Show, don't tell. It's simple enough advice, and screen recording software makes it easier to follow.
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.
We evaluated and tested almost 40 screen recording apps, and here we'll present the five best.
The 5 best video capture apps
Loom for quickly recording and sharing on the desktop
Camtasia for advanced video editing
OBS for advanced recording tools and live streaming
Movavi Screen Recorder for screen capture when you're away from your desk
Zappy for quickly sharing screen recordings from a Mac
What makes the best screen recorder for PC or Mac?
How we evaluate and test apps
All of our best apps roundups are written by humans who've spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. We spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it's intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We're never paid for placement in our articles from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier blog.
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 several dozen 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/app, 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.
One thing to note: It's possible that an app you already use has screen recording built in. Many video conferencing, communication, and productivity tools—not to mention your mobile phone—have added screen recording to their feature sets, so it's worth checking if you can get the capabilities you need from a tool that's already in your stack.
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.
Still, Loom will get the job done without a lot of fuss for most users.
Loom pricing: Free for 25 videos of up to five minutes. Business plans start at $12.50/month/user with unlimited uploads.
Dropbox Capture (which has been in beta for a bit) is a solid Loom alternative, so be sure to check it out if you're already paying for Dropbox and need an app for recording your screen. Or, if you prefer Chrome extensions to desktop apps, Check out Screencastify, which is similar to Loom.
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.
Note: if you don't need editing but like the look of Camtasia, Capture (formerly King) comes from the same company, only offers screen recording, and it's free to download and use.
Camtasia pricing: $299.99 for a lifetime business license.
Best screen recording software for advanced recording tools and live streaming
OBS Studio (Windows, Mac, Linux)
OBS is a screen record app that's 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.
OBS Studio pricing: Free
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.
Movavi pricing: $57.95 for a one-computer lifetime license. There's a free version, but it adds a large hideous watermark to the center of every video, so it's really only useful for getting a feel for the software.
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, and you have the option of recording your face on the webcam too.
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.
Cards on the table: this is Zapier's app. Zapier built Zappy for internal use, basically because the team couldn't find a tool that worked quite the way they wanted. They thought people might find it useful, so they released it to the public.
Zappy pricing: Free for local recordings and screenshots. Paid Zapier accounts can automatically upload all recordings to the cloud (Zapier subscriptions start at $19.99/month).
Finding the best screen recording software
The best screen recording app is the one that saves you the most time and produces the most worthwhile content for your audience. Make sure you know your target audience and use case before selecting an app. All the video recording software options we've listed are either free or come with trial versions, so give your top contenders a whirl, and see which you like best.
Screenshot tools, tips, and shortcuts: How to capture anything on your screen
Take full-page screenshots with this hidden Chrome shortcut
How to take a screenshot on a Windows PC
How to take screenshots on a Mac
This article was originally published in February 2019 by Ryan Farley, and the most recent update was in October 2022, with contributions from Kiera Abbamonte.
Download and open the desktop recorder, and you'll be prompted to set the area you want to record and adjust your recording settings. Click the Screen recording button. Movavi Screen Recorder offers intuitive settings to let you select the part of the screen you want to record.How do I record my screen on PC 2023? ›
Download and open the desktop recorder, and you'll be prompted to set the area you want to record and adjust your recording settings. Click the Screen recording button. Movavi Screen Recorder offers intuitive settings to let you select the part of the screen you want to record.How do I record my screen on Windows 10 2023? ›
Then you can capture your screen with audio and video easily. Sure, if you are aiming to record the gameplay of your screen with audio and video, then you can rely on the Windows 10 built-in program - Xbox Game Bar. Once you press the Windows + G keys, the recording process will start now.Which recorder is best for screen recording? ›
- Screencast-O-Matic. ...
- AceThinker. ...
- ScreenFlow. ...
- Screencastify. ...
- Bandicam. ...
- Filmora Scrn. ...
- Camtasia. TechSmith's Camtasia makes it simple to capture and make professional-looking videos on your PC. ...
- ShareX. This open-source screen recording software is ideal for capturing videos.
OBS Studio is our pick for best free screen recorder and streaming software overall. After testing, we found not only can the open-source software record everything happening on your desktop, but also capture footage from your webcam and use it for picture-in-picture video, and even record audio from a microphone.Is OBS the best recording software? ›
- If you are looking for the best quality screen recorder software Obs studio is your answer. - High quality screen recording and it doesn't even crush your computer. No complaints here, This software is the best and well designed/ made.What is the best computer recording software? ›
|Best Free Screen Recorders||Best Paid Screen Recorders|
|CamStudio||Movavi Screen Recorder|
|Ezvid||My Screen Recorder Pro|
However, as Camtasia is not free, it's not appropriate for those who are looking for a free or cost-effective solution. If that sounds like your story, well, here I am, sharing some of the best alternatives to Camtasia screen recording software.Does Windows 10 have screen recording software? ›
Windows' built-in screen recorder, Xbox Game Bar, is built into both Windows 10 and 11. It was originally designed to help gamers record their screens but can be leveraged to do so much more! If you've never heard of Game Bar, don't worry.What is the best way to record screen Windows? ›
Windows key+Alt+R: Start or stop recording. Windows key+ Alt+G: Record the last 30 seconds of screen activity. Windows key+Alt+B: Turn HDR on or off. Windows key+Alt+PrtScn: Take a static screenshot of your screen activity.
Thankfully, Windows 11 has a built-in application for recording your screen, but there are other methods as well. Snipping Tool comes as part of Windows 11 and is also available via the Microsoft Store.Which screen recorder is safest? ›
|AZ Screen Recorder||Users who want a simple and powerful Android screen recorder|
|DU Recorder||Users who want a fully-featured screen recorder and editor|
|Mobizen Screen Recorder||Users who want a reliable, secure screen recorder|
- Record in a quiet location. ...
- Avoid echo. ...
- Invest in a decent microphone (if you can) ...
- Get a microphone stand. ...
- Use a pop filter. ...
- Stay close to your microphone. ...
- Use a mixer to split up audio channels. ...
- Make a test recording.
Hit the Windows Key + Alt + R to start screen recording. A screen recording widget will appear in the corner to show you how long you've been recording. To stop recording, hit the Stop button on the widget, or hit Windows Key + Alt + R again. An alert will pop up that says Game Clip Recorded.How do I record my screen on Windows 11 2023? ›
In Windows 11, you have to open the Game Bar interface to view and modify the shortcuts. The following shortcuts are ones you'll want to keep in mind: Windows key+G: Open Xbox Game Bar. Windows key+Alt+R: Start or stop recording.How do I set my computer screen to record? ›
- Hit the Windows Key + Alt + R to start screen recording. ...
- Hit the Windows Key + Alt + R again to stop screen recording. ...
- Navigate to Settings->Gaming->Captures. ...
- Launch Snipping Tool. ...
- Click the video camera icon to enable recording mode (if it's not enabled already).