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How to screen record on Mac

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When it launched the Mojave operating system in 2018, Apple introduced built-in screen recording for the macOS (and on other screen recording apps). The app, called Screenshot, is an easy-to-use, convenient way to save a video (and audio!) of whatever is happening on your screen. If you have macOS Mojave or a later version, you’ll be able to access this feature.

If you have an older Mac or just haven’t updated your operating system in ages, not to worry – you still have a fairly easy option to screen record with QuickTime. Here are your options.

Record your computer screen with Screenshot

If you have Mojave, Catalina, or a later MacOS, launching Screenshot is easy.

  • Press command, shift, and 5 on the keyboard simultaneously. Screenshot will open. At the bottom of your screen, you’ll see the Screenshot control bar. You have options for grabbing a still screenshot or for recording a video. You can tell which options are for video recording, because you’ll see a little circle recording icon on the logo.

  • Choose whether you want to “Record Entire Screen” or “Record Selected Portion.” If you choose to record only a portion of your screen, a box will show up allowing you to drag and resize the recording window.

  • Click on “Options” to see what other preferences you can choose. You can set a countdown timer, choose which microphone to use, and decide where to save your recording, for instance.

Image: Screenshot: kristin wong

  • Once you’ve selected the options you want, it’s time to record. Click the “Record button.” Or, if you’re recording the entire screen, you can simply click anywhere on the screen to start recording. If you’ve chosen to set the timer, you’ll see the timer counting down until the recording begins. If not, recording will begin immediately.

How to screen record on Mac

Image: Screenshot: Kristin wong

  • To stop the recording, click on the little square stop button in the upper right corner of the menu bar from the top of your screen. You can also hit command, control, esc to stop recording. Or, hit command, shift, 5 and the screenshot bar will reappear with a stop button you can click. Or if you have a Touch Bar, you’ll see a stop button in the upper left. 

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  • Once you stop recording, you’ll briefly see a thumbnail of the video in the lower-right corner of your screen. If you swipe the thumbnail to the right or do nothing, your recording will automatically save as a QuickTime movie (MOV) in the location you’ve set. 

  • To move the recording to another location, drag the thumbnail to your desired folder. You can also insert it into an email or document by dragging it into an open window. 

  • For even more options, hit control and click the thumbnail. You can change the location where it’s saved, open the recording in a specific app, or delete the recording.

Trim your recording

If you click on the thumbnail when it appears, the recording will open, which will allow you to edit the video. If the thumbnail has already been saved to your desired location, you can open it by clicking on the file and hitting the spacebar. (You can also open it in Quicktime by double clicking on it or right clicking the file and selecting “Open With > QuickTime”)

How to screen record on Mac

Image: screenshot: kristin wong

How to screen record on Mac

Image: Screenshot: kristin wong

  • Trimmed too much? Hit the “Revert” button on the top right of your window. Otherwise, click “Done” and the trimmed clip will either replace the existing clip or save as a new one, whichever you choose.

Record your screen with QuickTime

You can also use QuickTime Player to record your screen, which may be your only option if you have an earlier macOS. Here’s how to use it.

  • Open the QuickTime Player application.

  • From the top menu, click on “File.” You can also right click the QuickTime icon if it’s in your Dock. Select “New Screen Recording.”

How to screen record on Mac

Image: screenshot: kristin wong

  • The “Screen Recording” window will pop up. Next to the red record button, you’ll see an arrow for a dropdown menu list, where you can access options for showing your mouse clicks and choosing which microphone to use for audio. You’ll be able to choose where to save your video later.

  • To record only a portion of the screen, drag the cursor to resize or move the recording window. To record the entire screen, click anywhere on the screen.

  • Click the “Start Recording” button in the middle of the window.

  • Once you’re ready to stop recording, click on the small, square stop button in the top menu bar. You can also hit command, control, esc and recording will stop.

How to screen record on Mac

Image: screenshot: kristin wong

Edit and save a QuickTime recording

  • Once you’ve stopped recording, QuickTime will automatically open the video. Hit “File” from the menu to decide where to save the video. The screen recording will be saved as a MOV in that location. (In some operating systems, you may be able to trim or rotate your QuickTime video.)

  • Find its location, then click on the file to highlight it. Hit the spacebar to open a preview window where you’ll be able to rotate or trim the video using the icons in the top right menu in the window.

How to screen record on Mac

Image: screenshot: kristin wong

  • Hit the rotate button to rotate the video clip. To save it, simply close the window.

  • To trim the clip, hit the trim icon. From the bottom of the screen, drag the editing bar to the desired frame where you want the video to start and end. Preview your edited clip by hitting the Play button. 

  • Edited too much? Hit the “Revert” button on the top right of your window. Otherwise, click “Done” and the trimmed clip will either replace the existing clip or save as a new one, whichever you choose.

How to screen record on Mac

Image: screenshot: kristin wong

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