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The Best Way to Organize Screenshots on Your Mac

What a nice Desktop to start the day off right…

So, as you can see, I’ve recently taken a lot of screenshots. They are all on my Desktop. They are in a nice grid. But however nice it looks, the truth remains that there is no way I can find what I need later.

There are a lot of apps out there that organize your screenshots, but I prefer to download as little apps as possible (and save money). In this article, I’ll show you how to - without installing anything- into something that looks like this:

Cool, looks just like the Downloads icon!
  1. Create a new folder in your Desktop named “Screenshots” (or whatever you want).

2. Press Command+ Shift + 5. Then, click “Options” and then “Other Location”.

3. Select the folder that you created. Then click “Choose”.

4. After that, press Esc on your keyboard to exit Screenshot Settings. From now on, every screenshot you take will be saved to that folder instead of your Desktop! Now let’s do some further customization:

5. Open Finder, and find the folder that you created. Drag it into your dock, to the right of the black line, like this:

This is what your dock should look like.

6. From now on, I’m going to refer to that folder as the “Screenshots folder in the dock”.

Right-click on the “Screenshots folder in the dock”, and under , select “Fan”. Then, under ”, click “Date Modified”.

7. Great! Now, try taking some screenshots. Remember, the shortcut is

  • Command + Shift + 4 to take a screenshot of a portion of your screen
  • Command + Shift + 3 to take a screenshot of your entire screen

After that, try clicking on the “Screenshots folder in the dock”. Once you’ve taken a screenshot, the icon should change from a blue folder to an image of the screenshot. When you click it, it opens up just like the Downloads icon!

Yay! Looks great!

8. Now, here’s the final thing, just for fun. By default, screenshots are named like “Screen Shot 2020–2–08 at 2.08.18 PM”. You can change it to something like: “Shot 2020–2–08 at 2.08.18 PM”. Here is how you do it:

9. Launch Terminal. If you don’t know where it is, press Command + Space and type in “terminal”. Your screen should look something like this:

Don’t worry if the background or whatever is a different color (My terminal is heavily customized)

10. Paste in defaults write com.apple.screencapture name “Whatever Name You Want”, except replace “Whatever Name You Want” with the name that you want (e.g. "Shot"). Then press Enter.

11. Then, paste in killall SystemUIServer, and press Enter. Your terminal should look like this:

12. That’s it! Try taking some screenshots to test it out. Unfortunately, in MacOS Catalina, System Integrity Protection (SIP) is enabled by default and you can only change the beginning of the screenshot name. Correct me if I am wrong, but that means you can’t rename screenshots to something like “SS 2.08.20 2 pm” by default. Of course, you can disable SIP, but that is very advanced and you could risk damaging you computer.

Enjoy your new method of organizing screenshots! What’s really cool is that you can drag-and-drop right from the “Screenshots folder in the dock” to whatever text editor you like to work on:

Hopefully this 4-minute read didn’t waste too much of your time. Imagine downloading a Screenshot app, paying a couple bucks, then setting it up…

WWDC21 Scholar. I like to read manga and write about Swift. Check out my app, Find — look for text in real life, with outrageous speed. getfind.app