How to Record a PowerPoint Presentation with Screencapture Software (Screenflow)

Many of us give talks at conferences and seminars, but these presentations are only seen once by a limited audience. What if you could record your presentations so that other people can easily access and view them? Having a recorded presentation (aka screencast) allows you to post it as a video on your website or send it to someone interested in your topic.

In the following tutorial, I show how to create a video of a slide presentation in which your voice is recorded along with a full-screen image of your slides. You will need three items to make a high quality recording of a presentation:

1. A slideshow created with PowerPoint or a similar application. Compile your presentation as you normally would for a talk and write out the script so that you can deliver your talk smoothly. You may need to practice beforehand so that it does not sound like you are reading.

2. Some type of screen capture software such as Quicktime Pro (Mac), Screenflow (Mac), or Camtasia Studio (PC or Mac) to record your computer screen, your voice, and your image (if you wish). In my tutorial, I will be using Screenflow, which is for the Mac, but the principle is the same for all these applications. These all record whatever is visible on your computer screen along with any audio. You can also record your own image with the built-in camera on your computer. Your image then can be inserted into a picture-in-picture window within your presentation so that the viewer sees you along with your slides.

3. A decent microphone to record the audio. The built-in microphones on most computers are not that good. The audio quality of your presentation will be greatly improved if you use a good external microphone (see previous post).

You also need a way to share your presentation once you’ve finished. The simplest way is to upload your finished file to a video-sharing site such as YouTube or Vimeo (see this post that explains what to consider in making this decision). If you are concerned about copyright, then be sure to include a watermark on your video file (or on your slides). Once published, you can take the embed code for your video and insert it into your website or send the link to someone (instead of the file, which likely will be too large to email).

This is a great way to create a permanent record of your oral presentations. You can also create lessons to augment a course you are teaching or record class lectures for students to review as many times as they wish. There are lots of possibilities. Virtually anything that you can show on your computer screen can be captured this way and published as a video.

Be sure to select the HD version and full-screen for best viewing (direct link):

Are you interested in learning more techniques like this? If so, check out The Scientist Videographer eBook, which is an electronic guidebook packed with information, tips, and tutorials and designed for the 21st century scientist, teacher, and student. Available in iTunes Store (fully interactive version for iPad, iPhone, & Mac), Smashwords (text version), and Amazon Kindle (text version).

26 thoughts on “How to Record a PowerPoint Presentation with Screencapture Software (Screenflow)

  1. Great article!
    I have been using Camstudio for a while for some of my uni presentations and it works just a well as the more expensive software on the market. I think I paid 5 bucks for mine the link is below.
    http://tinyurl.com/mlmm8v2

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  3. Hello-
    If I am recording power point presentation that will run about 1 1/2 hr.and I export it as MP4. Would you have an idea of how many GB that is?
    I am limited to 2MB.
    Thank you!

    • I’m not sure how large your file will be. My suggestion is to break your presentation into parts: Part 1, Part 2, etc. so that each is within your 2 MB limit.

  4. Is there a way to do something akin to splitting the display in a face-to-face course? I’d like to be able to read my notes/script off my ppt presentations (there will be ~30 2hr lectures), but just want my students to see the slides (no notes) and my pic in the bottom right corner.

    • If I understand your question, you want to see your notes in ppt while recording. Unfortunately, I don’t think that is possible. Screenflow (or other screen capture software) records whatever is showing on your computer screen. If you use Presenter View in ppt to see your notes, that is what will be recorded. What you need to do is transfer your notes to a tablet or print out a script to use while recording your slides. You can then record your desktop showing just your presentation slides as well as your image (select “Record Video from” and choose your camera).

  5. Is there a way to do this with a camcorder rather than a webcam? I need to be several feet away from the camera and so my webcam loses focus.

    • Tracy, Yes, you can use a camcorder to film yourself giving the presentation. However, you will need to make sure your voice is picked up clearly. Using a lapel microphone will give you the best results. See this tutorial that explains how. Then just import the footage from your camcorder and during editing of the screencast of your slides, insert the footage of yourself into a “picture-in-picture” window, which will then play in tandem with the slide show. This can be accomplished with most screencast software (such as Screenflow).

  6. Great post. Screenflow is my favorite recording software. I always use it to record my macbook pro screen to make video tutorial for my YouTube channel. But it’s not free. For someone who just want some simple recording, acethinker screen grabber online is a good choice, free and easy to use, no need to download or install anything. Share it here.

  7. Hi am trying to screencapture sildeshow with Ctrl+p (writing on the slide) but camstudio does not allow me to write on my slide while I start the screen recording.

    I am using windows10.
    Any help how I can record the slide show of ppt with writing on slide option

    • I’m not that familiar with Camtasia Studio but figure it works similarly to Screenflow and other screen capture software. Maybe your problem is the use of a keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+p is the command for Print). It sounds like you want to record your on-screen actions in which you are adding text to a PowerPoint presentation. If so, the steps would be:
      1. Start screen recording
      2. Open ppt slide show
      3. Insert a text box in slide
      4. Type text
      5. Stop screen recording
      Your on-screen actions should now be recorded in a video file. If you are trying to do something else, please explain in more detail.

  8. hey this website really helped me and I think other people should use it I made thousands of videos during high school now I’m graduating I give this site a big thumbs up

  9. I want to record me delivering a speech but I want to see my presentation powerpoint for myself as notes and not share with my audience how can I do this

    • Anything that appears on your computer screen will be recorded by screen capture software, assuming this is how you are recording. You can have your notes alongside your computer screen on another device (phone, tablet) or paper.

  10. Pardon my ineptitude. But I can’t replicate what you did on my Mac. I’m working with QT and KeyNote. If i use the screen capture feature in QT, I can’t record myself presenting. I can record the presentation in KN, but that’s only audio. I need the audio, the slides, and my video. Please advise. Thanks.

    • Quicktime has a limited set of options for recording. There is no way (that I know of) to simultaneously record your computer screen and yourself (via the camera in your computer). In Quicktime, you have three options (New Movie Recording, New Audio Recording, New Screen Recording). The New Movie Recording will only record you speaking to the camera (via the computer’s camera). The New Screen Recording will only record what is shown on your computer screen. Both allow simultaneous audio recording.

      If you wish to record a KeyNote presentation shown on your screen (along with your voice), select New Screen Recording. Be sure to configure the microphone (using the drop-down menu next to the record button) so that your voice is recorded.

      If you are trying to record both your screen and yourself (using your computer’s camera), you will need another screen capture application (such as Screenflow) that can do both simultaneously. It’s possible with Quicktime to record your KeyNote presentation first using the New Screen Recording option, then record yourself (New Movie Recording) explaining your slides. You now have two files. You then would need to use iMovie to combine those two files. If you set the screen recording as your main movie clip in the timeline, then you can add the second recording of yourself as a “picture-in-picture” in the corner of the screen recording. This latter option would take more work, of course and you may have trouble coordinating the two recordings. But it’s an option if you don’t have Screenflow.

  11. Thanks for sharing this. I like the look of the picture-in-picture effect.

    For people using a recent version of PowerPoint, you can always save your presentation as a video by choosing File > Export, in which case you don’t need recording software.

    You might also be interested in these 6 tips for great videos of your presentations. I hope you find some helpful ideas there.

  12. Thank you Karen. That is what I had been looking for. You are great soul– distributing your knowledge to needy people.
    God bless you!

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