Taking screenshots of an area doesn't work via keyboard shortcut

On Ubuntu 14.04, if the keyboard shortcut does not work to take screenshots of a selected area, follow this link:

In /usr /local/ bin create a script with executable permissions and name it mate-screenshot.
This script introduces a delay that allows mate-screenshots to run the command with the '-a' option

sleep 1
exec /usr/bin/mate-screenshot $@

In the script above, the second row, I put sleep 0. 5 to decrease the time, with 0. 1 is too short and it doesn't work.
Then create keyboard shortcuts:

Name: Select Area
Command: /usr/local/bin/mate-screenshot -a

Then match the desired keys. (I used Alt+A)

My OS: Ubuntu Mate 14.04 Mate-utils 1.8.2+dfsg1-1~trusty1
On Ubuntu Mate 16. 04 (virtualized on VmWare) I had no need of this script,
I just added the 'mate-screenshot -a' command to the keyboard shortcuts.

Italiano forum Ubuntu.it


I used the command: “mate-screenshot --interactive” so i can choose: screen-window-selection

Yes, mate-screenshot --interactive is the same command you can find in the mate menu (accessories- take screenshot).

In the other way you can have 3 separate keyboard shortcuts:

Print -> grab the whole desktop
Alt Print -> grab the current window
These two are default, plus the third one to grab the selected area.

I tested this workaround on Ubuntu Mate 14.04.
On Ubuntu Mate 16. 04 I just added the ‘mate-screenshot -a’ command to keyboard shortcuts (no need of scripts)

I have Ubuntu Mate 17.04 installed on a late 2008 MacBook, which does not have a Print key on the keyboard. My solution was to enabled screenshot key bindings by adding the following commands to CompizConfig Settings Manager > Commands.

mate-screenshot (Key Bindings p)
mate-screenshot -w (Key Bindings w)
mate-screenshot -a (Key Bindings a)

Very similar to what you did in UM 16.04, except for setting key bindings for all three.

I found myself switching to gnome-screenshot because I cannot directly copy the taken screenshot to clipboard using mate-screenshot.

Does someone have another workaround for that using mate-screenshot?

Related discussion on Github:

I did not know this feature.
I installed gnome-screenschot via synaptic and with “gnome-screenshot -a -c”
I can directly copy the taken screenshot.

Unfortunately there is no “-c” option for mate version
I think I will also use gnome instead of mate-screenshots, indeed I’ve already put a launcher on the panel with this command.

Meanwhile, I found another solution for the keyboard shortcut , no need of script :

bash -c “DISPLAY=:0.0 mate-screenshot -a”
See the first reply of the following link

1 Like

Thanks, @Mary!

Hopefully, they will implement this clipboard feature into mate-screenshot. :slight_smile:

To sum up:

  1. Grab the entire screen and grab current windows as default with Mate screenshots and related shortcuts.

  2. To grab a selected area (without copy to clipboard):
    Try first the commad mate-screenshot -a in a keybord shortcut , if it does not work (in UM 14.04) set:

Bash -c “DISPLAY =: 0.0 mate-screenshot -a” ( see the link in post 6 for parameters of display )

n3. To grab a selected area with direct copy to the clipboard (no Gui) I used the workaround in my first post:

  • install gnome-screenshot

  • The script in /usr/local/bin , I renamed it gnome-screenshot and changed the third line

    sleep 0.5
    exec /usr/bin/gnome-screenshot $@

  • I made a shortcut
    /usr/local/bin/gnome-screenshot -a -c

Otherwise, in UM 14.04, even for gnome-screenshot there is the same drawback as my first post, so you need to set a delay.
Strangely, if instead of the keyboard shortcut I want to use a panel launcher, there is no need of this workaround and the “gnome-screenshot -a -c” command works perfectly.
The same thing happened to me with “mate-screenshot -a”: launcher works but shortcut doesn’t.

Hallo orschiro

Have you tried “Shutter”? It’s a screenshot tool that I wouldn’t want to be without. :slight_smile:

1 Like

I have this one, too. :slight_smile:

But your ensparking a new idea:

Do you know if Shutter has a command-line equivalent to gnome-screenshot -ac?


I don’t know. I only use it as a GUI tool.

However, I just called up the man-pages and there do seem to be terminal commands and options. Why not install it and see if it has what you are looking for?

1 Like


shutter -s allows me to take a selection and adds it automatically to the clipboard. :slight_smile:

Thanks, so I also tried shutter, it works for me the command shutter -s -e
otherwise with shutter -s the gui appears.
You can draw arrows and more


1 Like

The only drawback is that Shutter hasn’t seen a new release in years. And I found some bugs that I wish someone would address. Well, let’s hope for the development to become more active again!

mate-screenshot -i &
sleep 0.1
xdotool search --onlyvisible --name ‘^Take Screenshot$’ key Down
xdotool search --onlyvisible --name ‘^Take Screenshot$’ key Down
xdotool search --onlyvisible --name ‘^Take Screenshot$’ key Return


in ubuntu mate 14.04 just set the command to
bash -c "sleep 0.05; mate-screenshot --area"
or whatever minimum sleep time is necessary for you. for some reason there have to be some sleep time. no need for additional script

This solution works fine for my Mate 19.1 !
bash -c "sleep 0.05; mate-screenshot --area"