The other day, when working with Debian on another cell phone, I was in need of a screenshot tool. A quick search online revealed several screenshot tools, like scrot and others, but also revealed one that was already loaded on Debian.  I didn’t want to have to stop what I was doing to download another program. apparently, they wanted a way to create screen “dumps” as soon as they made the x window system, and one of the ways they did that was by creating xwd (x window dump).

You can check, but unless you are reading this as text, you have some sort of window manager that ultimately links back and through x11. One of the installed packages with x11 is x11-apps, which includes xwd and xwud (x window un-dump).


$ xwd –help
usage: xwd [-display host:dpy] [-debug] [-help] [{-root|-id |-name }] [-nobdrs] [-out ] [-xy] [-add value] [-frame]

To take a screen shot:

$ xwd -out screenshot.xwd

You will now have a funny plus sign for a pointer. Whatever you click on will now be “dumped” or captured. If you click on a specific window, only that will be captured. If you click on the desktop, the whole screen will be captured.

While I figured out how to take the shot in about 30 seconds of reading the man pages, it took considerably longer to figure out how to display it.

As it turns out, the xwd file is readable by gimp. So that makes it easy. A quick search online, however, did not reveal how to use the xwud to display the picture. It was actually a case of missing the obvious on my part, so I will share it here for others who may have missed it:

$ xwud –help
usage: xwud [-in ] [-noclick] [-geometry ] [-display ]
[-new] [-std ] [-raw] [-vis ]
[-help] [-rv] [-plane ] [-fg ] [-bg ]

$xwud -in screenshot.xwd

Yes, it’s that simple. I guess that is why I missed it. A window will now pop up displaying your screenshot. Nice, simple, and already installed!

Linux – keep it simple.

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