(Last Updated: March 20, 2020)

ActivePresenter is known to be an easy-to-use screen recorder, video editor, and powerful eLearning authoring tool. The integration of these useful functions in ActivePresenter allows you to quickly capture your screen and create eLearning content with just simple steps. In a word, working with ActivePresenter, you will walk through the procedure of recording, editing and exporting projects.

Record: Capture every action on the screen in any size and position with or without Full Motion.

Edit: Edit captured videos/slides. Import files (videos, images, etc.) and edit them with many powerful tools.

Export: Export your works to a wide variety of output formats such as videos (MP4, MKV, AVI, FLV, WebM, WMV), images, documents (Microsoft PowerPoint, Word, Excel, PDF) and HTML5. 

This guide is dedicated to those who have just been getting started with the latest version of ActivePresenter – ActivePresenter 8 which comes along with a lot of new features and enhancements. This guide covers basic as well as essential features that a newbie should know to not only get started but to get the most out of ActivePresenter 8. To be specific, this is a user-purpose oriented work, (guide for users who want to create interactive demonstrations and simulations or eLearning contents) so you will find the desired information depending on what you use ActivePresenter 8 for. 

This guide covers:

Record Screen

Create Interactive eLearning Contents

Record Screen

When you first launch the app, right on the Start Page, select Record Video for creating a video demonstration or Record Software Simulation for creating an interactive simulation. 

When you first launch the app, right on the Start Page, select Record Video for creating a video demonstration or Record Software Simulation for creating an interactive simulation.

These two recording options are also available in the editor. You can click the ActivePresenter button to select one of them and start recording a new project. Or, select them from the Home tab to capture the screen as one or multiple slides in the current project.

Record Video Demonstration

You can use ActivePresenter 8 to record on-screen actions to create a video demo to show how your products or services look like. A recorded project captures truthfully all live actions on the screen along with mouse and keyboard actions while you are interacting with the target application. ActivePresenter allows you to record narration, system audio and webcam, also.

For more information, see How to Record Video Demonstrations.

Record Software Simulation

Creating Software Simulation is a great way to show others how you practice an application or software engagingly and lively. Using this feature, you will have a project containing a series of slides describing how to achieve a specified purpose with the application you are capturing.

For more information, see How to Record Software Simulations.

Create Interactive eLearning Contents

On the other hand, if you want to create interactive eLearning contents, you may want to create a new blank project from scratch. Also, to make your content display perfectly on any devices with different screen sizes, Responsive design is here to help. Of course, you can still capture your screen and use it in eLearning projects when needed.

Now, let’s get started by clicking Blank Project and start your journey. ActivePresenter 8 will automatically open a new project with blank slides for you to add contents in.

A new project with blank slides for you to add contents in.

If you have related PowerPoint slides or images that you want to utilize in ActivePresenter, use Import PowerPoint or Image Project. Talking about this, ActivePresenter 8 lets you import PowerPoint slides into the ActivePresenter project that you are currently working with or as a completely new project. It can be easily done even if you do not have Microsoft PowerPoint installed on your system. Then you can edit them just like you are working on the ActivePresenter slides.

Record with ActivePresenter 8

Now, let’s come to the recording part in detail. Whether it’s a recording video demonstration or a software simulation, they share things in common:

Record Video Project dialog

Choose Capture Area

  • Choose to record your screen in either full or custom dimensions.
  • When it comes to custom dimensions, you can set any captured size by adjusting the capture frame size and position.
  • You can also choose one of many preset sizes that ActivePresenter offers.
  • Lock ActivePresenter capture frame to the recorded application if needed.
You can choose one of many preset sizes that ActivePresenter offers.

Record Audio and Webcam

Audio & Webcam section in Recording

Set Recording

  • For more recording settings, click the gear icon, then select Recording Settings. This option allows you to set audio and video, cursor, hotkeys, and annotations. See the tutorial: Working with Recording Settings Dialog if you want to learn more.

Note: Ensure to enable two options: Record Mouse Cursor and Make Cursor Editable for Full Motion Recording in the Cursor tab if you want to record mouse cursor and edit them after recording. However, the cursor effects are turned off by default. If you just want to record mouse cursor with default effects like cursor highlight, click-sound and click-effects, turn them on in the Cursor Effects section below. Moreover, the new option Theme Settings offered in ActivePresenter 8 enables you to record screen with custom cursor effects. That means you no longer need to manually change default cursor effects (if needed) after each recording time. If you want to record with custom cursor effects instead of the default ones, this option is a good choice. To know about how to do so, take a glance at Record Screen with Custom Cursor Effects.

Setting mouse cursor for recording.
  • When you finish all the settings, click the Record button to begin.

Finish Recording

  • When you finish recording, press hotkey Ctrl + End to stop.
  • Or you can access the ActivePresenter icon placed at the system tray of your screen, then click Stop in the dialog that appears.

For more information, see How to Start and Stop Recording in ActivePresenter 8

Edit with ActivePresenter 8

After finishing the record, ActivePresenter will automatically transfer your work into the workspace with a very clear and easy-to-navigate user interface.

ActivePresenter User Interface

After finishing the record, ActivePresenter will automatically transfer your work into the workspace with a very clear and easy-to-navigate user interface.
1. Tabbed Toolbar

Tabbed Toolbar is positioned at the top of the screen having many tabs. Each tab contains a group of relevant activities. Generally, most tabs like Home and Insert are visible all the time, except for some contextual tabs such as Format and Drawing. They only appear when you are working with a particular object which can be edited using special options. During the editing process, you will work mainly with the Insert and the Questions tab because they have almost tools and options to magnify your work.

  • Insert tab

You can insert any in the wide range of annotations into your projects such as shape, text caption, spotlight, and zoom-n-pan by clicking on the object icon that you wish.

The Insert tab helps you easily focus on objects which can be inserted into your project.

For example, a spotlight or a highlight is used to draw the audiences’ attention to a specific part of the screen while closed captions are added to make your video more explainable. In addition, you can use the Zoom-n-Pan tool to focus on a particular part of the screen instead of the whole one. All of them together will enhance your videos and make them look much more professional.

Besides, if you want to use the Picture in Picture effect in ActivePresenter, you can insert other videos into your captured one. By doing that, you could have your own video played while the recorded video is displaying to explain or to describe more visually what’s happening on the screen.

In addition, this tab also contains various types of interactive objects such as Mouse Click, Button, Check Box, and so on. They are helpful especially in creating contents that require user responses such as eLearning courses or interactive software simulations. Because those kinds of objects can interact with users in pre-specified manners. 

  • Questions tab
The Questions tab including all built-in interactive question types, tools, and commands allows you to create engaging eLearning quizzes with just a few clicks.

Quizzes play a vital role in every eLearning course. They may help make your course more exciting, thus increasing learners’ engagement. The Questions tab includes up to eleven different built-in interactive question types for your liking. ActivePresenter 8 also allows you to import external format-compatible questions from GIFT and CSV files. This is really helpful when you need to insert a large number of questions into your project at once. In general, this tab contains all question types, tools, and commands, giving you easy navigation to create engaging eLearning quizzes with just a few clicks. You can track and mark the learners’ results if needed as well. 

2. Quick Access Toolbar

It contains the New, Open, Save, Undo, and Redo commands.

3. Document tabs

Document tabs navigate between opening documents. Hover over this tab to view the location of the project file (displayed in a tooltip).

4. Slides pane

It is placed on the left of the screen. It contains all slides (each slide can be a step of the procedure or can be a video) that you created.

You can change the slide name and position, copy, paste, add new or remove slides from here with ease. The latter part of this article called Edit Captured Videos and Slides will indicate the way you can work with them.

5. Canvas

It is placed at the center of the working screen. It shows all the objects, captured scenes, and effects that you insert in.

On any occasion that you want to zoom in to see more clearly a specific part of the Canvas, you can use the zoom scale at the bottom right corner of the working screen. Or you can hold CTRL and scroll the mouse up/down to zoom in/out the Canvas, also. And click the Zoom Fit icon to have the Canvas fitted with the proper size of the editing screen.

6. Properties Pane

Properties pane is on the right side of the editing screen, containing all the attributes of the object(s) that you are working with, namely slides, shapes, images, videos, etc. For clarification, as soon as you select any shape on the Canvas, the Properties pane will show all the attributes of that shape in terms of color, style, timing and transition effect, etc. Just access the attribute that you want to adjust and change it from here.

7. Timeline Pane

It is located at the bottom of the working screen. It shows all the objects of the slide that are displaying on the Canvas along with their timeline bars. Note that Multiple Timelines are available.

Timeline pane shows all the objects of the slide that are displaying on the Canvas along with their timeline bars.

The Playhead shows the current timestamp of the objects that are displayed on the Canvas. It has a green Start Marker and yellow End Marker; you can drag them along the Timeline to select a range. After that, you can apply any command (such as cut, crop, insert freeze-time, etc.) to that selected range.

You can zoom in/out the Timeline to work more easily and exactly with objects and their timestamp. Just click the Zoom in/Zoom out/Zoom Fit icon. Or you can hold CTRL while scrolling the mouse up/down to zoom in/out. Also, right-click in the Timeline and select Waveform Bar Height to set it larger.

NOTE: When you specify a range without selecting any object, ActivePresenter will automatically apply the command you choose to that range along with all the objects inside.

On the other hand, if you select a range, and select one or some objects, the commands you use will, in fact, apply to that range along with those selected objects only. Other unselected objects will not be affected.

8. Status Bar

The Status Bar is at the bottom of the editor. It shows the status of the current project. In addition, this bar also offers certain functions.

Edit Captured Videos and Slides

ActivePresenter 8 supports two themes for you, namely the Light theme and the Dark theme, to customize your look and feel when editing. You can choose either of two themes by going to the View tab > UI Theme

The dark theme displays dark surfaces across the majority of a UI.

As said above, the captured videos and slides will be placed in the Slides pane on the left side of the editing screen. In order to have another slide viewed on the Canvas, just click to select it in the Slide Pane. As soon as you select the new slide, the Canvas will show that one and you just need to add contents in.

Added to that, you can insert any video and audio file with different formats from your computer in ActivePresenter to edit. That means you won’t need any other supplementary software to edit videos anymore. Below are some of the most usually used options that a beginner should know.

1. Copy, Cut, Delete Slides

In creating a simulation, a slide may be a step of a procedure that you have made. There are possibilities that you made mistakes in some steps and you need to do something without affecting other parts of the project. Luckily, you can copy, cut, or delete slides containing those steps.

Hold CTRL while clicking to select multiple slides and copy, cut, or delete multiple of them at once.

2. Split a Slide

It’s easy to split a slide into different smaller slides. First, choose the timestamp where you want to split the slide, then click the Split Slide icon.

Remember that all the objects (shapes, images, videos, etc.) in the original slide will also be split at the timestamp that you choose. The latter part of the split slide will be moved to a new separate slide.

See this tutorial: Split and Merge Slides for more details.

3. Change Slide Position/Order

Normally, ActivePresenter arranges all slides in the Slides Pane in the order of recording steps that you have made, however, you can still change that sequence by simply clicking and dragging the slides up or down to new positions.

4. Cut, Delete, Copy Video Ranges

In recording a video demonstration, you may want to delete some captured video parts that don’t contain needed information or parts that you made mistakes. Select that range and click the Cut or Delete icon. The selected range will be deleted, and the remaining parts will be automatically joined together.

Similarly, if you want to copy any range of the captured video, just select that range and click the Copy Range icon. After copying the range, you can paste it in the same slide containing the original video or a new slide by simply clicking CTRL+ V.

For more information, see our tutorial about advanced video editing: How to Cut, Copy, Delete or Crop Range.

5. Split and Join Videos

ActivePresenter allows you to split a video into as many parts as you want. And vice versa, you can join many pieces of videos into a single video. Select the timestamp and click Split or Join icon.  

You can refer to the tutorial How to Split and Join Videos to have a closer look at how to do that.

6. Insert Time to Videos

This tool is critically helpful when you want to have more freeze time for your videos so that you can add some clarifications or explanations.

To do that, select the range and click the Insert Time icon and specify the duration in the pop-up dialog.

The Insert Time tool is critically helpful when you want to have more freeze time for your videos so that you can add some clarifications or explanations on.

For more information, see How to Freeze a Frame.

NOTE: ActivePresenter will insert time at the position of the Playhead, so you should place it at the target timestamp.

7. Blur Moving Objects in Videos

Hiding sensitive information, even if it’s moving, is not difficult with ActivePresenter. Select video range containing object/information that you want to hide, then click the Insert Blur Area icon and specify blur duration.

Blur Moving Objects in Videos

With the moving object, you will need to add more keyframes to blur it exactly. We have a detailed tutorial about How to Blur Moving Objects in Videos, let’s come and take a look.

NOTE: Ensure to select the video object whether on the Canvas or in the Timeline pane to enable the blur effect feature. Otherwise, the blur icon will not be available to use.

8. Focus on Objects with Zoom-n-Pan

The Zoom-n-Pan is very useful when you want to draw your audiences’ attention to a specific part of the screen. Normally, you should insert one Zoom-n-Pan to zoom in, and insert another Zoom-n-Pan (scale to cover the whole screen) to zoom back to normal size.

After the Zoom-n-Pan appears on the Canvas, you can drag one of four green handles to adjust the zoom scale.

After the Zoom-n-Pan appears on the Canvas, you can drag one of four green handles to adjust the zoom scale.

Let’s come and check out the tutorial How to Use Zoom-n-Pan for more details.

9. Change Video Speed

When creating projects, there may be some parts of the recorded video containing unimportant information like the downloading process. So, you want to speed it up. Doing this will not only decrease the output time duration but also increase the viewers’ experiences. On the contrary, you can also slow it down when there is any part that you want viewers to take a careful look.

Select the video part and click the Change Playback Speed icon. Then specify the desired speed in the pop-up dialog. Whatever number which is greater than 100 will make your video play faster and vice versa. Of course, you can change the speed of the whole video. In that situation, click the video to select it instead of selecting a specified video range.

Change video/audio playback speed.

Whenever you want to come back to the original speed, check the Reset to original speed checkbox.

The How to Change Video Speed tutorial features all needed and detailed steps to work with that, come to check it if needed.

10. Change Audio/Video Volume

Like changing the video speed, you can increase or decrease the volume for the whole video or just some parts of it.

Select video range and click the Adjust Volume icon then scale it the way you want.

Like changing the video speed, you can increase or decrease the volume for the whole video or just some parts of it.

Let’s come to see more clearly how it works in the tutorial about How to Adjust Volume for Audio and Video.

11. Fade in/out Background Music

Fade in and fade out is a useful feature that helps to smooth the beginning and end of an audio track. You can also apply this effect to a video containing audio. You just need to specify and select an audio/video range then click the Audio Fade In/Out icon.

For more information, refer to How to Use Audio Fade In/Fade Out.

12. Reduce Audio Noise

After recording audio or webcam, you may want to eliminate unwanted background noise like electric fans, hums, or honking of horns. ActivePresenter offers a feature: Audio noise reduction to help you deal with that.

You can apply audio noise reduction to a certain range of an audio track or to the entire track. There are two steps you need to perform to apply this effect to your audio track:

The first step is to get a noise profile. Specify the range that contains only background noise so that ActivePresenter can identify the noise. Then, click the arrow next to the Audio Noise Reduction button to select Get Noise Profile.

The second step is to reduce noise. Specify the range or the audio track you want to apply the effect. Next, click the Audio Noise Reduction button to adjust the noise reduction controls in the Noise Reduction dialog. Then click OK to finish.

Click the Audio Noise Reduction button to adjust the noise reduction controls in the Noise Reduction dialog.

Note: You may have to try the effect several times for the audio range that contains inconstant noise like talking or music.

For more information, take a look at our tutorial: How to Use Audio Noise Reduction.

13. Add Closed Caption to Video

Needless to say, Closed Caption plays a vital role in creating videos. Using it, users will have the capability to understand the videos even when they are in a noise restricted area, or in case the narration language is not their mother tongue.

In order to have a Closed Caption, click the Insert Caption icon and type in the Closed Caption editor that appears on the Canvas.

Closed caption object in Timeline pane.

In ActivePresenter, you can have as many Closed Captions as you want. However, they display in order of time, so there is only one Closed Caption that can be shown at one time. The tutorial How to Add Closed Captions is now available on our tutorial page, check it out to see clearly about working with closed captions.

In addition, you are able to add as many languages as you want for a closed caption. The audience then can toggle between languages of their choice through a CC button in the player. It is helpful when your content is conveyed in different languages other than just one language. For more details, let’s take a look at Add Multiple Languages for Closed Captions.

Add Mouse Cursor Effects for Captured Video

After capturing your screen, the video contains a recorded mouse cursor. You can add its attributes such as cursor shape, color, mouse click sound, and effect. This will help a lot in drawing the audience attention to your mouse movement on the screen hence making it easier for them to keep track of the contents. To do that, you can come to the Cursor Effects section in the Properties pane and change the attributes you want.

You can come to the Cursor Effects section in the Properties pane and change the attributes you want.

If the information above is not detailed enough for you, then you can refer to the tutorial Change Mouse Cursor and Mouse Clicks in Captured Videos to see more details.

Export with ActivePresenter 8

Finally, let’s export your projects to appropriate output formats.

Export your projects to appropriate output formats.

As being shown in the Export tab above, ActivePresenter 8 offers you many types of output formats among which you can choose the one that meets your requirements.

As an illustration, while video must be the target output for those who create video demos or video tutorials, HTML5 Simulation (with SCORM and Tin Can API supported) will be the target format for those who create interactive eLearning contents.

Now that I have walked you through all the basic and essential features of ActivePresenter 8. Hope that you find this guide helpful and it saves you some time in recording as well as creating eLearning projects. Give ActivePresenter 8 a try and see how it can boost your productivity at work.