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Terminal Tips: Change the location of snapped screenshots

Joachim Bean

Are you tired of all of those icons from screenshots you've taken cluttering up space on your desktop? If you would like them in a different place when you snap them, here's a command to change the location.

Using the Terminal, enter the following command to change the location:

defaults write location ~/Pictures

This snippet will change the default location of saving the screenshot to the Pictures folder. You can also set this location to any folder or volume on your Mac, just substitute ~/Pictures in this command to whatever you want. Once you've run this command, you'll need to restart the SystemUIServer (used to control certain interface elements in Mac OS X), by entering killall SystemUIServer in the Terminal.

If you don't want to use the Terminal, many of the popular Mac maintenance utilities, including OnyX (free). TinkerTool (free), and Cocktail ($14.95), will allow you to change the location of snapped screenshots.

If you're snapping a lot of screenshots, changing the location can be very useful, especially if you're on a portable Mac with limited disk space. Each screenshot can sometimes be over 1MB in size, so if you're tight on space it can be a good idea to store your screenshots elsewhere, like on an external hard drive.

There's also a handy suggestion from our own TJ Luoma: redirect your screenshots to a cached/synchronized folder, like the Pictures folder on your iDisk (if you have iDisk Sync turned on) or a folder in your Dropbox, Live Mesh or SugarSync directories for instant screenshot sharing among multiple machines.

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