In this guide, we'll be showing you how to take screenshots in Kali Linux. There are a few different utilities we can use to accomplish this task, and this article will ensure that you're familiar with them.

In this tutorial you will learn:
  • How to take a screenshot with Kali's screenshot utilities
  • How to use Flameshot for screenshots and annotations
  • How to use Kazam to take screenshots and screencasts
Taking a screenshot on Kali Linux
Taking a screenshot on Kali Linux
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Kali Linux
Software Flameshot, Kazam
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # - requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ - requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Kali's built-in screenshot utilities


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When you download and install Kali, there are a lot of desktop environments to choose from. XFCE is listed as the top GUI, but you're also able to select KDE or GNOME. All these different desktop environments have a built-in screenshot utility, so regardless of which GUI you are using, you already have a screenshot tool installed by default.

They are all similar but function a little differently. For example, when you hit the PrtSc (print screen) key in XFCE, a little window pops up and gives you some options on what to do with the image you just captured:

Xfce default screenshot prompt
Xfce default screenshot prompt

In GNOME, hitting the PrtSc key will cause your screen to flash and you'll hear a camera shutter sound, but nothing pops up. You can find your screenshot in the Pictures folder inside your home directory.

Screenshot saved to Pictures folder in GNOME
Screenshot saved to Pictures folder in GNOME


We can't possibly cover every GUI here, but suffice it to say that the built-in utility can be triggered with the PrtSc key. By default, your entire desktop will be captured in the image. If you just want to capture a particular window, you can bring that window to the foreground and use Alt + PrtSc at the same time.

For more granular control, just open the screenshot utility from your GUI's application launcher.

Every GUI has a default screenshot utility you can open
Every GUI has a default screenshot utility you can open

The built-in screenshot tool will typically allow you to select a region of the screen to capture and choose whether or not to capture the mouse pointer in the image. Some are more robust and may include additional options.

Xfce default screenshot utility
Xfce default screenshot utility

Flameshot



The default screenshot utilities that we covered above are a bit sparse in the way of features. Flameshot is an alternative program that you can use, especially if you're looking to annotate your screenshots by drawing arrows on them and have access to other convenient features.

You can install Flameshot by executing the following commands in terminal.

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install flameshot

Once Flameshot is installed, you can access it in the applications launcher. Alternatively, you can launch it from the terminal with this command:

$ flameshot gui

When Flameshot opens, just follow the on-screen instructions. You can drag your mouse around and resize the window very easily in order to capture exactly what you want on your screen. You'll see lots of tools that you can use to annotate or upload your screenshot.

Capturing an image with Flameshot. There are a lot of options available for editing the image at the bottom.
Capturing an image with Flameshot. There are a lot of options available for editing the image at the bottom.

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But wait, there's more! You can configure Flameshot's interface and other options inside the configuration menu:

$ flameshot config
Flameshot has a lot of configuration options, as you can see
Flameshot has a lot of configuration options, as you can see

There are some command line options you can use with Flameshot as well. See the man page for a full list of what it can do.

$ man flameshot

Kazam

Kazam is another viable option for screenshots, and it's included by default on Kali Linux. Just in case it's not already on your system, or you want to make sure it's up to date, execute the following commands in terminal to install/update it.

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install kazam

Once it's installed, you can open it in your GUI's application launcher. A big selling point of Kazam is that it comes with the ability to record your screen. Just make sure "screencast" is selected when you want to record a video, and "screenshot" is selected when you want to take an image.



Choose from screencast or screenshot, depending on if you want to capture videos or images
Choose from screencast or screenshot, depending on if you want to capture videos or images

Conclusion

In this guide, we saw how to take screenshots in Kali. We learned how to use Kali's default screenshot utilities to capture images, as well as install additional software to give us some extra options and convenience.

Using the tools in this guide, you'll be able to capture screenshots, screencasts, and annotate and upload your content in multiple ways on Kali.

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