How to Screen Record: The Complete Guide

Screen recording is capturing the images on your screen to make a recorded video or live stream. It is possible to capture your entire screen, the displays from a multi-screen setup, or a single selected window. Screen recording today is used for dozens of possible applications, from presentations in a virtual business meeting to streaming video game sessions for an audience. You can capture your screen to create videos or splice together multiple screen recordings as part of a more complex video editing project.

What is screen recording?

Screen recording uses video software to capture what is currently displayed on your screen. It can be used to livestream or record your screen's display. You can also select specific areas of your screen to capture and overlay your screen with video editing effects like headlines and green screen projection.

Screen recording software makes it easy to select a section of your screen or just one window that you'd like to record. You can record your actions on a computer or send your screen capture data to an online platform to record and/or stream to others. The screen recording data, once captured, can be used like any other video and enhanced with video editing software.

The term "screen recording" is used whether you are saving the file or only streaming it live to a meeting or audience. In this way screen capturing and screen recording are synonymous, as the software is taking a record of your screen data.

Benefits of screen recording

What are the benefits of using screen recording and streaming or editing captured screen recordings? There are quite a few; screen recording is popular across many user bases because virtual experiences have become so central. Using software or stories of online investigation are best told from the screen's perspective. Video game screen recordings have grown in popularity to rival videos of live sports. Screen recording can help with everything from conference room presentations to remote tech-support troubleshooting to gaming broadcasts.

Digital presentations in business meetings

Screen capture first came into play in the business world in the form of slideshows and prepared presentations. The best way to control a projector is to mirror your computer screen and play the presentation with keyboard controls. This grew into the virtual and cloud-hosted business meetings of today. From the physical boardroom to the Zoom conference, presenting quarterly progress or wooing a new client, screen recording has been the presentation method of choice.

Playing games and media for an audience

E-sports and streamed games have become a massive video market, and this entire niche is based on screen capture and live editing software. Streamers build an audience by capturing the screen of their gameplay paired with video effects.

Technical troubleshooting

Internal tech support has developed to use screen sharing as the most accurate way to provide accurate support from a distance. When technicians can see every error message, they don't have to rely on verbal descriptions to relay advice. Screen recording has become a way to streamline remote tech support.

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Show your exact actions using software

Screen recording has also exploded in the how-to and knowledge-based sectors. Following the measured clicks of a mouse and data entry through software has significantly reduced new customer confusion. Screen recording makes it possible to create short visual guides on how to do specific software procedures.

Display computer behavior

Screen recording can also be used to display what a computer does without input. Unexplained or unusual behavior, malware messages, and visual errors are best captured with screen recording so the behavior can be re-examined after its occurrence.

Create screen perspective stories

Many of our experiences are now seen through a screen. Research journeys, social media stories, and games or videos are best depicted through the screen itself. Screen recording can help tell those modern stories we experience directly through a screen.

Uses for screen recording

What can you use screen recording for? Just about everything. The possibilities have exploded with advanced streaming and video editing software. Screen recording is used for both captured and live production. You can stream it into a pre-edited video scene or create a raw feed to edit into a packaged video production.

Recording webcam video

Webcam video is at the heart of video meetings, most personal video channels, and many formal presentations. You need to be able to stream your face and upper torso in a flattering and business-casual way in your office. Many people build a mini studio around their streaming location to record great webcam video.

Recording webcam video is essential to meet others online or create a video of yourself. Screen recording allows you to see yourself and capture the image that you see on screen. This is often the best way to make sure you look sharp and alert while attending an online event or recording video content.

Screen recording can also help you make a video of yourself during a live event so that you can review your answers and comments with a permanent record after the fact.

Recording PC gameplay

In the last two decades, recording and streaming gameplay has become a powerful industry of its own. There are e-sports arenas and multiple platforms dedicated to streaming and building audiences. People who don't have time to game will enjoy others' gaming as their background media. Those who want to improve their skills will watch the highly skilled play to learn their tricks. Even blooper reels have a hot niche for game-viewing audiences.

You don't have to be good, just recording your own gameplay style and comments can build an audience if people think you're fun or funny. Many gamers today use screen recording for PC gameplay just to archive their progress.

Those who really get into streaming their games may also make highly edited videos with screen recording software. Both streaming software and video editing software can help you improve your gameplay recordings. You can show an image of your web cam alongside your game screen, create frames and video effects, and display your stats as you play.

Whether you become a national gamer e-celeb or simply share fun game videos with your friends, recording PC games and console games with screen recording is a fun way to enhance your gameplay experience.

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Recording presentations

Formal presentations are a foundational use of screen recording. Presentations like slide shows and software demonstrations need an operator, which means you can't just load a video onto the projector. Screen recording provides a versatile and responsive way to give presentations by operating the presentation on your own computer.

The screen recording can then be sent to a projector or streamed to every member of your virtual conference, making it perfect for live, hybrid, and remote meeting management.

Screen recording also makes it possible to practice your presentation on your own computer and then perform it — exactly as practiced — without the usual fiascos involved with switching computers and systems in order to present.

Pro Tip: Use two screens, one for the meeting and one for the presentation. Set your screen recording only to the contents of the presentation monitor — or target the window of your presentation program instead.

Recording streaming video

Streaming video is when a meeting or movie is sent to us in real-time over the internet. Rather than downloading the entire pack of content and then watching it in sequence, you see only the data that is currently arriving. This is true whether you are streaming Netflix or sharing FaceTime with distant loved ones. Screen capture makes it possible to save these moments and create a recording of live-streamed video.

In today's digital environment, there are many streamed moments that you may want to capture for your records or memories. Screen recording makes this not only possible, but easy any time you think something memorable may occur.

Recording webinars

Webinars fully embrace screen recording technology by combining web camera and screen capture into lessons, classes, and meeting formats. A webinar is a recorded session that is either presented by one person or captures a meeting of several experts or team members. The purpose of a webinar is usually educational, and they are typically both live-streamed and recorded for future downloads.

Webinars can be used as gated, purchased, or subscription content; or you can share webinars for free inbound marketing traffic. Recording a good webinar involves some mastery of both streaming and video editing software to make sure the viewing experience is smooth and informative. Meeting webinars as opposed to solo webinars are more often to be raw screen recorded footage, but also benefit from some editing to clarify the post-production lesson.

Recording your own instruction video

Screen recording is also essential for software instructional videos. How-tos, guides, and training videos are easy to make when you can record each of your actions as seen on your screen. In fact, some screen recording software allows you to enlarge your mouse, animate a click, or annotate the screen to make your instructions clearer.

Instructional screen recording can help you fill out an information center, make a series of how-to videos for your brand, or create training videos for your team. You can create educational, commercial, or promotional videos showing how you operate software from a full-screen perspective.

Why you should edit a screen recording

Editing a screen recording helps your audience know what they are looking at. Presentation screen recording and how-to videos often include annotating the video with circles, arrows, or animations that spotlight what is going on with each click, and why it's important. Editing also allows you to clip and transition your screen recordings so that only the most relevant frames are included. If you had to check a few settings or got a call in the middle of a recording, you can easily clip out those unwanted frames.

Video game streamers often live-edit their videos using effects and layouts to enhance the audience experience. They provide displayed stats, include a chatbox, insert a webcam image of themselves playing the game, and use decorative frames to make the stream more aesthetic.

Many gamers also clip together select reels of gameplay along certain themes or humorous goofs paired with music or humorous comments added in post-production. Editing a screen recording file can help you achieve truly useful, compelling, or virally entertaining videos from your original clips.

What to look for when choosing screen recording software

Great screen recording software is there to facilitate how you will use it. Recordings should be crisp, achieving the full resolution and framerate of your monitors and computer activity.

You want software that can capture your screen and record the contents or stream the video to another source like a virtual meeting or live game channel. Your screen recording software should either provide live video editing settings like layouts and overlays or be directly compatible with a receiving program that can do this for you.

Great screen recording software pairs with video editing, like VideoStudio, so you can jump directly from recording your screen to editing the footage for a final project.


Screen recording is useful for both professional and personal projects. Whether you are presenting to clients, streaming your PC games, or making how-to videos, the right screen recording software can make the difference in your project's final quality.

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