A simple Imgur Bash screenshot utility

I use screenshots a lot, every day. Mostly when I do instant messaging, they can usually help explain something much quicker than anything else. It’s rare that I edit the screenshot, and in these rare occasions, it doesn’t bother me all that much having to fire up Pinta or Gimp—to make these small changes.


shoot’s dependencies are:

  • curl
  • grep
  • scrot
  • xclip
  • libnotify (optional)

You probably have those already, if not, install them via your package manager.

curl http://sirupsen.com/static/misc/shoot > ~/bin/shoot && chmod 755 ~/bin/shoot

Assuming ~/bin is in your $PATH, you’re ready to shoot:

$ shoot
$ xclip -selection c -o

I recommend that you bind the script to a key, so you can easily activate it.

Coming up with the script

The functionality needed, came down to this:

  • Select region and take screenshot of this region
  • Upload screenshot to Imgur
  • Put direct link to screenshot into the clipboard

Taking a screenshot of a specified region is quite easy with scrot:

scrot -s

Then using curl to upload the picture, via the Imgur API:

curl -s -F "image=@$1" -F "key=api-key" \

This returns some XML containing, among other things, the direct URL to the uploaded screenshot, which we extract from the returned XML with a simple regex:

grep -E -o "<original_image>(.)*</original_image>" | \
  grep -E -o "http://i.imgur.com/[^<]*"

Now we have the direct link, and then it’s simply a matter of putting this all into the clipboard with xclip:

xclip -selection c

Now this is optional, but quite handy. It uses libnotify to notify you when the image is uploaded, and ready to be pasted:

notify-send "Clipboard ready!"

The script

And I compiled all this into this simple script (I’m aware that this can be a one-liner and everything but this just seems more readable and works. If you have a better solution, be sure to contact me!):

function uploadImage {
  curl -s -F "image=@$1" -F "key=486690f872c678126a2c09a9e196ce1b" https://imgur.com/api/upload.xml | grep -E -o "<original_image>(.)*</original_image>" | grep -E -o "http://i.imgur.com/[^<]*"

scrot -s "shot.png" 
uploadImage "shot.png" | xclip -selection c
rm "shot.png"
notify-send "Done"

That’s it. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

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