GUIDE – Recording What Appears on Your Screen (Making a Screencast)


When you want to record something that appears on your computer screen, you can do that with screen recording tools that work like the video version of taking screenshots. You just click “record” and the app starts recording everything on your screen.

Screencasts are most commonly used to create tutorials that demonstrate how to do things on the computer or the web, but you can use them for a variety of purposes as well. For example, you might make a screencast of a web site in order to discuss its rhetorical effectiveness, perhaps in comparison to a second web site.

You can also make creative videos by recording interesting things on the screen. You can even sometimes record video and audio clips you find on the web but are unable to download, but if you do that, keep in mind that if the material is subject to copyright protection, you won’t be able to include it in a project you then upload to YouTube.


When you launch a screencast app and click “record,” you will be recording whatever appears on your computer screen. Some apps let you draw a box around the portion of the screen you want to record, while others simply record the whole screen.

Most apps let you choose how to record audio. If you plan to speak throughout the screencast, you’ll choose the option of recording audio through a microphone (either the one built-in to the computer or attached). If you want the screencast to capture audio playing on your computer screen, you’ll choose the option of “system audio” (or something along those lines).

When you’re finished recording, you have the option to edit the screencast, if you’d like. Some screencast apps allow you to edit within the app, and others simply save files in a format you can then edit in iMovie or Movie Maker.

If you don’t want to do any editing, or if you’re finished with editing, you’ll then need to create a web-ready version of the screencast. Some apps save the original screencast file in a web-ready format, while others require that you use the export or “share” function to create a web-ready version. Then you can upload that version to your account on YouTube or Vimeo.


See: Web & Desktop Apps for Creating Screencasts


Camtasia Studio for Windows

For instructions on using this app, see the Camtasia Studio for Windows Learning Center. The first few screencasts probably cover everything you need to know to record, save, and export a screencast.

QuickTime X and Camtasia for Mac

Also see other posts in the category: HOW TO: Make Screen Recordings


Save or export the screencast in a web-ready video format (like mov, wmv, m4v, mp4, flv) and then upload it to a video hosting site like YouTube or Vimeo. Then you can embed the video into a blog post or web page. See: How to share a video you created.

Another option is to upload your screencast to Google Docs and share it with others either by putting it in a shared collection or by using the Share button. Google Docs creates a playable version of the video, but it can’t be embedded anywhere.