How to take 16:9 Screenshots

A few people contacted me after discovering that screenshots should be taken in a 16:9 aspect ratio. The question was basically, how do I do that?

After trying to do this myself for my applications, I too discovered it’s hard. The wmctrl command doesn’t seem to play very nicely with CSD, and certainly won’t work in wayland. So, Owen Taylor (GNOME hacker extraordinaire) to the rescue.

Owen wrote a GNOME Shell extension (which I’ve modified a little) which resizes the current window to a 16:9 size when you press Ctrl+Alt+S. If you press it again, the window will get larger, to the next recommended 16:9 size. Press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S and the window will get smaller to the previous size. Get the code on github or on I probably need some more testing as well. Patches very welcome if you’re good at shell extensions :)

With this extension installed I was able to screenshot all my applications that I maintain in no time at all. I’ve been uploading the screenshots into ${projects}/data/appdata and referencing the URL in the AppData file so anyone can easily update them when the code changes, but this is completely up to you.

6 responses to “How to take 16:9 Screenshots”

  1. kparal

    I don’t understand this. The aspect ratio can be recommended, but why should anyone _crop_ images to fit the ratio? It doesn’t make sense for certain applications. For example an old game might support just 1024×768, nothing else. If this case, the image should be provided as it is, in 1024×768. Why would you want to crop it (and possibly lose some important UI elements)?

  2. kparal

    By the way, your gedit screenshot looks quite weird in 16:9. I wouldn’t mind at all if the window was more naturally sized, i.e. the way you really are likely to use it (probably slightly higher than wider). GNOME Software can simply draw transparent borders around the image to fill the available space when rendering it, can’t it?

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