slop (Select Operation) is an application that querys for a selection from the user and prints the region to stdout. It grabs the mouse and turns it into a crosshair, lets the user click and drag to make a selection (or click on a window) while drawing a pretty box around it, then finally prints the selection's dimensions to stdout.


Practical applications

slop can be used to create a video recording script in only two lines of code.

eval `slop`
ffmpeg -f x11grab -s "$W"x"$H" -i :0.0+$X,$Y -f alsa -i pulse ~/myfile.webm

slop lets you select a region or window and ffmpeg will record it in the format of your choice! Combined with keybinds and a server on your filesystem you can make a really neat and unobtrusive screenshooter.

You can also take images using imagemagick like so:

eval `slop`
import -window root -crop $G ~/myimage.png

If you don't like ImageMagick's import: Check out maim for a better screenshot utility.

You can see my implementation of slop in a screenshooter here:

For those of you who don't want eval to be an integral part of slop (Could be dangerous if I were evil!): You can change the output format and parse it manually like so:

slopoutput=$(slop -f "%x %y %w %h %g $i")
X=$(echo $slopoutput | awk '{print $1}')
Y=$(echo $slopoutput | awk '{print $2}')
W=$(echo $slopoutput | awk '{print $3}')
H=$(echo $slopoutput | awk '{print $4}')
G=$(echo $slopoutput | awk '{print $5}')
ID=$(echo $slopoutput | awk '{print $6}')
maim -g $G -i $ID
ffmpeg -f x11grab -s "$W"x"$H" -i :0.0+$X,$Y -f alsa -i pulse ~/myfile.webm

Lets see some action

Ok. Here's a comparison between 'scrot -s's selection and slop's: scrotbad slopgood

You can see scrot leaves garbage lines over the things you're trying to screenshot! While slop not only looks nicer, it's impossible for it to end up in screenshots or recordings because it waits for DestroyNotify events before completely shutting down. Only after the window is completely destroyed can anything take a screenshot.

how to install

Install using your Package Manager (Preferred)

Install using CMake (Requires CMake)

Note: Dependencies should be installed first: libXext.

git clone
cd slop
cmake ./
make && sudo make install

Make sure to check out and install maim too if you want a proper screenshot utility.


slop v4.1.15

Copyright (C) 2014 Dalton Nell, Slop Contributors

Usage: slop [options]

slop (Select Operation) is an application that queries for a selection from the
user and prints the region to stdout.

  -h, --help                    Print help and exit
  -V, --version                 Print version and exit
                                Sets the x display.
      --nokeyboard              Disables the ability to cancel selections with
                                  the keyboard.  (default=off)
  -b, --bordersize=INT          Set the selection rectangle's thickness. Does
                                  nothing when --highlight is enabled.
  -p, --padding=INT             Set the padding size of the selection. Can be
                                  negative.  (default=`0')
  -t, --tolerance=INT           How far in pixels the mouse can move after
                                  clicking and still be detected as a normal
                                  click instead of a click and drag. Setting
                                  this to 0 will disable window selections.
  -g, --gracetime=FLOAT         Set the amount of time before slop will check
                                  for keyboard cancellations in seconds.
                                Set the selection rectangle's color. Supports
                                  RGB or RGBA values.
  -n, --nodecorations           Attempt to select child windows in order to
                                  avoid window decorations.  (default=off)
      --min=INT                 Set the minimum output of width or height
                                  values. This is useful to avoid outputting 0.
                                  Setting min and max to the same value
                                  disables drag selections.  (default=`0')
      --max=INT                 Set the maximum output of width or height
                                  values. Setting min and max to the same value
                                  disables drag selections.  (default=`0')
  -l, --highlight               Instead of outlining selections, slop
                                  highlights it. This is only useful when
                                  --color is set to a transparent color.
  -f, --format=STRING           Set the output format string. Format specifiers
                                  are %x, %y, %w, %h, %i, %g, and %c.

    $ # Gray, thick, transparent border for maximum visiblity.
    $ slop -b 20 -c 0.5,0.5,0.5,0.8

    $ # Remove window decorations.
    $ slop --nodecorations

    $ # Disable window selections. Useful for selecting individual pixels.
    $ slop -t 0

    $ # Classic Windows XP selection.
    $ slop -l -c 0.3,0.4,0.6,0.4

    $ # Change output format to use safer parsing
    $ slopoutput=$(slop -f "%x %y %w %h")
    $ X=$(echo $slopoutput | awk '{print $1}')
    $ Y=$(echo $slopoutput | awk '{print $2}')
    $ W=$(echo $slopoutput | awk '{print $3}')
    $ H=$(echo $slopoutput | awk '{print $4}')

    * You can use the arrow keys to move the starting point of a
drag-selection, just in case you missed it by a few pixels.
    * If you don't like a selection: you can cancel it by right-clicking
regardless of which options are enabled or disabled for slop.
    * If slop doesn't seem to select a window accurately, the problem could be
because of decorations getting in the way. Try enabling the --nodecorations

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