Camtasia 8 is a screen recording and video editing software package that makes it easy to record your content and create videos.

Camtasia 8 allows you to easily record your PowerPoint presentations with voice narration to create a Learn Now video. You can also use Camtasia 8 to incorporate photos, graphics, and video clips into a web video.

Before you Begin Recording

If you're already at the point of recording, your slides should be ready and you should have a clear idea of what you're going to say when you record. Make a script to ensure that you stay on topic and communicate your concepts clearly. However, when reading your script, remember that you are trying to engage your audience, not just read the text.

Know which Camtasia software you have. There are currently two versions of Camtasia: Camtasia 8 and Camtasia 9. If you are unsure of which version you have, go to your "Start" menu and click "All Programs;" find a folder labeled "TechSmith." The Camtasia program will be inside the TechSmith folder. If you have Camtasia 9, you will need to follow the instruction for Camtasia 9.

If you need the recording tools, you can request Camtasia software and a headset with microphone.

Once you request Camtasia, if you are on the Ag Sci network, it will be pushed out to your computer directly, and you'll see the Camtasia icon in your Start Programs and on your desktop.

If you have questions, contact the Digital Education Learn Now consultant:

Christopher Coyne:


Note that these instructions and video reference Camtasia 8 for Windows. If you are using Camtasia 8 on a Mac, please contact the Digital Education Learn Now consultant directly for support.

Using the PowerPoint Add-in with Camtasia 8

Camtasia 8 includes a PowerPoint add-in that lets you record directly from within PowerPoint. It is very easy to use, so we recommend you start there.

The first time you open PowerPoint after Camtasia 8 has been installed, you'll see a pop-up window that welcomes you to the PowerPoint add-in.

Camtasia PowerPoint add-in screen shot

Behind the pop-up, you'll see a short presentation by Camtasia that introduces the features of the add-in. Take a few minutes to review the new features and options.

PowerPoint Add-in Settings: On the PowerPoint Add-in tab, click the Camtasia Studio Add-in options button to display the Camtasia Studio Add-in Options window and select the following settings:

Camtasia PPT Add-In Settings screen shot

  • Start recording paused: This lets you make final audio adjustments and choose when to start recording.
  • Edit in Camtasia studio when finished: This will open your recording in Camtasia studio automatically so you can review it.
  • Record audio: This will record your voice narration from your microphone. Under the microphone selection, be sure to select the plug-in headset that you are using, not the system microphone on your laptop or desktop. If you are using the headset supplied with your Camtasia Request, you should choose "Dynex USB Audio Device."
  • Capture System audio: This should be unchecked, so that your computer's sounds are not picked up.

Prepare to Record

Be sure you are in a quiet environment without background noise or distractions. Close all other computer applications (especially email notifications), turn off your phone, and close the door. Be mindful of whether your mouse makes a clicking sound as you advance your presentation; you may want to consider using your space bar instead.

Have your outline, script, or your clear ideas ready. If you're using a document, try to lay out your pages to minimize the sound of rustling paper. If you have dual monitors, don't read off the second monitor, as scrolling may disrupt the PowerPoint recording.

Do a Test Recording

A test recording will ensure you get a quality product on your first attempt. Check your volume level by clicking the "Record" button on the PowerPoint Add-ins tab. Camtasia recorder will open in the lower corner of your PowerPoint in presentation mode.

Watch your audio levels as you speak a sentence or two into your microphone. Drag the volume slider to adjust your input until your speaking registers at a volume right in the middle.

Camtasia Microphone Recording screen shot

Now, you can begin a test recording. Press the red "Record" button on the Camtasia recorder to begin the recording. Read a couple of sentences in a conversational, engaging and interesting tone of voice, and use a reasonable pace. Then press the stop button to stop the recording.

Save your test files in a folder you have created for Camtasia projects, then select the option to "Edit your recording". Your presentation will automatically open in Camtasia Studio.

Play your video by pressing the space bar, and listen to how the audio sounds. Look at the audio track at the bottom of the screen and ensure that the audio waveform is in the middle of the track. If it is not, change your volume levels up or down and do another test recording. You may need to practice a few times to get a tone, speed and volume that you like.

Record Your Presentation

Click on the Add-ins tab in PowerPoint and click "Record." The Camtasia recorder will open in the lower corner of your PowerPoint in presentation mode.

Press the red "Record" button on the Camtasia recorder and wait for the recording to begin.

Narrate your script in a conversational tone as you advance through your PowerPoint slides.

If you make a mistake, take a breath, collect your thoughts, and go back to a good starting point in your script to begin again. You can use the "P" key on your keyboard to go back to a previous slide if necessary. It is very easy to remove these mistakes during editing, so try as many takes as you need to get it right.

When you are finished, stop the recording by hitting "Esc" or the stop button, choose "save and edit" and the recording will open in Camtasia Studio for you to review.

Edit Your Presentation

If you made a mistake while recording, it is easy to edit that out. Use the Space bar to play your video, and you can zoom in for a more detailed view by using the slider just above the tracks.

Locate the section that you would like to remove, and drag the playhead to that area. You can create markers on the timeline by hitting the "M" key at the beginning and end of the section. Listen again to be sure the markers are where they need to be, and adjust as necessary by dragging them along the timeline. Drag the playhead's green and red start and end points to match your markers, then click the scissors icon to cut that section of the recording.

Camtasia Zoom and Cut screen shot

Play it again to be sure everything looks and sounds ok. If not, you can use Edit>Undo to try again. Remember to zoom in if you need more precision in your cuts.

Enhance Your Video Recording

To add visual interest, you may wish to apply call-outs which allow you to add captions, labels, highlighting, text, shapes and more to your video.

Move the playhead to the place you want to add a call-out. Go to the call-outs tab, select a shape, and double-click to add it to the timeline on a separate track.

You can adjust the size, shape, and position of the call-out in the preview window, and you can format the color, border and text that you want to display.

You can also adjust the length of time the call-out appears in your video by adjusting it in the timeline track.

Save Your Presentation

When you save your presentation, it will create a .campproj file. When you submit your file to your Technical Communications Specialist for review, you should use the "Export project as .zip" option under the File menu. This will bundle together all of your media clips, callouts and edits that you've made so that the Digital Education team can make any final adjustments to your recording. (Note: Please do not attempt to zip the .campproj file or .mp4 file outside of Camtasia, because it will not save all of the needed files to the .zip file.)

Camtasia Export as Zip screen shot

A note about file size: Camtasia 8 files can get quite large. In order to not jam your network connection, save your projects in progress locally to a non-networked folder on your own computer, and then back them up to your Box account periodically. Before you begin, make sure you have enough storage space available on your own machine or external storage.

Once you have exported your Camtasia project to a .zip file, submit it to the Learn Now consultant through the Submit your Learn Now Video form. The Learn Now consultant will produce and upload your video to the video host site for embedding in a webpage or online training course.

Additional Training

Camtasia Studio 8 Essential Training is offered through Lynda, which delivers training on software, graphics and technology that is freely accessible to all Penn State students, staff and faculty. This training features short videos addressing specific functions, making it easy to quickly get up to speed.

Camtasia also offers short video tutorials covering specific topics on everything from getting started to more advanced features.

If you have questions, contact the Digital Education Learn Now consultant:

Christopher Coyne: