9 best screen recording software for tutorials

Last Updated on May 22, 2024 by Jhonni Jets

Creating tutorial videos is a great way to teach users how to operate software, provide step-by-step guides, and explain complex processes in a visual format. With the emergence of many screen recording tools on the market, choosing the right software for educational and tutorial videos can be a challenge. This article reviews 10 top screen recording software options and provides detailed information on their key features to help you select the best program for your tutorial needs. All of the software discussed are designed for creating screen capture and recording video guides to share online or include in training materials.

Camtasia

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Camtasia is one of the most popular and fully featured screen recording programs available. It offers all the basic recording tools as well as many advanced editing capabilities. Camtasia allows recording of the entire screen, individual windows, selected portions using drawing tools or webcam overlays. Recordings can be completed with or without system audio capture and microphone narration. Editing features include timeline-based video editing, effects, callouts, annotations and more. Camtasia outputs high-quality MP4 or AVI files and projects can be exported to various video and image formats. The software has an intuitive interface that makes it easy for beginners to start recording and producing video tutorials. While Camtasia is not free, it offers a free trial and student and teacher discounted licenses that make it affordable for educational purposes. Its high level of features makes it suitable for complex tutorials in learning and training environments.

Screencast-O-Matic

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As one of the leading free screen recording tools available, Screencast-O-Matic is a top choice for creating basic tutorials and guides on a budget. It has all the essential functions for screen capturing, microphone audio and simple video editing. Recordings are stored online and users can instantly share output files via Screencast-O-Matic’s sharing features without installing additional software. The free version allows recordings up to 15 minutes in length which makes it sufficient for many tutorial needs. Advanced features like callouts, annotations and title screens are available with an affordable pro upgrade. While not as full-featured as Camtasia, Screencast-O-Matic offers a free option with adequate tools for basic recordings, making it worthwhile for personal, student or open source tutorial projects.

Loom

The Loom Free Screen Recorder | Loom

Loom streamlines the screen recording process to be fast and simple. Users can start capturing their screen within seconds using a simple recorder or screencast mode and record up to 10 minutes for free. Loom’s core advantage is its focus on sharing and collaboration. Exported videos are housed on the Loom site and can be shared via URL link, embedded on sites or added to chat and email messages. Viewers can fast forward, rewind, pause and search within recordings in their browsers. Loom also allows annotating videos during playback. For teams or classrooms, its ease of sharing and viewing recorded tutorials makes Loom an excellent choice. Upgrading adds features like longer recordings, callouts and branding, making it a top option for both individual and collaborative tutorial projects.

Screencastify

Screencastify Review for Teachers | Common Sense Education

Google’s free screen recording extension for Chrome, Screencastify, provides an intuitive tool for creating tutorials using Chrome as the screen capture program. It allows recording system audio and USB microphone narration simultaneously with the screen. Basic editing functions let users trim recordings and add annotations. Screencastify’s main strengths are its convenience as a browser extension and seamless Google integrations. Exported videos are automatically saved to Google Drive for easy access across devices and sharing. Users can also embed videos on Google sites. While limited to Chrome, Screencastify streamlines recording without additional downloads, making it a simple yet capable option for educating on browser-based content and applications. Its Google ties additionally allow for good storage and collaboration support.

QuickTime Player

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QuickTime Player, included free with macOS, provides all the basic functions needed for screen recording tutorials without extra downloads. It allows screen, window, or portion selection recording with system audio and mic inclusion. Recording, trimming and exporting files is easy to use. While light on editing tools, QuickTime gets the job done for straightforward tutorials. The output files are compatible with common formats like MP4. A benefit is the familiarity—most Mac users already have QuickTime, so the learning curve is minimal. While offering fewer features than dedicated options, for simple Mac-based tutorials especially, QuickTime is perfect due to its accessibility and zero investment needed.

FlashBack Express

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As a macOS exclusive screen recording option, FlashBack Express provides more robust capabilities than QuickTime at a low price. It allows full screen, region and window recording plus system audio capture with easy output to video formats like MP4. FlashBack has useful editing tools like zooming, annotations, callouts and title/end screens. Advanced functions include scheduling recurring or timed recordings. The straightforward interface simplifies tutorial creation. FlashBack’s free trial permits evaluation before purchasing a license. For Mac users looking to move beyond basic functionality or add specific editing abilities, FlashBack Express is worth considering as an affordable step up from QuickTime.

Windows Game Bar

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The Xbox Game Bar, included with Windows 10, provides an accessible screen recording option using built-in Windows capabilities. Game Bar captures gameplay or any onscreen activity through picture-in-picture recording overlaid on the screen. Audio input and output can also be recorded. Basic trim and share controls are available through the Game Bar overlay. While limited compared to dedicated recorders, the Xbox Game Bar is an ideal zero-cost choice for simple Windows 10 tutorial creation. Its seamless integration and instant access makes spur-of-the-moment recordings easy to obtain.

OBS Studio

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Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) Studio is a top free and open-source option for recording and live streaming. While primarily used by streamers, OBS has expanded into a common recording choice. It allows screen, window, camera/mic inputs and advanced features like scene switching, overlays and transitions. Editing includes trimming, adding annotations and basic effects. With some learning involved, OBS offers powerful customization for intermediate to advanced tutorials or presentations. Plugins expand functionality further. While setup can be technical, knowledgeable users appreciate OBS’s high-quality output and configuration options. For advanced tutorials, its versatility makes it a worthwhile investment of time to learn.

ActivePresenter

ActivePresenter Features - Atomi Systems, Inc.

ActivePresenter is a practical screen recording software encompassing tools for creating high-production tutorials and video training content. It provides standard capture modes alongside editing capabilities like callouts, quizzes, transitions and integration of other file types. An engaging Course Editor allows building tutorial courses with multiple interactive lessons, tracking completion progress and auto assignment distribution. The program targets instructional design needs through projects, reporting and SCORM certification. Its focus on interactivity through various object types, assessments and gamification features matches well with developing dynamic online education resources. ActivePresenter’s all-inclusive toolkit makes it valuable for instructional content creators.

Conclusion

In summary, screen recording software provides easy pathways to demonstrating applications, processes and concepts through video tutorials. While many options are free or low-cost, choosing software tailored to individual or team needs, budget and technical skill helps maximize its educational impact. Overall, Camtasia, Screencast-O-Matic, Loom, QuickTime and the Windows Game Bar are solid entry-level choices, while FlashBack, OBS and ActivePresenter offer expanded options. Experimenting with trial versions is recommended to find the most effective screen recording tool for creating clear, engaging tutorial content.

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