Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I want a screen shot to be saved automatically to a location I specify, as soon as I press the Prt Scr button on my keyboard, or the Alt+Prt Scr combo. I also want the date and time to be used as file name for each new screen shot. And I want the files to be saved as PNG images.

Is there a Windows program that would allow me to do just this? I don't want any other fancy features like editing and making notes, etc. just a plain simple program that will either automatically save the screen shots to a pre-set location or prompt me where I want to save it. I don't want to go through MS Paint to save the shots.

I guess what I'm after is a little bit of Linux behavior of Print Screen, but only for Windows. And I additionally want the files to be named by the date and time they were taken.


Meanwhile, I have found one called Greenshot. But I don't know how to get the file name pattern right.

This is the default pattern.

${capturetime:d"yyyy-MM-dd HH_mm_ss"}-${title}

Can someone explain this? Why do they have the title capturetime and the quotation marks? It produces file names like this.

2013-01-26 15_24_28-Greenshot.png

And this is what it says about the file patterns in the program description.

${YYYY} year, 4 digits
${MM} month, 2 digits
${DD} day, 2 digits
${hh} hour, 2 digits
${mm} minute, 2 digits
${ss} second, 2 digits
${NUM} incremental number, 6 digits
${title} Window title
${user} Windows user
${domain} Windows domain
${hostname} PC name

How do I get files that include year, month and day, separated by a dash, followed by hour, minute and second? I want to include a time for uniqueness of the file name.

share|improve this question
I have been using Greenshot for some time now and I am very happy with it. I got a prompt the other day to download a newer version. I'm glad this software is still maintained and developed. I'm not so sure about that when it comes to FastStone Capture. Apparently this was a favorite among XP users back in the days, but it still works on Vista. I'm not sure it's still maintained though, I wouldn't bet on it. Greenshot suits my need nicely and it's by an independent developer and not backed up by some company. So I'll probably go ahead and make a donation to him. – sammyg Jun 10 '13 at 20:13
I am using ${YYYY}-${MM}-${DD}-${hh}${mm}${ss} for my file name pattern. It produces files with the format "2013-06-10-164737.png". The last part of it is hour, minute and second. And it adds a great level of uniqueness to a file name. There is no chance of producing two files with the identical file names. It's duplicate proofed. – sammyg Jun 10 '13 at 20:15
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Greenshot is a great program!

For the output filename pattern, if you use a pattern of ${YYYY}-${MM}-${DD} ${hh}-${mm}-${ss} then you'll get files with names such as 2013-01-26 10-34-49.png.

I couldn't find any documentation on the capturetime keyword, but it is an advanced function. A pattern of ${capturetime:d"yyyy-MM-dd HH-mm-ss"} produces the same output as above. For the technically inclined, when I look at the source code, this is what I've determined:

  • The letter after the colon needs to be a d which indicates date/time format.
  • After the d, the quoted text is a format string passed into C#'s DateTime.ToString() method. You can find quite a few examples here.

If you need more advanced date formatting such as written out month names, timezones, etc., then you might find benefit of using the above capturetime pattern.

P.S. some older versions of Greenshot used patterns such as %YYYY% instead of ${YYYY}. Be sure to check the file pattern help window so you use the correct format.

share|improve this answer

I use a program named FastStone Capture, and although it is now shareware, you can still find the last freeware version around (google it).

What i like about it is that it has several capturing options, windows, active window, square and freehand regions, etc. And it also gives you options on how save the images, for example, open directly in a builtin editor (where you can obviously edit it, or not, before saving it wherever you want), directly copy to clipboard, to a file, asking for the name, to a file with renaming options (what you want), and even to email and printer (i haven't used those).

For the renaming options, it also gives you wildcarts, the one I use is:


which gives names such as 2012-11-23_163428 which is exactly what you need.

And even if you take several screenshots within a second, you could ad another # wildcard, to add consecutive numbers for otherwise files with the same name.

Also the file type is set on another preference, you can choose jpg, png, bmp...

Give it a try!

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.