How I’ve Decluttered Computer Screenshots from My Desktop

This blog will show tips on how to manage screenshots on a Mac. I’m sure you could recreate something similar for Windows and Linux, but I’ll talk about specifics on how to do it forMac

If you are anything like me then your Desktop is full of screenshots. Whether they are screenshots for a technical tutorial I’m writing, screenshots for bug reports, or just something interesting I wanted to share with my friend, my Desktop is always filled with so many screenshots... At first, I would simply go and delete all of the screenshots every few weeks or days, but it got to the point where I needed a better solution for managing all of these screenshots.

When my boss saw that I had a Desktop full of screenshots, he recommended that I create a new folder to save all of my screenshots, instead of saving them to the Desktop which is Mac’s default location. Then with this new folder, put it on my dock right next to the downloads folder. This not only prevents my Desktop from getting cluttered, but it also allows for easy access of the screenshots because they’re stored right in the dock. This was a great start, but I wanted to iterate on it even further.

To set up this screenshots folder, you can just open the terminal and type the following commands:

$ mkdir Documents/Screenshots
$ defaults write location /Users/{your username}/Documents/Screenshots
$ killall SystemUIServer

Once this is done, simply drag the folder into your Dock for easy access.

This was a great first step in improving my screenshot management, but I wanted to take it a step further. So now comes step two in my screenshot management techniques.

A few years ago, my friend told me about how he set his screenshot folder destination to the /tmp folder. If you don’t know what the /tmp folder is I’ll briefly explain. As the name implies, it is simply a folder where files that are only supposed to be stored temporarily can be saved. Many applications will use this to help save space on your computer. What this means is that every time your computer is rebooted, the entire contents of the /tmp folder are deleted. For my friend, this meant that every time he rebooted his computer, all of his screenshots would automatically be cleaned from his computer too.

I decided I want to use this same idea, but with my newly created Screenshots folder instead. To start, I decided to delete everything in this folder every day at 1:00am. This ended up being too often because there were some days where I needed a screenshot from the day before. So instead, I decided to delete the contents of the folder every Monday at 1:00 am. To do this, just open up the terminal and type:

$ crontab -e

Then, enter in the following into your crontab file:

0    1       *       1      *       rm /Users/{username}/Documents/Screenshots/*

Pro tip: If you receive an error like ‘crontab: no crontab for {username} — using an empty one’ you may just need to just press enter after the line copied above

A cronjob is just a piece of code that is scheduled to run on a consistent time schedule. (i.e. a program that needs to run every day at 1 am, every 15th of the month at 3:30, every hour, etc.). The format of a crontab file is:

* * * * * * {command to run}
| | | | | |
| | | | | +-- Year (range: 1900-3000)
| | | | +---- Day of the Week (range: 1-7, 1 standing for Monday)
| | | +------ Month of the Year (range: 1-12)
| | +-------- Day of the Month (range: 1-31)
| +---------- Hour (range: 0-23)
+------------ Minute (range: 0-59)


So that’s it, that’s how I expertly manage all of the annoying screenshots that are stored on my computer! If this was helpful for you, or you have any other productivity hacks, definitely leave a comment down below!

Current: Head of Sales Engineering RapidAPI. Former: Head of Developer Relations RapidAPI, Founder of HackCU. Part-time adventurer, full-time hooligan

Current: Head of Sales Engineering RapidAPI. Former: Head of Developer Relations RapidAPI, Founder of HackCU. Part-time adventurer, full-time hooligan