How to Set a Folder to Save Screen Shots on Mac

Whenever you take the screen shots on Mac it directly save those on desktop. This would be better if you specify a  folder on Mac to automatically save the screen shots because in that way it’ll be easy to organize them. So, if you want to change the default storage location, which is the desktop on Mac for screen shots then follow these steps to do so.

See also: How to capture screen shots on Mac

Step 1

Click on Finder


Step 2

Navigate to Utilities folder and click on Terminal icon to launch it


Step 3

Type the following command in Terminal and press enter button to execute. You have to specify username and foldername in command according to your Mac settings and most importantly do not use space in folder name otherwise command will not provide the required results

defaults write location /Users/username/desktop/foldername


where: mac09  = mac user name & twscreenshots = specified folder on desktop

Step 4

Now, type and execute another command in Terminal
killall SystemUIServer


Close the Terminal window, the default location to save the screen shots has been replaced by the new specified folder

46 comments… add one
Jootoo September 27, 2009, 12:42 pm

I was just wondering that how to change the default location to save screenshots on mac, thanx for this

inds September 30, 2009, 10:28 am

I want to say – thank you for this!

Rukh October 1, 2009, 11:59 am

that’s right, when you take screen shots on mac they all store on desktop and create a mess. Nice tip to set a folder to save them all

Gob October 2, 2009, 7:13 pm

nice tip, Is there any separate program available to capture screens in mac?

trickYguY October 9, 2009, 5:19 am

Whydo you need a separate program for screen capture only. I think built-in screen capture shortcuts are enough to capture screen shots of Dialogs, region, icons etc.

Roma October 3, 2009, 5:43 pm

Thanks neMo

Roberto October 4, 2009, 5:31 am

cool blog

dinga October 4, 2009, 12:50 pm

I bookmarked this link. Thank you for good job!

Chun October 13, 2009, 1:52 pm

Yes, built-in functinality is eniugh to take screen shots

Nono October 17, 2009, 3:03 pm

Mac default screenshot taking feature works nice and especially your this informative writing adds value to that

phein October 19, 2009, 2:28 am


Mats Wiklund October 26, 2009, 10:48 am

thanks for Mac article

Ulf October 28, 2009, 12:25 pm

great work all the time I have problems while taking screen shots on mac

marcus 7 October 28, 2009, 5:33 pm

you people are doing nice work

Rangle December 14, 2011, 9:35 pm

That’s a posting full of insight!

Yebi October 30, 2009, 6:29 pm

thanks a lot really helped me out to change the default location of screen shots to save in mac

Asao November 4, 2009, 6:37 am

I was really wondering about this mac screenshot problem thanks for this knowledgeable work

Paul Johannesson November 7, 2009, 6:03 am

Nice mac work

Nummer 12 November 15, 2009, 1:32 pm

nice Mac OS tips

Harlad December 17, 2009, 4:06 pm

this was really a problem for me that screen shots came directly to desktop where already i have a lot of stuff. After reading your article I fixed a folder for screen shots on mac.

ular.padat April 30, 2010, 9:50 am

Didn’t work. I did exactly what you told. Below is what I typed.

defaults write location/Users/my mac/desktop/screen cap

I tried it 4 times and still doesn’t work. Did I type it wrong or what?

Thanks in advance 🙂

trickYguY May 1, 2010, 4:29 am

Don’t use space in folder name that you use to store screen shots. You are using “screen cap”, so remove space, you can use “_” or “-” instead of space in folder name.

Create a folder with name like “screen_cap” on your desktop then run the command from terminal.

Command Syntax:
defaults write location /Users/username/desktop/twscreenshots

username = Your Mac Username
twscreenshots = Folder name that you want to use for screenshots

Feel free and reply if you still have any problem with command, Thanks.

ular.padat December 15, 2011, 4:02 pm

Thanks man. It works like a charm!

jaimee January 10, 2013, 1:37 am

It didn’t work for me either, there was a step missing. To create the folder on the desktop. Got it now. Thank you!

Polka 95 May 4, 2010, 4:10 pm

thanks for this mac tip it works perfect

garra May 17, 2010, 4:01 am

Well written and its easy to set folder for screenshots, thanks

anders January 21, 2011, 3:33 pm

exactly what I was looking for!
works perfectly!

Jennifer March 10, 2011, 10:17 pm

Thank you for making this so easy!

CJ April 15, 2011, 7:10 pm

For some reason I can’t get this to work for me. I followed the directions thoroughly, didn’t include any spaces in my folder name (defaults write location /Users/CJ/Desktop/Screenshots) Also restarted my computer and everything keeps going to my desktop.

CJ April 15, 2011, 7:13 pm

Nevermind. I was using a mouse shortcut to select screen captures, which is actually “Region capture”. When I used the default OS X screencap settings it worked fine.

cyberante April 20, 2011, 4:18 am

Bless you!

afsdf May 11, 2012, 12:14 am


maverickny June 7, 2012, 1:51 am

Does this work in Lion? When I typed:

defaults write location /Users/sally/desktop/screenshots

and followed the instructions nothing happens – the screenshot stays on the desktop. Any tips for fixing this?

Lyn December 5, 2012, 9:06 pm

Same for me. 🙁

hen path October 5, 2012, 12:27 pm

Thanks, this works for me in my Mountain Lion OS.

Lyn December 5, 2012, 9:05 pm

I can not get it to work… and I’ve tried many times. What am I doing wrong?

Steve January 26, 2013, 7:45 am

Thank you, sir. It really did help a lot.

Rich March 25, 2014, 4:39 am

I have done this before, but for some unknown reason it rerouted to an old folder path I had set up. I had to look up how I did it which lead me here and now it will not work – defaults write location /User/RichRusset/desktop/screencapture

chuks November 23, 2016, 10:33 pm


Dave March 13, 2019, 6:34 pm

Thanks for the awesome ‘eli5’! Worked flawlessly for me as of 3/13/19 running Mojave 10.14.3! Thanks again ???

beleszove June 24, 2020, 8:49 am

tried this several times and didn’t work for me

TrickyWays June 27, 2020, 12:55 am

It should work, please tell me which OS version you have installed on your Mac.

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