If you’re trying to create a training presentation for work or just want to share a fun gaming session, then it’s important to know how to record your computer screen. Most laptops or desktops support screen recording, but the procedure used to get it done can vary depending on the platform.
We can show you the basics of how to record your screen when you’re working with a device that runs on Windows 10 or MacOS.
More guides and best-ofs
The instructions in this guide cover both Windows 10 and MacOS Mojave. This guide also discusses recording options that use 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.264 (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.
Step 2: Select Gaming.
Step 3: Under Game Bar, be sure the Record game clips, screenshots, and broadcast using Game Bar option is toggled on.
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, just 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.
Note: The Game Bar’s recording feature won’t work with the desktop or File Explorer. But it should work with games and non-game apps.
Alternatively, you can type the Win + Alt + R key combination to start and stop recording with Game Bar enabled.
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.
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.
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 PowerPoint. Select the Save Media as… option on the pop-up menu. Follow the on-screen prompts to save your recording.
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 is 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 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 Catalina is a native feature that allows you to record your screen and take screenshots. Here’s how:
Step 1: Press Shift + Command + 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.
Step 3: When you’re done, click the little record button located on the menu bar at the top of your display. The button looks like a circle with a square inside it. Alternatively, press Command + Control + Esc. Your video saves to the desktop by default.
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 Launchpad.
Step 2: To start, 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.
Step 4: You may see a popup asking permission to record the computer’s screen. Click the Open System Preferences button and add a tick to the checkbox next to QuickTime Player. You may need to restart QuickTime Player.
Step 5: When QuickTime restarts, click File, then New Screen Recording again. 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.
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.
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.
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, then click Save to confirm.