. So I created a folder in my Documents folder called Screenshots, and, on each of my Macs, I save them to that folder.

But the Mac doesn’t give you an option to choose where to save screenshots. Fortunately, there is a way you can change this.

Start by creating a folder called Screenshots and putting it where you want.

Open Terminal, which is in your /Applications/Utilities folder. Copy the following code and pasted it into the Terminal window, then press Return.

defaults write com.apple.screencapture location ~/Documents/Screenshots

(If you’ve chosen a different location for your Screenshots folder, make sure the command contains that folder path. ~ is a shortcut for your home folder.)

You’ll need to log out of your account and log in again, or restart your Mac for this to take effect. From that point on, any screenshots you take using the system shortcuts (such as Command-Shift-3) will be put into that folder.

This is practical for two reasons. If you store other files on your Desktop, screenshots won’t get in the way. And, as I said, it keeps them all in their own folder, which you can put in a location that is more practical for you.

34 thoughts on “Change Where macOS Saves Screenshots

  1. Any idea how I can save to a Dropbox for Business folder? DB4B puts “Personal” or “BusinessName” in parentheses behind Dropbox folder (e.g. ~/Dropbox (Personal)/Screenshots), and I can’t figure out how to get Terminal to parse that correctly – I’ve tried backslashes and single-quotes, but always get “cannot parse” or “path not found”.

    • Instead of typing the final path in the command, just drag the folder you want into the terminal window. Make sure to type a space after the other part of the command before you drag the folder.

  2. Any idea how I can save to a Dropbox for Business folder? DB4B puts “Personal” or “BusinessName” in parentheses behind Dropbox folder (e.g. ~/Dropbox (Personal)/Screenshots), and I can’t figure out how to get Terminal to parse that correctly – I’ve tried backslashes and single-quotes, but always get “cannot parse” or “path not found”.

    • Instead of typing the final path in the command, just drag the folder you want into the terminal window. Make sure to type a space after the other part of the command before you drag the folder.

      • No dot (period) at the end of the path. That’s what was spit out alongside the error.
        What I typed (dragged) ends with where I put the arrow (same DB link)

        • Did you try backslashes before the parentheses? I would expect that quotes would work no matter what.

      • No dot (period) at the end of the path. That’s what was spit out alongside the error.
        What I typed (dragged) ends with where I put the arrow (same DB link)

        • Did you try backslashes before the parentheses? I would expect that quotes would work no matter what.

  3. For anyone reluctant to use the command line, the invaluable and free TinkerTool has screenshot location, remove shadows, and file format as some of its many settings additions. He basically adds all of the known defaults write settings into a nice gui and it’s always the first utility I add when setting up a fresh system.

    http://www.bresink.com/osx/TinkerTool.html

  4. For anyone reluctant to use the command line, the invaluable and free TinkerTool has screenshot location, remove shadows, and file format as some of its many settings additions. He basically adds all of the known defaults write settings into a nice gui and it’s always the first utility I add when setting up a fresh system.

    http://www.bresink.com/osx/TinkerTool.html

    • Not in my experience. You need to make sure you get the file path right, and that the folder exists already.

    • Not in my experience. You need to make sure you get the file path right, and that the folder exists already.

    • I just used the KillAll Finder terminal command after executing the defaults.write… command to enable the screenshots location change.
      No need to reboot if using KillAll Finder (at least, that was my experience…still can’t get the Dropbox (Personal) thing to work, though – argh!)

    • I just used the KillAll Finder terminal command after executing the defaults.write… command to enable the screenshots location change.
      No need to reboot if using KillAll Finder (at least, that was my experience…still can’t get the Dropbox (Personal) thing to work, though – argh!)

    • Yes – works fine for me. Mine saves to a Dropbox folder in High Sierra – the setting just carried over from when I set this up way back (like 10.9).

    • Yes – works fine for me. Mine saves to a Dropbox folder in High Sierra – the setting just carried over from when I set this up way back (like 10.9).

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