Monday, April 13, 2015

osx: change your screenshot folder for cleaner desktops

2020 UPDATE: It looks like you can both change the screenshot folder AND disable the floating thumbail (useful if you often markup a screenshot, but slowing you down otherwise) by going to Applications/Utilities, opening up the, and looking under "Options")
PROTIP: Most "powerusers" know about cmd-$ (i.e. shift-4) to grab a window screen shot (cmd-shift-3 for the (less useful) whole screen version). By default these get dumped to the Desktop... however, you can change the default screenshot folder

That link has detailed instructions but the upshot is, in terminal:
defaults write location /fullpath/to/folder
killall SystemUIServer

For a long while I wasn't a big fan of specialty folders, like "My Documents" or "My Music" on Windows. My preference was to put everything that made the computer special to me (save for the applications) into subfolders of "C:\data\" - that way I had one stop shopping for backup or moving to a different machine. "My Documents" was at some arbitrary place deep in the file system, and I didn't like all my "stuff" being so scattered, difficult to jump to in a DOS window.

On Mac I've come around, however. For one thing, all of these folders are under my home directory, so are easy to get in Terminal - and the general Unix-y nature of "~/Downloads" appeals to me. I still rely more on Dropbox for media, however. 

Anyway, this is just a ramble talking about how I've found it better to embrace "Downloads" as a generic temporary file space, vs "Desktop".  Saving Desktop for things I really want to be nagged about makes for a more pleasant and uncluttered desktop experience... the screenshot location was the last holdout, but now that's fixed for me.

PROPROTIP: A final note about screenshots: after you do cmd-$, you can hit space to say "select a whole window" and then click to take the shot. By default this includes the gray shadow of the window. If you want a "cleaner" shot of just the windows itself, hold the option key when clicking.

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