Changing the screenshot directory on a Mac

On Macs, there are two great hot-key combinations that can be used for doing screen captures.

  • command + shift + 3 = full screen capture
  • command + shift + 4 = a partial screen capture based on a box you draw.

By default, when you make a grab with these commands the output files are saved directly to your desktop. If you have a messy desktop, they can be hard to find. Using a little command line magic, you can change this output location to any directory you choose. The command itself is:

defaults write location /output/path/directory

You would just need to change “/output/path/directory” to the location where you want the screen grabs to go.

I got found this command on this page from the Mac Developer Tips site. Just putting it here so that I can find it easier in case I ever need it again.


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