If you’re involved with training, need to share a process for a coworker, or want to brag with a capture of your latest gaming exploits, then the ability to record your PC’s screen will be a welcome capability. There are a number of methods for capturing your on-screen activity, and we’ll cover a few of them here.
Apps you might already own
Unlike methods for taking static screenshots, Windows 10 doesn’t have any built-in utilities for making free-form video recordings of your PC’s screen. Some apps are free, while others require an investment, but chances are you’ll be able to find an app that will get the job done.
Windows 10 Game Bar
The Windows 10 Game Bar, which you can open by hitting the Windows Logo key + G, has a screen recording function that’s designed to capture your gaming sessions. Nevertheless, it can also be used in many cases to capture the active window – not all apps are supported, such as the Windows Explorer, and you can’t capture the desktop, but many other apps work just fine.
To use the Game Bar to record what you’re doing in an app, you simply hit the above key combination and the Game Bar interface will open. The first time you open the tool you might have some pop-ups, just respond to them accordingly. You’ll want to look for the record button in the capture dialog box.
Hit the record button, and the Game Bar will record whatever you’re doing in the active window. In the example below, Google Chrome is active. Perform whatever tasks you need to do, and then hit the button to stop recording in the small Game Bar window that will be active on your display. Game Bar will save the recording as an .MP4 video file in your local Videos folder.
If all you need to do is simply record a single application, then the Game Bar might be all you need. Otherwise, read on for more options.
If you’re Microsoft Office user, then you already have an app that can capture your screen. Specifically, PowerPoint 2016 and later offer the ability to create screen recordings, and it’s easy to do.
To use this feature, open PowerPoint and select an existing or new presentation. Click on the Insert tab and then you’ll find the Screen Recording button all the way to the right of the menu bar.
When you click on the Screen Recording button, the recording interface will open. There, you can select an area to record, turn audio on or off, and add or remove the record pointer.
Select the part of your screen that you want to record and then hit the record button. Go about your tasks, and then when you’re finished move your cursor to the top of the display. The screen recording interface will drop down and you can hit the stop recording button.
Your video will be saved in a slide in PowerPoint, and you can perform some simple editing. Right-click the video for a pop-up menu, and click Save Media As… to save your video as an .MP4 file in the location of your choosing.
There are a host of third-party apps that make short work of recording whatever you’re doing on your PC. Some are free, while others can cost hundreds of dollars. We’re not going to cover all of the available apps here, but the following list will get you started. Note that each of these apps works differently, but the basic process will be the same as we’ve outlined above – only with far more features and functionality.
- OBS Suite: This is a popular app thanks to its free price and full range of features. OBS is designed with gamers in mind, and is used by many to record gameplay videos for sites like YouTube.
- Snagit: We mentioned Snagit in our how-to on capturing static images of your screen, and it can also do a great job of recording your screen. It has a host of features that make its $50 purchase price a great investment.
- Camtasia: The same company that makes Snagit also makes Camtasia, an even more powerful app that’s dedicated to recording your on-screen activities. It’s more expensive at $249, but if you make a lot of recordings and need some more powerful tools, then Camtasia is a great choice.
The ability to capture your screen can make it far easier to share information. Hopefully one of the tools outlined in this guide will work for you, but if not, a quick search will turn up a host of alternatives.