So, you want the best screen capture apps for Chrome OS so you can record your screen easily (and for free).
Look no further.
Thankfully, this is very easy to do with these select apps. You can use these screen recorders on any Chrome OS device- including Chromebooks.
Capturing your screen serves many purposes, including:
- Record a tutorial or guide
- Hold a conference (CEOs)
- Give a presentation (students)
- Delivery a sales pitch (startups)
- Tutor a student (teachers)
- Give a walkthrough of your business plan (managers)
- Show off a mockup of your website (developers)
- Get help troubleshooting (customer service)
- Or even just play some Minecraft or Runescape gameplay (gamers)
You can capture your display with ease using apps available on the Chrome Web Store. That’s the best part about Chrome OS- there’s an app for nearly anything you could want.
Chrome OS doesn’t have any desktop capture software built-in natively, so we’ll have to use an app. There are many apps that advertise that they work, but only a handful actually work well (and that are free).
I’ve done all the hard work and sorted through all the “crap.” Here’s the good stuff.
(This tutorial is written as if you’re trying to find a screen recorder for your Chromebook. If you’re on another device, it doesn’t matter. These screen capture apps work on any device running Chrome OS.)
Last updated: 5/2/17.
How to record your Chromebook’s screen
In this tutorial, we’ll use the app called Screencastify. It’s pretty much the most popular screen recorder for Chrome OS on the store and works wonders compared to other similar apps, although they’re not all bad.
Screencastify has both a paid and free version. The free version lets you record up to 10 minutes per video and 50 videos per month. You also can’t do a few other things like export your videos as .MP4 and certain editing tools are locked. There’s also a small watermark on your videos. Given that these may be some less-than-favorable features, you can still capture your screen with excellent quality.
It’s easy to use and easy to setup. If you have no experience in this kind of stuff, you’ll like it the app.
It had the best quality out of all the apps I’ve tried thus far, so it’s the one I’d recommend if you want to capture your display without messing around with outputs, lag, or terribly quality recordings. You can also use many built-in tools, such as markers and color adjustments. The free version has a plentiful assortment of features that should be fine for most users looking to record a session on their laptop.
However, if you don’t mind these limitations, then you’re good to go. If you need some of these features, consider purchasing the app, or hunting down another one. Most apps don’t offer these features anyway. It’s unlikely there’s one that does everything in good quality and is free to use. (If you happen to find one, let me know in the comments.)
Regardless, you can get by using the free version without having to pay for it, as it works for most intents and purposes. Not to mention it integrates and works perfectly with Chromebooks. So no issues there.
So, without further delay, here’s how to record and capture your Chromebook’s screen with ease and in a pinch.
Step 1: Get Screencastify
First, we’ll download Screencastify from the Chrome web store. Click on the “apps” button in the top left of your bookmarks toolbar in your Chrome web browser, and search for it in the store. Or you can simply click here to download and install it to Chrome.
Feel free to read the reviews about the app if you’re the paranoid type (like me). You can do this on the app page and see that it’s reputable and trusted by many. This is good enough for me.
Step 2: Launch Screencastify
You can launch the app by pressing the Finder key (the magnifying glass). This is where the “Caps Lock” key usually is on a traditional QWERTY keyboard. After you press the key, you may see it in your apps library, or you can search for it using the search bar. Either way, just launch the app.
Step 3: Capture your screen or desktop
After you launch the app, you can choose whether to capture your entire screen or a single tab. Go ahead and play around with the settings and set your preferences using the options menu. Get familiar with it and mess around a bit. I can’t provide specific instructions as everyone is using it to record for their own project, so set it up to record best for whatever you’re doing.
For example, if you’re recording a presentation, you may want to set it to do a full page screen capture, and then have the video saved to your local disk as an .MP4 file for easy viewing later.
Or if you’re recording a gameplay video for a YouTube Let’s Play, you may want to capture the recording and export it to YouTube using the exporter function.
Whatever you’re recording, adjust the settings to your liking. If you don’t know what you’re doing, search for help online, or just leave it as default.
Step 4: Export or save your recordings
After you’re doing recording, Screencastify will automatically save your video as a .GIF or .MP4 file to your local disk so you can easily retrieve it later. You can also export it to YouTube with a single click, though I wouldn’t do this as I’d personally verify everything about the recording before I publish it on YouTube. But that’s just me. You can easily do whatever you’d like with your video. The app makes it a cinch.
You can also save it to your Google Drive account directly as well so you can access and view your recordings from your smartphone, tablet, other computer/laptop, or even your TV. Saving to Drive is a huge timesaver for people who use it. I find that the best feature.
Being able to record and then have it uploaded to your Drive account means you can view it anywhere without a hitch.
This is useful for those who are on-the-go and have no time to upload a file and give someone else the link to access it.
Congrats, you’ve just captured your desktop. You did it.
Chrome screen recorder alternatives (free)
Sometimes, the app doesn’t do enough for you. Or maybe you’re looking for something else with different features.
That’s why I’ve included some alternatives to Screencastify. These are both free to use and offer a different feature set.
Take a look and see if they’re what you’re looking for. They’re made for different purposes, so choose accordingly for your own use.
- Opentest is a very decent screen capture for Chrome OS that allows you to share your display via URL. So it’s basically like Google Hangouts or Skype, where you can share your screen with someone else. It has the ability to capture video your front webcam, display, or tab only. The good part is that it’s 100% free- you can record unlimited video and export it anywhere as you’d like. I just found that the quality wasn’t as good as Screencastify. Give it a try if you need a free screen recorder for Chrome OS. If this is what you’re looking for, check out and download Opentest.
- Viewedit is another Chrome screen capture app that can record and share your display simultaneously. It’s mainly used for real-time communication, such as tutoring, presenting, or conferences. Although it can record video and save it, I found that it’s geared towards sharing videos with others in a live session. It’s basically like Skype or Google Hangouts, just like Opentest. The best part is that if you’re looking for a desktop sharing app for your Chromebook, Viewedit is a good choice. You can even share your screen and webcam at the same time, which is a cool feature. It’s also 100% free to use as well. Check out Viewedit.
Improving the quality of your recordings
If the quality is suffering, you can improve it by making some adjustments. Try going through the settings and adjusting them to better match your device’s specs.
For example, if you don’t need a full page recording, then don’t use it. It uses up more processing power to do so. You can easily snap and crop a portion of the page rather than the whole thing.
Another thing is that fi you have a weaker model, try using lower settings to get a better experience. If you have a more powerful model, feel free to tweak up the settings to get a quality playback.
Were you successful in capturing your Chromebook’s display?
Well, that’s about it. I found Screencastify the easiest app to use for capturing the display on my Chromebook.
There were other apps I tried, but they were either very limited or had horrible quality. Some even lagged it like crazy because they were resource hogs.
But if you happen to find a better screen recorder, let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading.