Mobility

How to get easy screencasts from your Chromebook

If you've been longing to get screencast videos from your Chromebook, wait no longer. Jack Wallen shows you how with the help of TechSmith Snagit.

snagithero.jpg
Image: Jack Wallen

One feature that has been missing from Chrome OS, for quite some time, is the ability to take screencasts. Why has this been an issue? Because Chrome OS doesn't support the Java plugin used by most of the available screencast tools. That all changes, with the likes of Snagit. Why is this important? Screencasts are a great tool to help train users. Even though Chrome OS might well be one of the most user-friendly platforms on the planet, you might have web-based tools that aren't so easy to use (tools that could greatly benefit from a screencast).

Let's get to work.

Installation

Installing Snagit is quite simple. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open Chrome on your Chromebook
  2. Open the Snagit extension page
  3. Click ADD TO CHROME
  4. When prompted, click Add extension
  5. Allow the installation to complete

That's it. No need to restart.

Usage

Once installed, you will find a new icon in your toolbar (a small white S in a black/blue gradient). If you click that icon a sidebar will slide out (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A
Image: Jack Wallen

The Snagit sidebar.

Snagit can not only record video screencasts, but take screenshots. If you want a screenshot, select from a Region, Visible (whole screen), or Scrolling (which enables you to get a screenshot of a, say, a full web page). In the bottom half of the sidebar you will find the VIDEO section. Click on Screen and you will be prompted to give permission to the app to use your device mic (only on first run). Click Allow and a new popup will appear (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B
Image: Jack Wallen

Getting ready to record your screen.

You have two options at this point: Record your internal display, or record a single window. If you will remain within that single window, click the title of the window you want to record (which will be the title of the tab you are working in). If you plan on changing windows (or opening up an app), click Internal Display. After you've made your selection, click Share and a notification will appear. In that notification (Figure C), is the Stop button you will use to end the recording.

Figure C

Figure C
Image: Jack Wallen

How to stop the recording.

There is one caveat to recording the Internal Display. That popup you see (where you stop the recording) will appear in your video. That's okay, because there's another way to stop the recording. Once the recording starts, dismiss the popup window and then, once you're finished recording, click the Snagit icons in the toolbar and a popup will appear with an X (for cancel the recording) and a Square (to stop the recording). Click on the square button and the recording will stop.

When you stop a video, a new window will appear allowing you to give the video a name (Figure D).

Figure D

Figure D
Image: Jack Wallen

Giving your video a name.

Your videos will automatically be uploaded to your Google Drive into a newly created TechSmith folder (in .avi format).

Although Snagit doesn't offer a lot of options, it does an outstanding job of capturing screencasts of your Chromebook.

As a bonus, Snagit doesn't only work on Chromebooks. In fact, any platform running Chrome (that allows the installation of extensions) will work with Snagit. I've tested this on Elementary OS Freya and Snagit worked like a charm (even on dual monitor setups).

What is your screencast tool of choice?

Also see

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

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