(Last Updated: March 1, 2017)

Either you are a teacher, a course creator, an engineer or a professional in your work, probably you have created presentations, demonstrations or training materials sometimes. ActivePresenter can help you to create these materials easily and quickly with just a few clicks. For example, you want to make a tutorial that guides everyone the way to install an add-on for Firefox step by step. Let’s start capturing Firefox by using Smart Capture method, and then perform actions in Firefox as you normally do. When you are done, just stop capturing, a project with sequential slides that describe your actions (where you clicked, what you typed…) is created for you. Does it sound interesting? Let’s continue this tutorial to get familiar with Smart Capture in ActivePresenter.

What is Smart Capture?

Smart Capture is the most commonly used recording method in ActivePresenter. With Smart Capture method, screenshots are captured when there is an input from your mouse or keyboard. Each time you click a mouse or press a key, ActivePresenter captures a screenshot, and also generates necessary objects to illustrate your action. The screenshot as well as objects of each step are placed in one slide. The overall capture process produces a rich content demonstration or interactive simulation which contains sequential slides.

Captured Slides

Captured Slides

When should I use Smart Capture?

Smart Capture should always be used except that you want to record the motion effects exactly (movement of the mouse, resizing of windows, video or animated content, etc…)

How to capture an application using Smart Capture method?

ActivePresenter can capture entire screen, a specific area on the screen or a running application window. In this tutorial, we pick capturing an application as an example. The procedures for others are almost the same.

To capture an application using Smart Capture method, do the following steps:

  1. Open the application you want to capture. And also determine the sequence of actions you’re going to demonstrate in that application.
  2. Open ActivePresenter.
  3. Click New Capture on the welcome screen, or select Project menu and click New Capture…

    Select "New Capture"

    Select “New Capture”

  4. Type the project name, select Smart Capture profile, and then click OK button.
    Create new project using Smart Capture method

    Create new project using Smart Capture method

    Now you see that ActivePresenter main window disappears, and a dialog as well as a green rectangle is displayed.

  5. Select Application – Capture a running application window and in the applications list, select the application that you want to capture, Firefox for example.

    Select an application to capture

    Select an application to capture

  6. Click OK and wait a moment for ActivePresenter to prepare everything needed.
  7. When the Preparing message disappears, ActivePresenter is ready to capture. Let’s perform the actions that you want to demonstrate in the captured application (Firefox in this case).
  8. When you are done, there are several ways for you to stop capture:
    • Click ActivePresenter icon in the system tray, then click Stop.

      Stop Capture from system tray

      Stop Capture from system tray

    • Press hot key if it is enabled, default is End key.
    • Click Stop on Floating toolbar, if it is available and automatic panning is turned off.

      Click Stop on Capture Floating Toolbar

      Click Stop on Capture Floating Toolbar

What are advantages of Smart Capture over Full Motion Recording (FMR)?

Using Smart Capture method has several advantages:
  • Easy to create interactive and branching content.
    ActivePresenter inserts interactive objects and annotation objects for you automatically in Smart Capture. This makes the content almost ready to publish for quick simulation. Trainers/learners can perform actions on the interactive presentation as if they are doing on the captured application.
  • Easy to manage and edit.
    Project created using Smart Capture method is divided into sequential slides, each slide represents a step, so it is easy to manger and edit.
  • High quality but small file size output.
    With this method, screenshots are captured when mouse, keyboard events occur, not constantly at fixed rate as in FMR, so the output size is usually smaller.
  • Possible to switch to FMR automatically or manually.
    While recording using Smart Capture method, you can manually switch between this method and FMR using hot keys (defaults are F9 and F10). This is very useful when capturing operations such as mouse scroll, mouse drag-n-drop… You can also configure so that ActivePresenter switches to FMR automatically when you start doing these operations and switches back when the operations finish.

Hence, if you are looking for an easy-to-use, SMART and useful for your work, especially in screen recording, making tutorial or even high quality screencast as well as eLearning tool, then we suggest you start download our product and have a try. Check out Pricing here (We also offer Free Edition for Personal & Non-commercial users).

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