How to record your computer screen

Need to record something on your computer’s screen? You’ll want a method or tool that makes the process quick and easy. While recording hardware like microphones or webcams  are helpful for recording external subjects, they won’t do much to meet your screen recording needs. Software options, on the other hand, can easily record your screen. In this guide, we’ll show you how to record your computer screen with tools you likely already have on your Windows or Mac computer.

More guides and best-ofs

The following instructions cover both Windows 10 and MacOS Mojave. You’ll also find methods using integrated, open-source, and paid third-party tools.

How to record your screen in Windows

If you would rather not download any additional software, Windows includes a built-in tool designed for gamers. It can be used by anyone offering a convenient way to record your screen and even add audio if needed.

How to record your screen with Game Bar

To use this feature, your PC needs to support one of the following encoders. Most modern graphics cards or processors will support them.

  • AMD VCE –  (AMD Radeon HD 7900 or newer)
  • Intel Quick Sync H.260 (Intel 2nd Generation CPU or newer)
  • Nvidia NVENC (Most Nvidia GeForce 600, Quadro K series or newer)

Step 1: Click the Start button followed by the gear icon located on the Start Menu. This opens the Settings app.

Windows 10 Click Settings

Step 2: Select Gaming.

Windows Settings Gaming

Step 3: Under Game Bar, be sure the Record Game Clips, Screenshots, and Broadcast Using Game Bar option is toggled on.

Windows 10 Enable Game Bar

Step 4: Type the default keyboard shortcut to open the Game Bar: Win + G. You may or may not see a prompt asking if the highlighted application on your screen is a game. If you do, lie and select Yes.

Step 5: The Game Bar appears near your screen’s top center edge. It provides buttons to access multiple overlays, including sound, performance, and capture.

The Game Bar’s Capture overlay should appear by default. If not, click the webcam icon on the Game Bar. After that, click the round Start Recording button on the Capture overlay. Click it again to stop.

Alternatively, you can type the Win + Alt + R key combination to start and stop recording with Game Bar enabled.

Windows Game Bar Capture Utility

All video captures save to the Videos/Captures folder as an MP4 file.

How to record your screen in PowerPoint

Didn’t know you could record your screen with PowerPoint? It’s true, and it’s relatively easy.

Step 1: With PowerPoint already open, click the Insert tab followed by the Screen Recording button located on the Media panel to the far right.

PowerPoint Screen Recording

Step 2: The screen dims white and renders a toolbar along your screen’s top center edge. You’ll see a red dotted boundary cutting through the white overlay, representing your recording space. If you want to record the entire screen, press the Windows + Shift + F keys simultaneously.

Step 3: Click the Record button, or press the Windows + Shift + R keys simultaneously.

PowerPoint Record Screen

Step 4: You can click the Pause button – it replaces the Record button — to halt the recording as needed. Click the square Stop button to end the capture.

Step 5: To save the recording, right-click on the video displayed within PowerPojnt. Select the Save Media As option on the pop-up menu. Follow the on-screen prompts to save your recording.

PowerPoint Save Video Capture

When you’re done you can save the video as a separate file to access or embed as you see fit. Editing and control options are very limited after that, but it’s a great option for quick-and-dirty recording — especially if you’re doing it for a looming presentation. And don’t ignore the video enhancement tools that PowerPoint offers, such as changing the video’s shape, adding a border, and adding visual effects like shadows, glow, and more.

Alternative offline apps for professional work

If you want an enhanced recording experience from an app specifically designed for more professional — and gaming-oriented — clips, then your best bet is to download one of the apps below.

OBS Studio (free)

One of the more advanced and freely available screen-recording apps, OBS Studio is open-source and allows unlimited full-screen recording without watermarks. It has built-in streaming functions for those who want a live audience while recording. Great hardware support enables 60-frames-per-second videos.

OBS Studio more fully-featured than some freemium apps, but setting up your personal preferences can take a little longer. However, it’s still the best of the free screen-recording apps currently available.

Snagit ($50+)

Snagit targets startups more than gamers. It packs a ton of recording features made for showcasing products and creating marketing videos, how-to features, vlogs, and so on. If you want an elaborate video that includes several video types, multiple graphics, and screen recording, Snagit is a great choice for simpler needs. It does cost $50, but if you don’t mind paying for the privilege, the added features are worth it.

How to record your screen on a Mac

MacOS screen recorder

Included with MacOS Mojave is a native feature that allows you to record your screen and take screenshots. Here’s how:

Step 1: Press Command + Shift + 5 to bring up the screenshot toolbar.

Step 2: The toolbar appears on your screen. You’ll see two sets of buttons: Three on the left to capture a screenshot and two in the middle for recording the screen. You’ll also see Option and Capture (or Record) buttons.

Click the Record Entire Screen or Record Selected Portion button followed by the Record button — it replaces Capture if the tool was originally in screenshot mode — located on the right.

MacOS Record Screen

Step 3: When you’re done, click the Stop Screen Recording button or the little record button located on the menu bar. Your video saves to the desktop by default.

MacOS Stop Screen Recording

QuickTime Player

If you’re running an older version of MacOS, you can always use the QuickTime Player for basic screen recording (as well as audio recording). QuickTime recordings aren’t easy to edit, but if you want a quick and easy recording method, it’s one of the simplest.

Step 1: Launch QuickTime Player. You’ll likely find it on the Launcher.

MacOS Launch QuickTime

Step 2: You may not see a window appear on the screen. Instead, click File located in the menu bar’s top left corner.

Step 3: Click the New Screen Recording option listed on the drop-down menu.

QuickTime New Screen Recording

Step 4: You may see a popup asking permission to record the computer’s screen. Click the Open System Preferences button and follow the instructions. You may need to restart QuickTime Player.

MacOS Open System Preferences

Step 5: QuickTime’s toolbar is identical to the integrated MacOS capture utility. Click Options to add or remove mouse clicks, use the built-in microphone, and designate the video’s destination.

MacOS QuickTime Options

Step 6: Again, you’ll see two sets of buttons: Three on the left to capture a screenshot and two in the middle for recording the screen. Click the Record Entire Screen or Record Selected Portion button followed by the Record button located on the right.

MacOS Record Screen

Step 7: When finished, navigate to the menu bar and click the stop recording button as shown below. Alternatively, tap the appropriate symbol if your Mac has a Touch Bar.

QuickTime Menu Bar Record Button

Step 8: To save your recording, click File on the menu bar followed by Save in the drop-down menu. Choose an appropriate save location and name for the recording.

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