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Record lectures or your screen using QuickTime on MacOS

Mac users can make use of two tools included with MacOS X for easily recording lecture slide presentations with voice over: the MacOS Built-In Screen Recorder and QuickTime Player. 

Note: Both options produce .mov video files that quickly become large, so we recommend breaking up longer lectures into smaller video segments (by some logical arrangement relevant to the topic) to make for easier uploading (smaller individual files) and easier watching/taking in of information.

Record your screen with built-in screen recorder

With MacOS Mojave and later, you can record your screen with or without audio by pressing ‘Command + Shift + 5’ to bring up screen recording options. You can capture a still image (screenshot), record the entire screen, or record a selected portion of the screen. 

You can open your lecture in PowerPoint (.pptx), Preview (.pdf) or Google Slides, then record only the slide area while accessing the rest of the screen area off-camera (to access slides, read notes, etc.).

Press ‘Command + Shift + 5’

The On-Screen Controls appear at the bottom of the screen, just above the Dock: 

  • Choose "Record Selected Portion"
  • Drag the corners of the selection box to fit your slide area.

On-Screen Controls

Click "Options" in the On-Screen Controls to change these settings:

  • Save to: Choose where your recordings are automatically saved, such as Desktop, Documents, or Clipboard. You can also Save to: QuickTime if you want to review and/or edit the video immediately in QuickTime Player.
  • Timer: Choose when to begin recording: immediately, 5 seconds, or 10 seconds after you click to record.
  • Microphone: To record your voice or other audio along with your recording, choose a microphone.
  • Show Floating Thumbnail: Choose whether to show the thumbnail. Showing the thumbnail after recording stops allows quick access to trim the video (does not apply if you opt to Save To: QuickTime).
  • Remember Last Selection: Choose whether to default to the selections you made the last time you used this tool. Enabling this option is useful when recording multiple short videos from a single, long presentation. 
  • Show Mouse Clicks: Choose whether to show a black circle around your pointer when you click in the recording.

Start Recording

Click the "Record" button to start recording. A small ‘Recording’ button will appear at the top.

Stop Recording

Click the "Recording" button at the top to stop recording.


Click the thumbnail that appears in the lower right corner immediately after recording stops.


If you wish to shorten the video clip at the start or end, click the "Trim" icon in the upper right corner of the Preview screen to display the timeline.

Click the handle (double vertical bars) at the start or end of the video clip in the timeline and drag to shorten.


When changes are complete, click the "Done" button at the top right of the Preview screen.

Screen recordings will be named ‘Screen Recording [DATE] at [TIME].mov’ and saved in the location specified in the On-Screen Control Options.

We recommend renaming the file to something descriptive (e.g. in this case ‘CAT101 Week 9: Kitten Care - Lecture’). If you wish to make other edits, such as splitting the video clip or appending another video clip, you can open the screen recording video clip in QuickTime Player.

Record yourself with QuickTime player

With the QuickTime Player app on most Macs, you can record video, audio, or your screen (with or without audio). QuickTime screen recording will record the entire screen without the option to record only a selected portion, so if your Mac is up-to-date enough that you have the Command + Shift + 5 option, that is a better method for screen recording if you wish to limit the recordable area.  

If you do not have the use of the Command + Shift + 5 option (e.g. you are using an older Mac) you should be able to use QuickTime to record your screen.  

If you want to record yourself addressing the class, you can use QuickTime Player’s Record Video option to do so quickly and easily.

  1. Go to the "Finder" and under "Applications" open "QuickTime Player"
  2. From the "File" menu select "New Movie Recording"
  3. Click the record button to start. 
  4. Click the stop-record button to stop.

Share audio and video using Google Drive

When you upload certain media files to Google Drive, it processes them in such a way that they can be played back right in the browser – sort of like YouTube. This is why we recommend uploading large media files to Google Drive instead of D2L Brightspace.