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As a developer, I take a lot of screen captures. I often take a lot to share with StackExchange members on chat. The problem is my desktop is so cluttered with screen captures that they're now overlapping!

On Mac OS X 10.5.8, how do I change the default location where screen captures (taken with Command+Shift+3 or Command+Shift+4) are placed?

EDIT: I would prefer a solution which doesn't require installing any software.

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up vote 15 down vote accepted

According to this page...

defaults write location <path>

Also, to turn on/off shadow:

defaults write disable-shadow -bool true
defaults write disable-shadow -bool false

And to change file type:

defaults write type <format>

You'll want to

killall SystemUIServer

to make the commands take effect.

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Perfect, Thank you! My desktop is happy now. – Josh Nov 18 '10 at 23:54

If you use TinkerTool you can change the location that screen capture will saved:

alt text

And also you can Add control to the two shortcuts above to place the screen shot on the clipboard instead of saving it to the desktop., and paste it in image Editor like Acorn.

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Thanks... any way to do it using defaults ? – Josh Nov 18 '10 at 23:15

I realize this question was asked years ago...

Nonetheless, I arrived here yesterday trying to fix the names (base filenames) of the screencapture PNG files.

Later I found the answer I needed, so I offer it here for future visitors.

If you hate the names looking like:

Screen shot 2011-07-05 at 5.38.53 AM

Then you can fix it in three steps:

First, run:

defaults write name "screenshot"

Or use any word you want as a replacement for the default "Screen shot."

Then (bust out your superuser/sudo privileges and) edit this file:


If your computer is not localized to use the "English.lproj", then locate the appropriate lproj in that same Resources folder.

Here is what to edit in Localizable.strings:

/* Format screencapture file names */
/* "%@ %@ at %@" = "%1$@ %2$@ at %3$@"; */
"%@ %@ at %@" = "%1$@_%2$@_%3$@";

Keep the left-hand-side as "%@ %@ at %@" and alter the right-hand-side (after the equals sign) to your liking. In the above snippet, underscores are used where previously whitespace was used.

Lastly, of course:

killall SystemUIServer

I found this info on this webpage, and it works for me on 10.6.

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This is great info, but should be asked as a new question (How can I change the name of a screen capture file) and then copy your answer to that. It's perfectly Ok (and encouraged!) to ask and answer your own question in order to share knowledge. Post a comment on my question with a link to your question after you post it and I'll upvote you. – Josh Nov 21 '13 at 22:10
@Josh - thanks! actually, you should probably just upvote Lri here:… ... I found Lri's answer after all this mess. The thing is: your question consistently showed up in google searches, and that other one never did (but i eventually found it just browsing stackexchange without google). – pestophagous Nov 22 '13 at 14:05

Use the screen shots from Preview. You can save to any place you like, change the screenshot's name or file type. It is under Previews File menu.

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You've misunderstood my question. Obviously I can move them after they're taking, I wanted to know how to change their location when they're taken. – Josh Feb 20 '12 at 21:05

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