Lifehacker Best Screen Recording Tool

Screen recording is a marvelous feature of modern operating systems. It enables you to record everything going on on the screen and then save it as a video file. Then, you can use it for creating tutorial videos, for making walkthroughs or just for entertaining purposes. But this is just one use of screen recording. There are so many different ways you can put it to use!

Different kinds of software are there to help you record your screen. Even though the competition is quite tough and there are many substitutes available in the market but one name which comes on top is Apowersoft Screen Recorder . It is one of the most popular screen recording software for both Mac and Windows. The tool does not record cursor movements but it makes a perfect screencast for tutorials, advertisements, presentations and many more things.

Video is one of the most engaging mediums for delivering information online (click to tweet this quote). The ease with which you can create your own content, coupled with the possibility of instantly sharing it widely through social media means that video is quickly becoming a key component your digital marketing strategy. Read on to find out about the best screen recording tool for Windows.

In the past few years screen capture software developers have given us a lot of great options for recording our computer screen. Some look up to ten times better than others but I’ve found three which I felt should be acknowledged for being the best screen recording tools for both professional audio and video podcasters and casual video bloggers alike.

List of the best tools

Camtasia Studio (Windows/Mac) – Win: $299.00/Mac: $99

Camtasia Studio is the most expensive screen recording tool in the roundup, but it’s also one of the most feature packed. The last time we looked at the app it was Windows only, but the latest versions support Mac OS as well, and allow you to record your entire screen, single applications, or part of your display, save your screencasts in multiple formats, upload directly to YouTube, and more. You can quickly edit audio tracks separate from the video, so you can narrate what you’ve recorded later and then combine the tracks into a final video, and more.

CamStudio (Windows) – Free

CamStudio may be Windows only, but it’s free, open-source, easy to use, and one of the most lightweight apps in the top five. You won’t get as many features from CamStudio as you will from most of the others, but if you just want a quick way to record an occasional video, save it, and then work with it in another application that you prefer, CamStudio is perfect for the job. Still, there’s as much love for CamStudio as there is hate for it, so your mileage may vary.

Jing (Windows/Mac) – Free/Pro: $14.95/yr

Jing is another TechSmith product, the same company behind Camtasia Studio. In addition to being a free and effective screenshot utility, it’s also a free tool to take screencasts, and an affordable alternative to Camtasia Studio. Both the free and the pro versions only allow you to record five minute videos, and both of them allow you to upload video to Screencast.com and come with a free 2GB account for video sharing. They allow you to record all or part of your screen, and share your videos when complete. The free version only allows you to save videos in SWF format, while the pro version added MPEG-4 format. You’ll have to shell out for the pro version if you want to upload videos directly to YouTube, record your webcam, or take screen recordings without the Jing branding on them.

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Screenflow (Mac OS) – $99

Screenflow may be Mac-only, but it’s one of the most feature-rich screencasting utilities in the roundup. You can record your entire or part of your display in HD, record from your monitor or a video camera, and record audio from your computer and your microphone simultaneously. You can also customize your cursors, add tiles and text to your video, and more. When you’re finished recording your display, you can edit the audio and video streams independantly, decouple the audio and the video, add transitions to your video, annotate your video, export it in multiple formats, or upload directly to YouTube.

Screencast-o-Matic (Windows/Mac/Linux) – Free/Pro: $12/yr

Screen recording webapp Screencast-o-Matic has come a long way since it was launched. The tool uses Java to record your screen and upload it to the web, so it works anywhere Java is supported. You can add captions to the video, share it, upload it to YouTube (in HD, even,) or save the video as an MP4, AVI, or flash video. Free accounts can do all of this, but pro accounts allow you to remove the Screencast-o-Matic watermark, password protect your screencasts, and download a Java app that lets you record screencasts offline. Pro accounts also get video editing tools.

ShareX

While there are a bunch of alternative screenshot tools, ShareX is the best for Windows. ShareX is totally free and highly customizable, so you can set up workflows like uploading screenshots to your own server (or any cloud storage service) and automatically copying the link. However, ShareX’s interface can be intimidating, so here’s the best way to set it up.

How to set up hotkeys in ShareX

The best way to use ShareX is by setting up keyboard shortcuts. You’ll be prompted to do so the moment you install the app, but if you want to add more shortcuts (or change them), you can navigate to Hotkey settings… in the left pane.

This window will show you various screenshot actions on the left side, such as Capture entire screen, Capture region, and so on. The keyboard shortcut is displayed in the same row on the right.

The most important thing is the color of the square box on the right hand side. If it’s red, then you’ll have to change the keyboard shortcut because it’s already assigned to a different task in Windows. If it’s green, you’re good to go.

To add a new action, click the Add button on the top-left and select the task from the first drop-down menu on the right side. For example, I picked Screen Capture > Capture last region and set up a custom keyboard shortcut for it. The next time I screenshot a custom region on my computer, I can use the Capture last region action to screenshot the same area again.

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How to set up a screenshot folder in ShareX

The next thing you want to do is to set up a folder for all your ShareX screenshots to keep your screenshots organized, instead of storing them all in the default ShareX folder.

To do that, navigate to Application settings… > Paths. Here, you can select Use custom screenshots folder and click Browse… to select any folder you like.

You should also return to ShareX’s main window and go to After capture tasks > Save image to file to make sure that each screenshot is sent to the right folder. If you want to copy all screenshots to the clipboard instead, you can select Copy image to clipboard under After capture tasks.

Remember that you can set up multiple actions under After capture tasks, and you should check out all options to create a workflow that suits your needs.

How to upload images to the cloud in ShareX

Screenshot: Pranay Parab

ShareX supports common services like Google Drive and OneDrive, and more advanced options like Amazon S3 and Google Cloud. You can set it up by going to ShareX > Destinations > Destination settings…. and picking the service you need, and then connecting it to your online account.

When you’re done, be sure to visit Hotkey settings in ShareX to set up a keyboard shortcut that directly uploads an image to your preferred cloud storage service. With that done, you can navigate to ShareX > After upload tasks and select Copy URL to clipboard to instantly get a shareable link.

How to edit and annotate screenshots in ShareX

ShareX also lets you edit screenshots and add annotations. The best way to do this would be to go to After capture tasks > Open in image editor, which will immediately open captured screenshots in the built-in image editor. You can hover over any tool to find its name, but the most important ones are:

  • Step: This tool has an icon that looks like 001. It adds numbered circles to your screenshot. If you’re trying to show multiple steps in a single image, select the Step tool and click in the right order to make circles labeled 1, 2, 3, and so on appear on the image.
  • Arrow: Lets you draw arrows on the image to point out important areas in a screenshot.
  • Shape tools: The rectangle and ellipse tools let you draw shapes on the screenshots. You can use the fill color tool on the right to fill these shapes with solid colors. This is a much better alternative to the blur tool if you want to hide sensitive information in your screenshots.
  • Cursor: It lets you place a mouse cursor on the screen.

Other ShareX features worth knowing about

Apart from screenshots, ShareX can also capture screen recordings by going to the Workflows tab and then the Start/Stop screen recording option. There’s also an option that lets you save a screen recording as a GIF.

If you’re looking to do more with screenshots in ShareX, click the Capture menu in the left pane. You’ll find lots of useful options such as capturing screenshots automatically, adding a screenshot timer, taking scrolling screenshots, capturing screenshots of one or multiple monitors, and more.

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Skitch (Mac, Free)

Skitch is a screen capture tool in the same vein as Jing. Skitch the application is closely tied to Skitch.com, the screen capture hosting site. Skitch captures your screen, annotates it, draws on it with swanky graphics, and when you’re ready, sharing it online is as easy as saving it to your desktop. If you don’t want to use Skitch.com to share your screenshots, you can just as easily use your own FTP, Flickr, or .Mac account. The interface of Skitch is particularly user friendly; nearly all the editing functions are laid out in a ring around your screen capture, making it easy to find the tool you’re looking for.

Snagit (Windows, $50)

Snagit is as far removed from the classic Print Screen school of screen captures as possible. Snagit helps you capture both still images and grab frames from video. You can capture your entire screen or regions of it, and thanks to a robust profile system, you can create profiles for all manner of capture techniques. Whether you only want to generate a screen capture after a menu is activated or you want every screen capture to be automatically uploaded to a server, you can create a Snagit profile to fit your purpose. On top of the highly customizable feature set, Snagit offers a built in editor for annotating your screenshots and adding basic effects. Finally, the app’s screenshot organizer keeps your grabs in order with date, name, and tag-based searching. Snagit also has the ability to easily capture images from objects that are larger than the screen.

What is the Best Screen Recording and Screencasting Software?

There are a ton of screen recording tools out there for Windows. Some of them are free, some cost money, and some come bundled with other software you might already have installed.

There are a few different types of solutions available: Screencasting software is designed to record your screen so you can create video tutorials or presentations. These apps typically include annotation tools and an option to record audio as well.

Screen recording apps simply record what’s on your screen so you can watch it later. These apps don’t usually require any special hardware, but they may limit the length of your recordings.

Game recording software is designed for gamers who want to share their in-game footage. These apps generally offer more advanced hardware acceleration options than screencasting tools.

Conclusion

Lifehacker is the best screen recording tool and one of the best tools to create video tutorials. It is one of the top products in this category. Chances are, if you want to create a how-to video or record your screen or gameplay, you’re probably going to try Lifehacker. You can use it as a free product.

It’s hard to learn how to use programs sometimes. You’ll read things and try to figure out what they’re talking about, but you just can’t seem to grasp it. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could see the software in action before jumping in? That’s why many companies have created video tutorials like this one from Lifehacker that shows off the best screen recording tool for Windows.

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