Video Tips

A Step-by-Step Guide to Screen Record on Mac

Eliza Talvola


Want to create a how-to video, tutorial, or even share gameplay on your screen but aren’t sure how? In this blog, we’ll share how to screen record on Macs using built-in tools and handy online screen recorders like Animoto’s.


How to screen record on Mac using the Screenshot feature

Macs (running macOS Mojave or newer) all come with a built-in screen capture app called Screenshot. It’s free to use and can take screenshots or record a video of your screen. Once properly set up, it's very user-friendly. Here’s how to use it.

1. Open the Screenshot toolbar

Press these three keys together to open the screenshot toolbar: Shift, Command, and 5.

2. Select your entire screen or a selected portion

Choose from the second set of icons to “Record Entire Screen” or “Record Selected Portion” using the draggable window.

3. Start recording

Press “Record” or hit the return key to begin your recording.

4. Stop your recording

Press the red “Stop” button to stop your recording.

5. Find your recording and upload to edit

Once your recording is complete, it will be automatically saved to your desktop. From there, you’ll need to upload it to another program to edit it.

Tips for screen recording on Mac with the Screenshot feature

While the steps to actually record your screen with Screenshot are fairly simple, making it look professional is a bit more difficult. Awkward pauses, inappropriate or unwanted tabs, and messy beginnings/endings can all detract from your final video.

There are lots of tools you can use to edit screen recordings but the stronger you make your original recording, the better. Here are some simple things you can do from within the Screenshot toolbar to help your recordings go smoothly.

  • Remember last selection: Select “Remember last selection” under the “Options” tab. This simplifies the recording process by remembering the recording settings you previously chose.
  • Save to: Don’t lose your recording in a sea of unnamed files! Keep your recordings organized with properly named titles and folders. You can also select where your video files and screenshots will be saved to to help you stay organized.
  • Timer: Enable a countdown so you can prepare for screen recordings before they begin. This helps you avoid awkward navigation or scrambling to get to the right place after hitting the record button.
  • Show floating thumbnail: In the screenshot tool bar, select “Show floating toolbar” under the “Options” tab. After your recording is finished, a small floating thumbnail will appear in the corner of your screen. Click on the thumbnail to quickly rename, edit, or delete your screenshot so it gets saved to the right place.
  • Show mouse clicks: Select “Show mouse clicks” under the “Options” tab to make a black ring appear around your cursor every time you click on something. This highlights exactly when and where you clicked.

How to screen record on Mac using QuickTime Player

Most Macs also come with a pre-installed QuickTime Player, a video player and screen recorder. However, if you don’t have it, you can always download it for free. Even if you record your screen using Screenshot, they will be played in QuickTime.

1. Open QuickTime Player from your Applications folder

Select File > New Screen Recording from the menu bar.

2. Choose record setting

Click the arrow next to the Record button to change the recording settings.

3. Select a microphone

To create a recording with audio, choose your microphone. Device audio will automatically be recorded.

4. Start recording

Click the Record button and click anywhere on the screen to begin recording the entire screen. Or, use the draggable window to select a portion of your screen.

5. Stop your recording

Hit the Stop button to end your recording.

How to easily turn screen recordings into professional videos

Screen recordings alone might not tell your entire story. For added context and clarity, you can add it to a video complete with text, voice-over narration, music, animations, and more.

One of the easiest ways to turn screen recordings into professional videos is with pre-made templates. Animoto has hundreds of templates for everything from onboarding videos, to product demos, explainers, and more! Once selected, it’s as simple as uploading your screen recording then dragging and dropping your recording into the template.

Animoto’s online screen recorder also makes it easy to record, edit, and customize screen and webcam recordings all in the same place. Rather than having to jump between tools and upload your files, everything you need is in the same place.

For instructions on how to record your screen with Animoto, check out this blog. Otherwise, follow the steps below to learn how to turn your recordings into videos in minutes.

  • 1. Choose a video template or start from scratch: Choose from hundreds of free templates. You can always change the font, colors, music, and more to your liking.
  • 2. Upload your screen recordings and more (TIP: Create screen recordings in Animoto): If you already recorded your screen on your Mac, simply drag and drop the file into the media tab of your video workspace or select it from your files. You can also upload photos and other video clips of your own or choose from our media library to help tell your story. To create new screen and webcam recordings in Animoto, use this guide.
  • 3. Personalize your video with Animoto's editing tools: Crop and trim your screen recording to keep it concise and polished. You can also adjust the volume of your video’s audio, mute it, or add your own voice-overs or webcam recordings right in animoto. This guide will tell you everything you need to know to edit your screen recordings.
  • 4. Add text, change colors, and more: Now is the time to make your video your own! Add text next to your recordings, change the colors, and upload your logo to personalize your video.
  • 5. Download and share your video online: Once you’ve edited your video to perfection, share it with the world in a few clicks! You can post it on social media, embed it in an email, or send a link for sharing with Animoto’s integrated sharing tools.

Ask the screen recording pros

At Animoto, our goal is to make video-making easy for everyone. If you have any questions about how to record your screen or make your own professional video, check out the information on our blog. Or, reach out to our Customer Operations team for help and they’ll connect you with a video pro. Happy video making!

Screen recording on Mac FAQ

How do you screen record on Mac with audio?

Screenshot, Mac’s built-in screen recorder, automatically records device and microphone audio. You can always change this in your System Preferences.

For a complete guide to screen recording on a Mac with audio, check out this blog.

How long can you screen record on Mac?

There is no limit to recording your screen on a Mac. Maximum video lengths are only restricted by your device’s storage space.

How to stop screen recording on Mac?

If using the Screenshot tool, simply press the red “Stop” button on your screen or scroll bar. Pressing the escape key will also end your recording. To stop a recording in QuickTime, hit the Stop button.

Where do screen recordings go on Mac?

The default storage location for screen recordings on Mac is your desktop. However, you can change your storage location within the settings of the Screenshot tool.