Screen capture apps record what’s happening on your screen, including the movement of your cursor, so you can deliver instructions, describe problems, or share knowledge. Writing out descriptions of such things takes significantly longer than just showing someone your screen, but you’re usually not standing next to the person or people who need to see your screen. Video capture apps solve that problem.
Best Software to Capture Screen Video
What makes for great screen recording software?
The best screen capture software makes it really easy to show how things work—or, if you’re filing a support ticket, how they don’t work. But different people are going to be looking for different things. In our research, we tested around 30 apps, ranging from minimalistic three-button windows to complex apps overflowing with tools. The options are priced from free all the way up to several hundreds of dollars. Each of our picks for best screen recorder app offers a unique feature, but they all meet some basic criteria:
- The ability to record your whole screen, one window, or a specific area
- The option to superimpose a webcam feed over the screen capture
- Simultaneous microphone and system audio recording
- Built-in video sharing and/or convenient exporting tools
- An intuitive, friendly user interface
Of course, the process doesn’t end with the screen recording. The quality of the final product can make or break user engagement, so we also considered the post-capture editing features. Here’s what we found.
Best screen recording software for quickly recording and sharing on desktop
Loom (Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone/iPad, Chrome)
If you want to quickly record something and share a link, give Loom a chance. Loom isn’t overly complicated when it’s time to record: you can choose whether you want to record just your screen, your screen with webcam video, or just your webcam. Once you finish, your video will be uploaded to Loom. You can do some basic editing in the browser, if you want, or you can copy the link to share the video. It’s all very quick, which makes it, overall, the best screen recorder for PC.
With the free version of Loom, you can store up to 25 videos of up to five minutes each. It’s limited, sure, but great for quickly showing something to a collaborator, coworker, and/or archenemy. And you can always download your videos and store them somewhere else if you’re getting close to that 25 video threshold.
Having said that, Loom isn’t perfect. The desktop app works well, but we found the mobile apps limited in confusing ways. The Android version, for example, requires users to enter their Google password in order to log in instead of using the built-in Android support for Google accounts, which is odd. The iPhone and iPad apps can’t combine video with screencasting.
Best screen recorder software for mobile screen recording
Screencast-O-Matic (Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone/iPad, Chrome)
Screencast-O-Matic isn’t, on the surface, that unique in the crowded field of screen recording apps. Where it excels, though, is offering a great experience on every platform.
The mobile apps, in particular, worked better and offered more features than the alternatives we tested. They work without logging in, for example, and generally offer more features. The iPhone and iPad versions allow you to record your screen, then overlay a separate recording of your face onto that recording. You can edit videos right on your mobile device, instead of waiting until you get to your computer. If you’re looking for Loom alternatives for mobile, start here.
The desktop app also works just how you’d expect, allowing you to record an area of your screen and optionally add a webcam with your face. There are some simple editing tools in the paid version, and even the free version allows you to crop and add music before uploading.
Videos can be saved to your device, no cloud necessary, or you can upload to Screencast-O-Matic, Google Drive, or even YouTube in the free version—Dropbox and Vimeo are added to the paid version. It’s nice to have that choice after recording and to have some editing tools that aren’t overwhelming.
Best screen recording software for advanced video editing
Camtasia (Windows, Mac)
The Camtasia video capture interface is straightforward and no-nonsense. You choose your capture area, whether or not to include webcam and microphone inputs, and click Record.
Its built-in video editor is a different story. There’s an exhaustive list of editing options that manage not to feel overwhelming. Click-and-drag effects and a decent selection of stock media are located along the left-hand side of the app, with detailed properties and customizations appearing on the right-hand side whenever you select an element from the timeline.
Camtasia provides outstanding tutorial videos for anyone that struggles with its editing tools. Creating surprisingly professional intro and outro segments and dropping them into our test video took a matter of seconds. Our only hiccup was with the interactivity features, which allow you to add quizzes or clickable buttons to your project. Configuring these elements was easy enough, but previewing the video and exporting the final product was noticeably more complicated after adding interactivity.
This is also the only app we tested with a closed captions tool that loops audio while you add the text. A four-second segment plays until you’re done typing, and then you can press
Tab, and it plays the next loop.
Best screen recording software for advanced recording tools and live streaming
OBS Studio (Windows, Mac, Linux)
OBS is mostly built with live streaming in mind—if you’ve ever watched someone play games on Twitch, for example, they were probably using OBS. But you can also use it to record videos (it’s by far the most robust tool for doing so), and it’s free, so it’s a great choice if you’re looking for Camtasia alternatives.
Most of the apps in this list let you record using a webcam and your display. OBS studio can go much, much beyond that. It’s a complete tool for broadcasting, meaning you can add as many displays and cameras as your computer can handle. You can also create customizable “studios,” preset audio and video configurations that you can cycle through during a recording.
We created three studios during our test (shown above): one for just the primary display and webcam, another for the secondary display and webcam, and a third for both displays and the webcam. Sizing and positioning elements within each studio is a simple click-and-drag affair, and cycling through them during a recording session is controlled with a hotkey.
With enough preparation, these audio and video presets eliminate the need to fuss with any settings while streaming live video via OBS’s robust integrations. There are 80 platforms in the live streaming menu, ranging from big-name sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch, to obscure streaming platforms like Pandora TV. Opening the Settings menu and pasting your stream key into the text box is all it takes to set up the one-click Start Streaming button on the main dashboard. Changes you make to a studio, such as sound mixing or webcam placement, are broadcast live—make sure you’re ready.
Best screen recording software for screen capture when you’re away from your desk
Movavi Screen Recorder (Windows, Mac)
Movavi Screen Recorder is a great mid-level screen recorder for PC, a nice OBS alternative, complete with a built-in editor that gets the job done. But there is one feature it does exceptionally well: scheduled captures.
This tool lets you record webinars or live streams while you’re away from your desk. You’ll find this feature in the preferences, under Scheduler. You can set a time limit for the next recording, or you could specify a time for a recording to begin and end. You can even set it up so your computer shuts down or goes to sleep after the capture is finished.
It’s convenient and unambiguous, further improved by Movavi’s above-average resolution settings. If you need to record an inconveniently-timed webinar to share with others, you’ll want it to look good.
Best free screen recorder for Mac
Sometimes you just want to quickly make a recording and send it to someone, without having to edit anything or mess around with a bunch of settings. Zappy is perfect for this. This app is triggered using a keyboard shortcut, or using the menu bar icon. Select which portion of the screen you want to record, hit the video camera button, then hit stop when you’re done. You can record a voiceover using your microphone, if you want.
If you’re a paid Zapier user, the recording will be uploaded to the cloud and a link copied to your clipboard. If not, you can grab the video file locally and share it however you like. You won’t find a lot in the way of settings, and there’s no editing capability, but you can add arrows, boxes, basic text, and obfuscation while you’re recording (or after the fact for a screenshot). It’s just a fast way to share something.
Best free screen recorder windows 10
5 Best Screen Recorders for Windows 10
ActivePresenter by Atomi Systems is an all-in-one screen recorder and video editor. It is most loved by YouTubers, video producers, educators, and trainers who look for video demos, how-to videos, and step-by-step tutorials. ActivePresenter has virtually all the features and effects one may need to record screen and edit videos.
The free version of ActivePresenter is free of charge with no watermark when using free features. You can test all features of ActivePresenter without any functionality or time restrictions. After the capture phase, you’re allowed to trim, cut, split your recording, change the speed and volume, add closed captions, annotations, animations, and more. When you upgrade to the paid versions, more advanced audio and video editing features are available to create impressive videos and software simulations.
2. Windows 10’s built-in Game bar
You might be surprised that Windows 10 has a pre-installed Game bar for anyone who wants to capture their game clips and screenshots. Of course, this Game bar can be used to record apps only – it cannot record full screen or a specific region. This makes sense as it is designed for gaming capture. Although the Game bar is available on all Windows 10 PCs, to record game clips and screen, your computer’s video cards must meet the hardware requirements.
Recording your screen with the Game bar is easy by following these steps:
- Press WINDOWS+G to open the Game bar. If required, select the “Yes, this is a game.” check box.
- Press the Start/Stop Recording button to start and stop a recording. Use the Turn Microphone On/Off button to toggle microphone if you wish.
- After recording, trim your video or rename it in the Xbox app. Your video will be saved in the Captures folder, which by default is in your Videos folder.
3. OBS Studio
OBS Studio is a free application for video recording and live streaming without watermark or time limit. It is much preferred by hardcore gamers for broadcasting their live gameplay footage. Using OBS Studio, you can capture not only the entire display or a window but also from webcam and microphone. When it comes to streaming, the program lets you select which desktop applications and audio sources to be shared, as well as create layered videos for webcam.
While OBS Studio is a versatile app for capturing screen, it integrates no video editor. You need to employ another tool if you want to edit your recorded video. As a side note, as OBS Studio is an open-source program, you should be careful not to download the program from any website but the official site.
4. Flashback Express
Flashback Express is a at no cost app that can record screen, webcam, and sounds. It neither sets time limit on recording nor stamps watermark on the output videos. If you are running this software on a multi-monitor system, you can either record screens across multiple monitors or limit capturing to a single monitor. You can also make use of scheduled recordings to start and stop recording at scheduled times or when a specified application is launched.
Flashback Express is a free version of a paid application, Flashback Pro. While the two versions share the same recording features, the free version doesn’t include any video editing features, annotations, or effects. Regarding sharing, users can save videos as MP4, AVI, or WMV and directly upload videos to YouTube. Only paid users are entitled to save videos as Flash, QuickTime, GIF, or standalone EXE and set password protection for videos.
Developed by TechSmith, Camtasia is one of the highest-priced screen capture applications at present. It has over 14 million users worldwide and might never be absent in top screen recorder rankings. As an all-in-one screen recorder and video editor, Camtasia claims to “make it easy to record your screen and create polished, professional-looking videos.”
The newest version of Camtasia, Camtasia 2018, comes with a collection of brand-new video assets such as customizable intros, outros, and lower thirds. It also includes a number of themes to maintain a consistent look and feel across a series of videos. A 30-day free trial is available with watermark added.
3 Best free screen recorder free
The best free screen recorders help you capture everything on your screen and convert it to video. If you need to record assets for work, education, games streaming, and YouTubing, or you just want a free screen recorder for gaming, there’s plenty of great tools available that won’t cost you a penny.
1. OBS Studio
If you’re looking for free game recording software, OBS Studio is easily the best free screen recorder for you. Unlike the hugely popular FRAPS (which only lets you record for 30 seconds at a stretch unless you’ve bought a license, and applies a watermark to the resulting footage), OBS Studio is open source, and completely free to use without restrictions.
OBS Studio supports both streaming and recording in high definition, with no restrictions on the number or length of your creations. You can stream live to Twitch or YouTube gaming, save projects and come back to them later, or encode your footage in FLV format and save it locally.
Because OBS Studio can record directly from your graphics card, it’s able to screen capture games running in full-screen mode (many other screen recorders can only record if the game is windowed), with customizable hotkeys to control the recording. OBS Studio can also make full use of multi-core CPUs for improved performance and can record at 60FPS (or even higher).
2. FlashBack Express
OBS Studio is our favorite free screen recording software, but Flashback Express comes an extremely close second. Despite being a free version of a paid program, FlashBack Express is a free screen recorder for PC without a watermark. And it won’t impose time limits.
The screen capture tool is packed with features and tools that rival many premium programs. Its interface is less intimidating than OBS Studio, so if you’ve never used a free screen recorder before, it’s an excellent choice.
You can record from your whole screen, a window, a selected area, or a webcam. Once you’ve finished, your recording will appear in a simple editor, where you can crop and trim it to suit your needs, then export it to YouTube, an FTP server, or your PC.
That’s all fairly standard fare for a screen recorder, but take a minute to dive into Flashback’s advanced options. You’ll find a wealth of thoughtfully designed settings that will make your desktop captures look truly professional. The free screen recording tool for PC can automatically obscure passwords entered on-screen, replace your silly wallpaper with a plain one, hide messy desktop icons, and highlight your mouse pointer to make it easier to follow. There’s also a dedicated gaming mode that lets you define the number of frames recorded per second.
There’s no limit on the length of your recordings unless you choose to set one, which can be useful if there’s a chance you might accidentally leave the recorder running. You can also choose to break long recordings up into chunks – a brilliant touch that helps you avoid creating huge, unwieldy files. Your recordings won’t be watermarked, either.
Following a recent update, Flashback Express can export in WMV, AVI and MP4 formats, eliminating the need for a separate video converter, and it no longer requires a free license key for activation – just install the recording software and you’re ready to start capturing footage.
FlashBack developer Blueberry Software has also released free game recording software FBX(opens in new tab). This recorder captures HD in-game footage, with hardware acceleration for AMD and Nvidia cards, and Intel CPUs.
3. Apowersoft Free Online Screen Recorder
If you want to record a presentation, software demonstration, or tutorial, give Apowersoft Free Online Screen Recorder a try. This browser-based tool may not be suitable for games, but it’s the best free screen recorder for any other tasks.
The first time you use Apowersoft Free Online Screen Recorder, you’ll be prompted to download a small launcher application. You’ll then be provided with a control bar packed with more options than you’ll find in most desktop screen recording software. You can capture footage from your desktop or a webcam, and record audio from your PC, microphone, both, or neither.
You can record the whole screen, select an area manually or choose one of the preset resolutions – ideal if you’re recording a clip for YouTube, for example, and don’t want to use a separate video editor to resize it later.
Apowersoft Free Online Screen Recorder also offers customizable keyboard shortcuts for speed and convenience. You can choose whether or not to include the cursor in the recording and take your pick from a range of output formats including MP4, WMV, AVI, MOV, and many more. You can even add annotations during screen recording.
Once you’re done, you can save the recording as a video file or GIF, upload it directly to YouTube or Vimeo, or send it to Google Drive or Dropbox. You can also edit the clip. Selecting this option will download an additional component – Apowersoft Video Editor – which lets you make simple adjustments before exporting your video in your preferred format. A truly exceptional tool.
Note that the ‘Download desktop version’ button links to a program called Apowersoft Screen Recorder Pro. This is a trial version of a premium application and is more limited than Online Screen Recorder.
Capturing the perfect moment in video, audio, and photos can help you capture amazing moments that will make your customers excited to use your product. By using these techniques, you can create a memorable experience for your customers and increase sales.