Do you have a cluttered Mac desktop filled up with screenshots you’ve taken? Annoyed at how they litter your wallpaper with their meaningless names? You are not alone! I saw some chatter about this on Facebook recently, so I did a quick bit a research and voila! No more screenshots on my Mac desktop (see above). If you want to have a desktop like this, read on.

Change the default save location in 5 easy steps:

  1. Create a new folder using Finder (eg Desktop/Screenshots)
  2. Go to Applications > Utilities > Terminal
  3. Type: defaults write location then drag the newly created folder to the Terminal screen (and it will insert the file path of the folder for you). Or enter the file location manually if you know what it is (carefully check your spelling and location).
  4. Type: killall SystemUIServer
  5. All done!

Change screenshot save location OSX Mac

Extra for Experts:

  • If you want to change the default file type for screenshots from .png to jpg, bmp, tig,pdf etc then type: defaults write type [format], followed by killall SystemUIServer
  • And if it irks you that all the files are called Screen shot yyyy-mm-dd-at-hh-mm then you can change the ‘Screen shot’ part of the file name to something else by typing: defaults write name [file name] followed by killall SystemUIServer.

Enjoy that uncluttered feeling!

PS – if you don’t know how to take a screenshot on your Mac, use Command+Shift+3, or Command+Shift+4 to grab just a selection of the screen.


Join the conversation! 10 Comments

  1. I felt like this was written just for me! Great tip thank you. Been suffering from Cluttered Desktop Syndrome since the day I learnt to take a screenshot.

  2. I tried this the first time around and thought it worked but my screen shot still went to the desktop, so I tried again and now I’m getting this

    new-host-4:~ myname$ defaults write location/Users/myname/Desktop/ScreenShots
    2014-01-26 16:00:12.249 defaults[6426:707]
    Rep argument is not a dictionary
    Defaults have not been changed.
    new-host-4:~ myname$

  3. How Dos!

    There needs to be a space after the word ‘location’, just before the path to your new location E.g. defaults write location /Users/myname/Desktop/ScreenShots


  4. What dit I do wrong?

    Last login: Sat Feb 1 11:19:46 on ttys000
    localhost:~ rikv$ defaults write location/Users/rikv/Desktop/Schermafbeelding killall SystemUIServer
    2014-02-01 11:20:04.789 defaults[674:707] Unexpected argument SystemUIServer; leaving defaults unchanged.
    localhost:~ rikv$

  5. yeah thanks for the tips! I had the same prob.

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