As a developer, I take a lot of screen captures. I often take screen shots to share with Stack Exchange members in chat.

The problem is my Desktop is so cluttered with screen captures that they're now overlapping! I'd like to save all screenshots in a dedicated folder or directory.

In macOS, how do I change the default location where screen captures are saved?

These are the screen shots taken with CommandShift3 or CommandShift4 keyboard shortcuts.

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

  • There are some subtleties with Touch Bar that add options, but the core functionality of a default folder is something you can set on each version of macOS with specific actions. apple.stackexchange.com/questions/263424 may be the main Touch Bar version of this
    – bmike
    Jan 7, 2019 at 0:19

6 Answers 6


According to this page...

defaults write com.apple.screencapture location <path>

Also, to turn on/off shadow:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture disable-shadow -bool true
defaults write com.apple.screencapture disable-shadow -bool false

And to change file type:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture type <format>

You'll want to

killall SystemUIServer

to make the commands take effect.


As of macOS 10.14+, you don't need any specific software or scripts. The default screenshot location can be changed in the Screenshot app UI:

  1. Enter Screenshot mode:

    • Press Command+Shift+5
    • Press the Touchbar's Screenshot button
  2. Go to the floating screenshots options window.

  3. Select Options > Save to > Other Location...
  4. Choose a new screenshot location.

Select "Options" here:

Screenshot options

Now all screenshots will be stored at the chosen location.

  • 1
    This is my vastly-preferred answer for modern macOS-es. Feb 10, 2022 at 16:06

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.

  • Thanks... any way to do it using defaults ?
    – Josh
    Nov 18, 2010 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 com.apple.screencapture 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.

  • 1
    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, 2013 at 22:10
  • @Josh - thanks! actually, you should probably just upvote Lri here: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/53422/… ... 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). Nov 22, 2013 at 14:05
  • Note that this will not work on 10.11+ as anything in /System/ is protected by System Integrity Protection (SIP).
    – n8felton
    Oct 24, 2017 at 1:08

Apple's answer:

Where to find screenshots

By default, screenshots save to your desktop with the name ”Screen Shot [date] at [time].png.”

In macOS Mojave or later, you can change the default location of saved screenshots from the Options menu in the Screenshot app. You can also drag the thumbnail to a folder or document.


  • Does that have the same effect as using the defaults command I have enjoyed for 10 years?
    – Josh
    May 27, 2020 at 12:43
  • @Josh I think gyunter's answer is now the best on this page and should be chosen as the Accepted Answer. It's now easy to do via the Screenshots UI.
    – pkamb
    May 27, 2020 at 18:58

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.

  • 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, 2012 at 21:05

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