How to Take and Annotate Screenshots with Ksnip in Linux

I recently stumbled upon a nice snipping tool and although I’ve covered a few snipping tools on FossMint before, I figure this one is a good addition to the list.

Ksnip is a lightweight free and open-source cross-platform screenshot tool for taking screenshots and quickly adding annotations. It is Qt-based and features a well-organized user interface with readily accessible controls for adding customizable text, arrows, shapes, and color fills. It also features the typical image editing options such as crop, rotate, undo/redo, and export.

For taking screenshots, users can choose a custom rectangular area with the mouse cursor, the last selected area, the screen/monitor with the cursor, the full screen (including all screens/monitors), the window in focus, the screen without the mouse cursor, or the window under the mouse cursor. It also features an option to remove sensitive information by blurring selected areas. This option is activated with the “tic-tac-toe” icon in the toolbar.

Features in Ksnip

  • Free and open-source
  • Available on all desktop OS platforms
  • Support for multiple monitors
  • Support for drag-and-drop
  • Numbering tool for quickly highlighting steps or assigning priority
  • A customizable delay for all capture options
  • Upload screenshots directly to in user or anonymous mode
  • Command-line support for taking screenshots
  • Customizable default location, format, and filename for saving screenshots
  • Supports wildcards for Time ($T), Day ($D), Month ($M), and Year ($Y)
  • Add watermarks to images
  • Annotate screenshots with ellipses, rectangles, texts, pen markers, etc.
  • Print or save screenshots to PDF or PhotoShop
  • Global HotKeys (currently for only X11 and Windows)

Ksnip also features a variety of configuration options for users who like to tweak their image snippets to the T. These options include text font, cursor color and thickness, and the behavior of its image grabber. The rest of its config options are located in the settings tab.

If you don’t have a screenshotting app that you’re dedicated to I’m sure you’ll find Ksnip to be a reliable tool.

Install Ksnip on Linux

If you prefer installation using a GUI then the app store is your friend. If you prefer using the terminal then this simple command is all you need (using the Apt package manager):

$ sudo ap-get install ksnip

To install the snap app, the command is:

$ sudo snap install ksnip

If you’re running Arch Linux or any of its derivatives (e.g. Manjaro), you need to add support for the Snap Store (assuming you haven’t already) before running the command. You can find other installation options on the GitHub page.

Ksnip Usage

  1. Taking Screenshots – Run the app and then open the screen/site/document you want to screenshot and click “New“. Define the area you want to capture or select the fullscreen/specific window of your choice using from the dropdown menu. Click to take your screenshot and next annotate them.
  2. Adding Text – Click on “A” and then on any section of the image to start typing. You can click and drag on the selected area to define the textbox size. The text customization options (e.g. colour, size, border, background colour) are in the bottom left of the app window. If the textbox shifts out of position after editing, just click and drag it into place.
  3. Numbering – Numbering comes in handy when you need to make a quick list annotation or indicate the priority of items. Select the numbering tool and click on any point to place a number. Use the transformation options to resize them and move them around.
  4. Blurring – Like I mentioned before, this feature is good for concealing sensitive/private information. When you select the blur tool, there will be only one active tool you can interact with – this is for defining the blur’s strength. Set confines on the area you want to blur and voila!
  5. Arrows & Highlights – Click on the arrow icon, click on the point the arrow should begin from, and drag to its endpoint. You can also use the highlight tool to draw attention to any region. And like with arrows, you can change the highlight colour after the fact.

These are the basic functions that anyone annotating screenshots needs. To see the options you need to check out the app yourself. When you’re done making annotations, go to File > Save to save/share your screenshot in the supported formats.

As it is with all open-source projects, you can contribute in cash, code, or publicity. When you do use the app, feel free to share your experiences with us in the comments section below.

Divine Okoi is a cybersecurity postgrad with a passion for the open-source community. With 700+ articles covering different topics in IT, you can always trust him to inform you about the coolest tech.

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