(Last Updated: May 15, 2020)

ActivePresenter is 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.

This guide is dedicated to those who have just been getting started with 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. Thanks to that, they are able not only to get started easily but to get the most out of ActivePresenter 8. To be specific, this is a user-purpose oriented work. That means guiding for users who want to create video demos, interactive simulations, or eLearning contents. So, you will find the desired information depending on what you use ActivePresenter 8 for. 

This guide covers:

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

Record Video Demonstrations

Record Videos

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

Record video demonstration with ActivePresenter 8
  • (1) Capture any on-screen action in the recording area (record full screen or custom screen).
  • (2) Record screen and webcam simultaneously or separately. 
  • (3) Record system audio & audio from microphone simultaneously when recording screen.

For more information, see Record Video Demonstrations.

Edit Videos/Audio in Timeline

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

ActivePresenter 8 has a rich-featured editing timeline. That is, the Timeline pane, located at the bottom of the working screen, is where most powerful video/audio editing tools and features come in handy. You can apply commands to the whole selected object or just a specific range of that object.

Select Range and Objects in Timeline
Select range and object in Timeline.

The Playhead shows the current timestamp of the objects displaying on the Canvas. That is, 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, change speed, etc.) to that selected range.

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. 

Video/Audio Editing Tools in Timeline

Let’s take a look at video/audio editing operations in details: 

Edit video/audio in Timeline

(4) Cut, copy, delete and crop the selected range of any objects in the Timeline. 

(5) Insert Time: Add more freeze time for your videos so that you can add some clarifications or explanations.

(6) Split and Join Videos: Split a video into several parts or join multiple videos into one.

(7) Change Playback Speed: Speed up or slow down the playback speed of the whole video or specific parts of it.

(8) Insert Blur Area: Hide sensitive information in videos by blurring moving and static (non-moving) objects. 

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.

(9) Adjust Volume: Increase or decrease the volume for the whole audio/video or just some parts of it. 

(10) Audio Fade In/Out: Make the audio gradually increase or decrease the signal level. It’s useful especially in smoothing the beginning and end of an audio track.

(11) Audio Noise Reduction: Help fine-tune audio by eliminating unwanted background noise like electric fans, hums, or honking of horns.

(12) Audio Normalization: Apply a constant amount of gain to an audio recording to bring the amplitude to a target level (the norm). For example, you can normalize audio during the recording phase when you cannot speak at the same volume level.

You can zoom in/out the Timeline to work more easily and exactly with objects and their timestamp. The easiest way is to 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.

Enrich Videos with Annotations and Effects

Apart from basic editing tools mentioned above, ActivePresenter 8 also offers a wide range of annotations that help you enhance your videos. You are free to use them to add further notes, comments, explanations, or information to your videos. It can be listed as Shapes, Text Captions, Spotlight, Zoom-n-Pan, Closed Captions, and more. Let’s come and check out the tutorial Annotation Objects in ActivePresenter 8 for more details.

Along with annotations, ActivePresenter 8 also rolls out advanced green screen effect for videos as well as a lot of eye-catching animation effects. Let’s take full advantage of these effects to make your videos more attractive and profesional.

Record Software Simulations

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.

Record software simulation with ActivePresenter 8

Recording software simulation shares the same options as recording video demonstration. Except for Webcam is not available while recording Software Simulation. This option is available for Record Video only.

As a result, all actions on the screen will be converted into a slide-based project including:

  • Image slides (mouse click, key stroke);
  • Video slides (mouse scroll, drag-n-drop). 

For more information, see Record Software Simulations.

After recording simulation, a slide in your project may be a step of a procedure that you have made. You can freely edit these slides the way you want. This will be mentioned in the next part of this tutorial. 

Create Interactive eLearning Contents

Create New Blank Project

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 and flex boxes are here to help. Of course, you can still capture your screen and use it in eLearning projects when needed.

Now, let’s start your journey by clicking Blank Project. 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. In other words, 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.

Edit Slides

  • Copy, Cut, Delete Slides: Hold CTRL while clicking to select multiple slides and copy, cut, or delete multiple of them at once.
  • Split and Merge Slide: It’s easy to split a slide into different smaller slides as well as merge multiple slides into one. See this tutorial: Split and Merge Slides for more details.
  • Change Slide Position/Order: Change the order of slides by simply clicking and dragging the slides up or down to new positions.
  • Add Slide Transition Effects: ActivePresenter 8 offers a wide range of slide transitions that indicates the end of one slide and the beginning of another. All come in handy in the Transitions tab.
Add slide transition effects in the Transitions tab

Create Interactive eLearning Contents

With ActivePresenter 8, you are free to create your own stunning and attractive eLearning courses, eLearning games, and interactive quizzes. 

(1) Add content with annotations

Create consistent visual design for the whole course with beautiful themes and templates. In addition, you can make your courses more informative by inserting a variety of annotation objects in the Insert tab such as Text Captions, Images, Videos, Audio, YouTube videos, Web objects, and so on. 

Create eLearning content with ActivePresenter 8

(2) Create interactive quizzes

ActivePresenter 8 currently supports you to create 11 types of interactive questions with a few clicks. You can use quizzes to test learners’ knowledge. All of them are available in the Questions tab.

Insert built-in 11 question types or import external questions in the Insert tab.

Besides, within ActivePre senter 8, it is available for you to import hundreds of questions from GIFT files and CSV files into your course at once. Just go to the Questions tab and click From File.

(3) Create random questions in a quiz

Using slide pools and random slides is a great way to create random questions in a quiz. These can help:

  • Randomize questions in online quizzes;
  • Create several different versions of the same quiz;
  • Keep quizzes from being predictable.

(4) Track and review all graded questions in a course

At the end of a course or presentation, it is necessary to insert a Report Slide to review learners’ performance. A report slide allows you to track and review all graded questions in a course. To do that, you need to go to the Home or Insert tab > New Slide > Report Slide. It also can be found in the Questions tab.

Track and review all graded questions in a course by inserting a Report Slide.

(5) Create advanced interactivity

Use events – actions, conditional and advanced actions, variables, and Javascript API to create highly interactive quizzes, courses, and games. ActivePresenter allows you to add interactivity for different kinds of objects by adding events – actions to them. Objects can be slides, questions, or any kind of objects that you can find in the Insert tab.

In general, interactivity comes by default with interaction objects such as Button, Text Entry, Drop Area, and more. Interaction objects are special objects designed to respond to users’ actions in the predefined manner.

Besides, you can also add events – actions to even annotation objects to make them interactive as you expected.

Export Projects

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, video must be the target output for those who create video demos or video tutorials. ActivePresenter 8 supports exporting your captured videos to various popular video formats such as MP4, AVI, MKV, WebM, and WMV. Moreover, you are enabled to export your project as a video and upload it to YouTube directly from ActivePresenter.

Document formats (PDF, MS Word, MS Excel, and MS PowerPoint) are desired for those who want to create training manuals.

Meanwhile, HTML5 (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. So, give ActivePresenter 8 a try and see how it can boost your productivity at work.