Screencasting Tools

Market overview of recommendable tools for creating software demos (so-called screencasts). Software demos are not only used for marketing purposes on web sites, but also as standalone tutorials or embedded within online help files and other sorts of software documentation.

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Tip: Also see the checklist in Choosing a Screencasting Tool.



If there’s anything like a Swiss Army knife among the authoring systems for software demos, then it’s Captivate. The program offers a scope of functions that’s by far the largest, especially with regard to quiz functions and branching scenarios. Among its strengths are flexible customization of the output, smooth translatability (XML export and reimport), and attractive results. Currently Captivate is the only screencasting tool that comes with text-to-speech voices. On the downside are Captivate’s poor documentation and slow update cycle.

Price: approx. €970 or €430 per year

Demo Builder

Lying hidden behind an uncluttered user interface are more features than you’d guess at first sight. Despite the affordable price, there are hardly any requirements that DemoBuilder doesn’t meet. Texts can be exported to Microsoft Word for translation and then be reimported. DemoBuilder is straightforward, simple, and efficient to use. Another key advantage is that it’s particularly easy to update existing demos when there is a new version of the demonstrated product.

Price: approx. $199

Camtasia Studio

One of the most popular screencasting tools. Its approach is purely full-motion based, which makes it somewhat difficult to update existing movies. Camtasia supports a large number of output formats and is available for Windows and for the Mac.

Price: approx. $300


ViewletBuilder was one of the first screencasting tools on the market, and is. It’s one of the few programs that are available for Linux and Mac as well. All important features are available. Comprehensive event control. Text can be exported to XML for translation and then reimported again.

Price: approx. $399 (“Professional”) and $599 (“Enterprise”)


Follows a completely full-motion based approach, which makes it difficult to update existing demos. The built-in autoscroll function can automatically ensure that regions where interaction is happening are displayed in the center. Easy to use.

Price: approx. $89 (“Standard”) and $199 (“Professional”); there’s also a free “Express” version available that lacks editing and annotation features


Unlike the other products listed here, Mimic focuses very specifically on the needs of technical documentation. Unique features are the possibility of using variables while working with texts, and the possibility to use individual scenes several times over, even in different projects.

Price: approx. $299

Scate Ignite

Provides a rich set of features and creates demos with good navigational aids.

Price: approx. $500 (“Standard”) and $1000 (“Professional”)


Presentation tool to create Video or Adobe Flash interactive simulations. SCORM compatible.

Price: approx. $199 (“Standard”) and $299 (“Professional”); there’s also a free version available that exports image files and video files, but not any interactive content.

Gif Recorder

Basic screencasting tool dedicated to the GIF format. Comes with a jQuery implementation to start and stop the animations and to play audio files in sync.

Price: approx. $30


Full-motion based. From the same manufacturer as TurboDemo.

Price: approx. €169 (“Basic”) and €249 (“Enterprise”)


Price: approx. $119

Game Cam

Screen cam designed to work especially with video games that use DirectX and OpenGL.

Price: approx. $30


One of the market leaders for the Mac.

Price: approx. $99


Another well-known audio and video recorder for the Mac.

Price: approx. $79


Basic screen recording software.

Price: approx. $29


Multi-camera capture software

Price: approx. £199

Snapz Pro X

Records anything on your screen and saves it as QuickTime movie or screenshot.

Price: approx. $69

Screen Mimic

Screen recorder that can save to Adobe Flash (SWF), Flash Video (FLV), and QuickTime (MOV) files.

Price: approx. $65


Wirelessly mirrors an iPad or iPhone to a PC or Mac so that you can take screen captures.

Price: approx. $13


Produces screencasts exclusively in Adobe Flash format. Editor lacks a timeline, therefore the flexibility is limited.

Price: free (freeware)


Records screen activities to AVI and Flash. Hardly any options to edit the movies. No interaction and no animation possible.

Price: free (open source)


Creates Flash recordings of the desktop and lets you add voice commentary, webcam videos, and text.

Price: free (open source)


Doesn’t create full-featured screencasts but small animated screen captures (animated GIF).

Price: free (open source)


Available for both Windows and Mac.

Price: free (freeware)

Debut Video Capture

Records from webcam, screen, or video input device. You can also add text captions.

Price: free basic version for noncommercial use; “Plus” version approx. $30


Works from your web browser without installation.

Price: free (adds watermark); “Pro” version approx. $15 per year


Basic screencasting application for Linux.

Price: free (open source)


Basic recording software written in Java. Saves to the QuickTime MOV format.

Price: free (open source)


Basic screencasting tool on Linux.

Price: free (open source)


Cross-platform screen recording tool for UNIX, Windows, and Mac. Captures a VNC desktop session (either on your own screen or on a remote computer) and saves as a Flash Video file (FLV).

Price: free (open source)

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This page was last updated 06/2015


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