Feature #8666

Explain how to take screenshots in Tails

Added by sajolida 2015-01-10 11:50:45 . Updated 2020-05-16 22:25:44 .

Needs Validation
Target version:
Start date:
Due date:
% Done:


Feature Branch:
Type of work:
End-user documentation

Affected tool:
Deliverable for:


  • Applications → Accessories → Screenshot

I’m not sure whether this deserves a full page in “Sensitive documents” but at least it needs to appear or be linked from the bug reporting instructions.


Related issues

Related to Tails - Feature #12723: GNOME screencast feature stops after 30s Rejected 2017-06-15
Blocks Tails - Feature #17247: Core work 2020Q1 → 2020Q2: Technical writing Confirmed


#1 Updated by sajolida 2015-01-10 11:52:06

  • related to Feature #8660: Add an option to attach screenshots to WhisperBack reports added

#2 Updated by intrigeri 2015-01-10 15:21:00

> Feature Feature #8666: Document how to take screenshots in Tails

I’m curious. I suspect the GNOME user guide (that we ship) documents that, for people who don’t know about the PrintScreen key, doesn’t it?

#3 Updated by sajolida 2015-01-11 10:05:49

  • Subject changed from Document how to take screenshots in Tails to Explain how to take screenshots in Tails
  • Description updated

You’re right, this is already documented there so we shouldn’t duplicate that. But it mentions the Activity Overview that we don’t have, so I would still add a note on the bug reporting instructions to explain to start it through Applications → Accessories → Screenshort.

#4 Updated by BitingBird 2015-01-19 16:53:20

“if your keyboard doesn’t have a Print Screen key, you can hit alt-F2 and run gnome-screenshot” hint from irc

#5 Updated by ArgySan 2015-06-04 04:27:09

  • Assignee set to ArgySan

So what does this require? Seems simple enough to do a mini ‘How To’ - I could have it done within the week.

#6 Updated by BitingBird 2015-06-04 16:15:54

It’s great that you’re willing to ork on this!

You should make a dedicated page (we’ll see later if we merge it with an existing one). Copy what exists on other documentation pges, put the links for upstream documentation, and read https://tails.boum.org/contribute/how/documentation/ to know how we do that :)

Don’t hesitate to ask for help or feedback!

#7 Updated by sajolida 2015-06-05 18:47:22

I think this page should be super simple (a bit like https://tails.boum.org/doc/sensitive_documents/office_suite/ maybe). I don’t think we need a how to (GNOME Screenshot is simple enough and it’s out of the scope of our documentation). But you could:

  • Mention the PrintScreen key and where the files are saved by default.
  • Applications → Accessories → Screenshot.
  • Point to Applications → Accessories → Screenshot → Help for more info (additional screen shots, etc.)
  • Link your page from https://tails.boum.org/doc/first_steps/bug_reporting/. Unfortunately, it is not possible to add attachments to WhisperBack. See Feature #8660. Maybe that could be mentioned as a limitation.

#8 Updated by ArgySan 2015-06-09 02:34:35

I’ll get my dedicated page up as soon as I get time (figure out how) to do that :P For now, I have this for the language:

From the Tails UI, select Applications > Accessories > Screenshot

This will open up the Screenshot utility. Form here you can:

  • Take a screenshot of the entire desktop.
  • Take a screenshot of the current window only.
  • Select a specific area to take a screenshot of.

You can also change settings, such as:

  • Time-delay your screenshot.
  • Include your pointer.
  • Include the window border
  • Apply effects.

Once you have taken a screenshot, you can name it and save it wherever you wish - including a USB if you wish to keep it off-system, perhaps with your USB Tails bootloader.

You can also use the Print Screen button on your keyboard to take a screenshot:

  • PrtScr (Prt Sc on some devices) will take a screenshot of your entire UX screen.
  • Alt + PrtScr will take a screenshot of your current active window.
  • Your screenshot will be saved to Home by default.

…I also have some screenshots

#9 Updated by ArgySan 2015-06-09 02:37:22

  • % Done changed from 0 to 50
  • Estimated time set to 1 h

#10 Updated by sajolida 2015-06-09 15:42:46

  • Assignee changed from ArgySan to sajolida
  • QA Check set to Ready for QA

Cool, thanks a lot for the patch. I owe you two in depth reviews now (this one and Feature #8416), sorry for the delay.

Regarding your setup, do you know Git? Because if you do and if you are working from Tails you should try the draft instructions on (Feature #9018). If you don’t maybe I should set up blueprints (under https://tails.boum.org/blueprint/) for you to work on your tickets.

#11 Updated by ArgySan 2015-06-09 22:11:43

I’d be lying if I said I knew it well and was just getting around to setting it up, but no… I don’t know Git too well. I’m sure it would simply take some reading and trying to know what to do - just haven’t had any experience with it.

#12 Updated by sajolida 2015-06-16 09:51:15

I will most probably won’t have time to review this in depth again this week. In the meantime, maybe you can rework the markdown on this blueprint: https://tails.boum.org/blueprint/blueprint/doc/screenshots and probably edit your text once or twice to the light of the comments I made on https://labs.riseup.net/code/issues/8416#note-6.

#13 Updated by sajolida 2015-07-04 07:28:04

  • Assignee changed from sajolida to ArgySan
  • QA Check changed from Ready for QA to Dev Needed
  • Feature Branch set to https://tails.boum.org/doc/screenshots

Thanks for working on this and sorry for the late reply.

I think that most of the information is there on your draft but you’ll find below some comments on improving it further. Please correct it directly on the blueprint I created for you on https://tails.boum.org/doc/screenshots.

  • It’s both good and useful to refer to the GNOME Documentation Style Guide and other parts of our documentation to know how we build common structures. For example to open an application we say “Choose Applications > Accessories > Screenshot”. Using the same style and terminology makes it easier for people to understand that we are talking about similar actions as they’ve already performed.
  • I think your page would be good enough without listing the different features and options of GNOME Screenshot. People willing to take a screenshot can figure this out by themselves from the interface. We should focus on what is relevant and specific in the context of Tails and refrain ourselves from rewriting what belongs to upstream documentation. The shorter, the better, always. The same goes for the saving of screenshots when using the interface, people are taken through this so there’s no need to explain it.
  • I like the idea of mentioning the Print Screen key after the main interface because it is somehow harder to manipulate (you don’t see all the options, you don’t choose the saving path, etc.). Still, what about mentioning the Print Screen only and refer to the GNOME help (Help button in the main interface) to learn about other shortcuts and tips. Also refer to the GNOME Style Guide to see how they refer to keyboard keys.
  • You should also find a title for your page. Refer to our other pages to see how we do that usually.
  • Also think about where to integrate this in the bug reporting instructions because actually this is where this is most relevant in the context of Tails. There we should also mention the limitation of WhisperBack which doesn’t allow to attach screenshots. Maybe link to Feature #8660. Also think about what to propose as an alternative until WhisperBack allows attaching screenshots.

Good luck with all that!

#14 Updated by BitingBird 2015-07-04 08:41:57

  • Status changed from Confirmed to In Progress

#15 Updated by elouann 2015-07-24 08:27:55

There is a mistake in the URL, the right one is https://tails.boum.org/blueprint/doc/screenshots/

#16 Updated by sajolida 2015-07-28 07:10:03

  • Feature Branch changed from https://tails.boum.org/doc/screenshots to https://tails.boum.org/blueprint/doc/screenshots/

#17 Updated by BitingBird 2016-06-29 05:41:10

  • Start date deleted (2015-01-10)
  • Estimated time deleted (1 h)

ArgySan, are you still interested in working on this?

#18 Updated by sajolida 2016-07-02 10:15:38

  • Assignee changed from ArgySan to sajolida
  • QA Check changed from Dev Needed to Ready for QA

I’ll take it over as I’m not sure now that this deserves a dedicated page…

#19 Updated by spriver 2016-07-02 10:20:56

sajolida wrote:
> I’ll take it over as I’m not sure now that this deserves a dedicated page…

I’m in favor of not having a seperate page for an explanation on how to take a screenshot.Maybe an own section in doc/first_steps/introduction_to_gnome_and_the_tails_desktop would be sufficient?

#20 Updated by sajolida 2016-07-21 09:34:46

  • Status changed from In Progress to Confirmed
  • Assignee deleted (sajolida)
  • QA Check deleted (Ready for QA)
  • Feature Branch deleted (https://tails.boum.org/blueprint/doc/screenshots/)
  • Affected tool set to WhisperBack

Actually, I’m sorry if I’m changing my mind here but I don’t think that this deserves either a dedicate page or a section in introduction_to_gnome_and_the_tails_desktop, for the reasons already mentioned here: the Print Screen key works as expected, there’s an entry in the Utilities submenu for Screenshot, I know people who are more used to take screenhots in GIMP, etc.

I think this should rather be integrated in the WhisperBack documentation once WB allows attaching screenshots (Feature #8660) which is the part that is still relevant from the ticket description.

So I’m moving this as a subtask of Feature #8660 and deassigning it to me.

#21 Updated by sajolida 2016-11-04 14:26:58

  • related to deleted (Feature #8660: Add an option to attach screenshots to WhisperBack reports)

#22 Updated by sajolida 2016-11-04 14:27:03

#23 Updated by Anonymous 2017-06-30 14:24:13

  • related to Feature #12723: GNOME screencast feature stops after 30s added

#24 Updated by sajolida 2019-08-28 14:17:11

  • blocks Feature #16711: Core work 2019Q3 → 2019Q4: Technical writing added

#25 Updated by cbrownstein 2019-11-22 08:07:12

  • Assignee set to cbrownstein

#26 Updated by sajolida 2020-01-05 16:26:02

  • blocks Feature #17247: Core work 2020Q1 → 2020Q2: Technical writing added

#27 Updated by sajolida 2020-01-05 16:26:10

  • blocked by deleted (Feature #16711: Core work 2019Q3 → 2019Q4: Technical writing)

#28 Updated by cbrownstein 2020-05-16 22:25:44

  • Status changed from Confirmed to Needs Validation
  • Assignee changed from cbrownstein to sajolida

Here’s a branch:


AFAICT from reviewing Feature #8660, it appears WhisperBack still doesn’t have the option to attach a screenshot.

@sajolida: In Feature #8666#note-20 you stated that you think these instructions should be integrated in the WhisperBack doc. Do you still think this?