Presentation [3]
Current Features [4]
Current Supported Platforms [5]
Known limitations [6]
Downloads [7]
Todo list [8]
Contacts [9]
Support [10]
Snapshots [11]
Usage [12]
Available command line arguments [13]
Available annotation items [14]
Tips [15]
Post effects [16]
Faq [17]


Hotshots is a screenshot tool with some editing features. It is particularly suitable for writing documentation (as used in the following chapters) but you can use it to highlight some details on a map image or what ever you want.
Because HotShots is written with Qt, it runs on Windows and Linux (MacOSX isn't tested yet).
Why this name, Hotshots ? Firstly, I'm a fan of Jim Abrahams's film and my second choice was Screen'n Shot but I'm not sure the pun will be perenne.

Current Features

Current Supported Platforms

Known limitations

There are some problems to grab desktop on Linux running in VirtualBox with 3D acceleration enable, not resolved yet (verified on Ubuntu and ArchLinux).
Some keyboard shortcuts on editor can interact with window manager on linux, because of the multitude of possible configurations, these interactions must be set on a case by case basis.
System "print-screen" shortcuts can't be used as global shotcuts because they are catched at a system level.


HotShots is available on SourceForge [18] in setup.exe for windows (as a simple "portable" archive) and source archive for other platforms (qmake and cmake configurations included).

[19]HotShots Download [20] HotShots review [21]

To-do list


If you have suggestions, problems or questions about this tool, you can:

Don't hesitate to send me your creation, I will create a specific gallery for that soon.

If you want to help with translation, you can send me the translated Qt Linguist file (*.ts) or use the Transifex website (you need to create a free account as translator).


If you find this tool helpful and want support its development, you can pay what you want.

Your donation


Main Interface

Editor Interface

Snapshot parameters panel


HotShots isn't very complicated but you can find here some explanations about the interface.
The main interface is shown below with:
  1. This area displays the current screenshot.
  2. Take a screenshot according to (10) choice.
  3. Take a screenshot from all screen, current screen, window, rectangular or freehand region. For the rectangular and freehand region types, the previous selection are automatically displayed by default.
  4. Open the setting panel.
  5. Save the screenshot as image (PNG, JPG, BMP, ...).
  6. Upload the current screenshot to the web (with the default service set in the parameters panel).
  7. Send image to the printer.
  8. Copy the current screenshot to clipboard.
  9. Launch the editor with the current screenshot.
  10. Change the default output path.
  11. Change the default screenshot mode (see (2)).
  12. Delay in second between action and effective screen capture.
  13. Action perform after screen capture like saving or launch editor.
  14. The upload URL will appear here when upload is successful 
  15. The Quit button. Caution, this tool is designed to work as a background task available in the system tray so to minimize it use the close button of the window manager, not the quit button !

Main Interface description
The snapshot parameters panel is shown below with parameters like:
  1. Automatic hiding of HotShots during screenshot.
  2. Automatic copy of current image into the clipboard after screenshot.
  3. Force background color (avoid transparency) for clipboard copy or web upload
  4. Background color to avoid transparency
  5. Parameters used to set file name for automatic save (if needed)
  6. Play a sound when screenshot or upload to the web is finished.
  7. Default screenshot file name.
  8. Post-effect applied to screenshot (none, drop shadow, border, torn edges...)
  9. Rotation applied to screenshot.
  10. For window grabbing, enable/disable window decoration capture
  11. Snapshot delay: same delay as in the main interface
  12. Scale applied to screenshot. You can choose between a systematic resizing (in %) or a maximum size.

The parameters panel
The network panel is shown below with:
  1. The default upload service. Currently, you have the choice between a FTP server and three web service (Imageshack, Imgur, FreeImageHosting, ...).
  2. You can show a short dialog with the selected web service before starting upload.
  3. You can also display a short dialog after the download (some services are a bit long)
  4. Launch the default Internet browser on the uploaded URL when done
  5. Automatic copy of the uploaded URL to the clipboard when upload is finished and accepted by the remote service.
  6. Format of the URL. You have the choice between the direct URL and a BBCode, HTML, IM format. You can also select a user format given in (4)
  7. User format if selected (Must contain @url@).
  8. Proxy configuration (Not yet available)

The network panel

The uploaders panel allows user to set specific parameters for each available transfer service. Currently, only the FTP service has accessible parameters.

The uploader parameter panel

The editor interface is shown below with:
  1. Open a HotShots file (.hot) or an image for a new edition.
  2. Create a new HotShots document (clean current edition).
  3. Import image from clipboard. You can also drag&drop an image in the editor.
  4. "Save" and "Save as" edition as .hot file.
  5. Export current edition to the clipboard (you have to take care of transparency support of the external program or fill the background with a default color in the "Preferences").
  6. Export current edition as an image (PNG, JPG, BMP,  ...)
  7. Upload current edition to the web (with the default service set in the parameters panel) (you have to take care of transparency support here).
  8. Zoom handling
  9. Add a post effect to the background image. Caution! You can change the post-effect as you want but only before saving the .hot file. If you save your creation, the effect can't be change after reloading.
  10. Rescale background image. Caution! This operation isn't reversible.
  11. Align selected items. You can align right, left, top, bottom, ... the selected items.
  12. Enable/disable shadow under graphical item.
  13. Push up/down selected items on the heap.
  14. Duplicate current selected elements.
  15. Clear scene
  16. Delete the selected item.
  17. Item selection and creation. You can choose between:
    •  a simple text.
    •  a straight line.
    • a surround shape.
    • a poly-line
    • a polygon
    • a curve
    • a crop tool
    • a rectangle
    • an ellipse
    • an arrow
    • a tag item
    • a highlighting line
    • a magnifier
    • an image
    • a blur item (obfuscate part of the screenshot)
  18. Font manipulation. You can increase/decrease font size or select the current one. These have action on selected tag and text items.
  19. Set the default black/white color or swap the current selected color for background/foreground.
  20. Choose the current background/foreground colors.
  21. Width selector.
  22. Line style selector.
  23. Filling selector (empty, transparent or opaque).
  24. Color selector. Some previously used background/foreground colors.
  25. A short help is displayed for each item.
  26. Mouse position, scale, ...
  27. Send image to printer.

Editor panel

Available command line arguments

Hotshots have some options available with the command line. Following options are known:

Usage: hotshots [options] [file]
--help: displays this help.
--reset-config: clear the saved preference parameters.
--no-singleinstance: enable the use of multiple instance of program (not recommended).
file: file to load in the editor, can be a .hot file or an image file.

Available annotation items

Currently, Hotshots offers 14 different items to annotate an image. There are listed below:
Text item
Line item
Encircle item
Polyline item
Polygon item
Rectangle item
Ellipse item
Arrow item
Curve items
Tag item
Image item
Blur item
Highlight item
Magnifier item


To be defined !!

Post effects

Currently, there is only four post-effects defined. With no post effect, you can have a screenshot like this:

No post effect
The first one is a simple drop shadow like this:

Drop shadow post-effect
The second possible effect is a border with a drop shadow, like this:

Drop shadow with border post-effect
The possible effect is a progressive transparent border like this:

Progressive border effect

Torn edge effect cuts randomly the edge of the screenshot. Caution, this effect is only suitable with rectangular screenshot (result on freehand region can be ugly).

Torn edge effect

Frequently asked questions

- Q: When I copy a screenshot or an annotation into the clipboard, I get a black border when I paste it into my favorite application.
- R: Transparency is not well support by a lot of programs, use "Force background color for clipboard/web services" in the parameter panel and choose a background color.

- Q: When I upload a screenshot or an annotation to my favorite web service, I get a black border when I used the given URL.
- R: Some web services don't support well transparency, use "Force background color for clipboard/web services" in the parameter panel and choose a background color.

- Q: I have lost the main tool bar and I don't known how to restore it.
- R: There is two solutions at your problem. You  can right click on the top of the window (there is a small area between the main panel and the window decorzation) to bring up the menu. You can also use the "--reset-config" as argument of the tool.

- Q: In editor, I can only save in .hot format, not in JPG or PNG.
- R: "Save" and "Save As" functions are only deal with .hot format. To save your creation as an image, you have to "export" it or use clipboad copy.