Welcome to the TechSmith Blog

Tips, trends, and strategies to help you share your expertise with visuals and video

How to Record Your Screen (On Windows and Mac)

Learn how to record your desktop screen with Snagit and Camtasia.

how to record your screen hero

Imagine you need to show someone how to log in to an online account or how to use a feature in a product. You could write out an email. Or you could capture your screen and take a few screenshots.

But best of all might be recording your screen.

When you record your screen you can include typing the address into your browser and show all your mouse movements and clicks to let people see exactly where to go and how to get there.

You can include video and audio when you record your screen too. Use microphone audio to narrate your video from your computer’s built-in microphone or an external mic.

You can also record your system audio (that’s the sound that comes out of your speakers).

If you’re comparing different screen recording tools, make sure you get a screen recorder with sound recording options built-in.

Screen recording, also known as a screencast, is perfect or creating tutorials, product demos, how-to videos, and other instructional videos. You can even record games or record presentations, or make a YouTube video.

For short, quick recordings

Short, simple recordings that won’t require much editing can be done with something like Snagit (which is what I use most of the time).

Jump to Snagit recording instructions

For longer, edited recordings

For longer or more complex recordings that may need more editing, something like Camtasia will be better. Camtasia even allows you to enhance the video by zooming in on areas of emphasis, highlighting your mouse clicks, adding text or graphic call-outs and more.

Jump to Camtasia recording instructions

Record your screen today!

Download one of our free screen recorder trials to quickly and easily record your computer screen.

Download a free trial

Choose the screen recording software you’ll use. As noted above, Snagit is great for simple, short desktop recordings, while something like Camtasia might be better for longer, more complex jobs.

However, recordings made with Snagit can be easily shared with Camtasia and assembled into longer, more complex videos there.

Today, I’ll show you how to record your screen on Windows and Mac with Snagit for simple recordings, and Camtasia for more polished videos.

How to record your desktop screen with Snagit (For screen recordings with minor editing)

Snagit is great for screenshots and quick and easy screen recordings. It’s perfect for when you want videos that look great, but don’t take hours of editing time.

Here’s how to do it.

how to record screen with Snagit interface

Step 1: Choose what you want to record

First, select the video tab from the Capture Window and make sure Region is selected from the drop-down.

Then, hit the big red record icon.

The Snagit crosshairs appear. Use them to select an area to record.

The selection snaps to the windows you have open…pretty sweet huh?

how to record screen audio with Snagit interface

Step 2: Record your audio

With your region selected, it’s time to make some audio decisions.

To record your voice, select the microphone. And if you want to record the sounds that come from your computer, like the beeps and boops you hear, select this option.

When you’re ready, click record and Snagit counts down. Now, anything that appears in the recording area is captured.

If you want your viewers to see your beautiful face, click the webcam button to toggle between recording your webcam or your screen. When finished, click the pause button to bring up the recording controls

Then click stop.

how to record screen and trim your video with Snagit interface

Step 3: Trim your video

Your video appears right on the canvas, in the tray below and is ready to share.

No waiting for rendering. No waiting for that loading bar. The video is ready to go.

Once you’re finished recording, you’ll probably want to edit it a little. Even the most carefully planned recordings will have something you want to cut out. With Snagit, you can easily trim your recording to remove unwanted pieces.

If you find mistakes or parts you want to remove, make a selection with the playhead, and click cut.

If you’re looking for in-depth, super-powered video editing, Snagit might not be the tool for you (Check out the Camtasia section below).

Snagit is simple, gets the job done and is easy-to-use.

how to record screen and save your video with Snagit interface

Step 4: Save or share

When you’re finished with your video, click Share and choose the option that’s best for you. If you’re not sure what to choose, we recommend Screencast.

You get an easily shareable link that you can paste in an email, slack channel or wherever. (Plus, it’s free!)

If you do want to dive deep into editing your videos or want to create a more high-quality video, we recommend Camtasia, the best all-in-one screen recording and video editing software.

How to record your desktop screen with Camtasia (For polished, professional-quality screen recordings)

Step 1: Choose your recording options

To start a recording after you open Camtasia, click the Record button at the top of the tools panel.

This opens the Camtasia recorder, which by default, is set to capture everything that happens on your screen. This is essentially the control center for your screen and audio recordings.

The Camtasia recorder allows you to customize the controls for your recording.

how to record screen with Camtasia interface

Step 2: Choose the region you want to record

Start by selecting a recording area that only includes the relevant screen content you want to record.

For some things, it may make sense to record your entire screen. However, if you’re only showing the steps necessary for a particular piece of software or where to click on a website, you may want to choose to record only that window (or a portion of it), rather than the entire desktop.

You can choose to record the full screen or select a custom region to record.

Note: If you’re doing a full-screen recording, it’s a good idea to clean up your desktop a bit so that it’s not too cluttered or so you’re not revealing anything you might not want the whole world (or at least your customers or colleagues) to see.
how to record screen with audio with Camtasia interface

Step 3: Record your desktop with audio (if you want to)

If you’re narrating your recording, having a script or at least some talking points is a good idea to ensure you say what you want to say in the way you want to say it.

But for now, just choose which microphone you want to record from or choose to record the system audio from your computer.

Step 4: Edit your video

Camtasia comes with a built-in video editor and it takes just a few steps and some simple video editing tips.

To start, cut out mistakes by selecting them with the playhead, then clicking cut. To trim extra footage from the ends or your recording, drag the end of the clip in.

Editing In-Depth | Camtasia | TechSmith

When you finish editing the video, add your audio narration. With your narration on the timeline, you can use clip speed and extend frame to sync the audio and video in your project.

Ripple Move & Extend Frame | Camtasia | TechSmith

Here are a few examples of simple edits:

  • If you need more time to explain a concept split the clip and use extend frame to essentially freeze the video.
  • To speed up a boring part of your recording, add clip speed, then drag the handles to speed it up.
  • Or to focus your viewer’s attention, use animations to zoom in on the important parts.

Step 5: Produce and share

Finally, think about where your video will live. There are many video hosting options to choose from these days. You can share your video to an online video platform like YouTube, Vimeo, or Screencast, or you can choose to save the video as a local file. You can also share directly to your favorite social media site.

We’ve found that most of our users like to store finished videos on YouTube, especially for external videos. There are many great reasons to put your education and learning videos on YouTube.

🎥Free Guide: We also have a free guide, if you want to learn our exact tips and tricks on how to make a YouTube video.

BONUS TIPS!

  • Camtasia’s advanced (but SUPER-easy-to-use) video editing capabilities allow you to add audio tracks after you record your screen. Whether you want to record your narration after the fact or want to add some music, you can do it!
  • Be prepared to record your screen a time or two to get what you want. Almost everyone messes something up along the way. But recording your screen is so easy, it won’t matter if you have to do it again.
  • Don’t get TOO hung up on making everything perfect. If you’re demonstrating a process, make sure the steps are clear and easy to follow. If you’re narrating, you can decide how many “umms” and “uhs” you can live with. It also depends on your audience.
  • Recordings meant for people outside your company probably need to be more polished than things you’re sending to one of your fellow employees.
  • We also have a full list of screen recording tips that you can use to get the best recordings possible.

Record your screen today!

Download one of our free screen recorder trials to quickly and easily record your computer screen.

Download a free trial

Frequently asked questions

How do I record my computer screen?

Screen recording is pretty simple. Once you have your screen recorder (we like Snagit and Camtasia) it’s as simple as 1. Record 2. Edit 3. Share.

How do I screen record with audio?

To record your voice, select the microphone. And if you want to record the sounds that come from your computer, like the beeps and boops you hear, select system audio option.

How do you record your iPhone screen?

While Snagit and Camtasia can’t record your iPhone screen, TechSmith has a TechSmith Capture app that lets you quickly and easily record your iPhone screen. After you download the app: Step 1. Enable screen recording on your iOS device. Step 2. Set up your screen recorder. Step 3. Record your screen.

How do I record a presentation with narration?

While there are a number of ways to record a presentation, my favorite way to record a high-quality presentation in PowerPoint with audio and video is Camtasia.

Subscribe to TechSmith’s Newsletter

Join over 200,000 people who get actionable tips and expert advice in their inbox every month.

Subscribe