Screencastify is a free extension for the Chrome browser and Chromebooks. The Chrome browser is available for most operating systems and is free. The extension can be download and installed from the Google Chrome Web Store.

Screencastify can be used to record content on the Internet. This includes content created with Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets. These documents can be used to provide instructions, lessons, and tutorials. Please be mindful of copyright law when recording content on the Internet.

Click on the Screencastify icon.

screencastify extension icon

A screen recording menu will open. There are three recording options. They include Tab, Desktop, and Cam. The Tab recording option will record the contents of a web page like a Google document. The Desktop recording option will record the computer’s desktop with any folders, files, and applications that are shown on the computer’s screen. The Cam option will activate the computer’s Webcam or external camera.

Click on the Tab recording option to record the contents of the current tab. The Tab recording option will not record the contents of another browser Tab if it is selected during the recording process. To record the contents of multiple tabs it would be better to choose the Desktop recording option. If we accidentally switch to another tab during a Tab Recording, Screencastify will inform us that the contents of the tab are not being recorded.

record dialogue box

Tab recording has two audio recording options. The first option is automatically selected. This records audio from the computer’s built-in microphone. The internal microphone is automatically selected if it is the default microphone on the computer setup. The default microphone might be different on your computer. An external microphone can be selected if it is connected to the computer running Windows or MacOS. The Chromebook requires an initial setup not available in the Screencastify Extension. Go to the chapter for setting up a microphone on Chromebook.

There is also a tab audio option. This option records audio from media content that is streamed on the web page. For example, audio from a YouTube video can be recorded. This option is not automatically selected. On a Chromebook, this option is referred to as the “System Audio”. Be mindful of copyright When recording content from the Internet.

Mute the speakers on the computer when recording screencasts that include audio from other sources like YouTube. The audio from the speakers can cause feedback during the recording. I recommend using headphones.

record tab options

Tab recording will record the contents of the screen only. There is an option to include video from the computer’s webcam. This video is embedded within the screen recording. The option to record webcam video is not automatically enabled. The webcam option is typically used to record the presenter in addition to the screen content. The presenter video is recorded in the lower corner of the screen. The video box can be moved around the recording area as needed using the positioning option.

record webcam option

The preview option will display a preview on the screen. This preview is not recorded but is helpful because it lets us see what is being recorded.

show preview option

Start Recording

Click on the Record Tab button at the bottom of the recording options box.

record tab button

A 3 second countdown timer will appear in the center of the open web page.

countdown timer

The Screencastify icon in the extensions bar will have a red dot in the center to indicate that Screencastify is recording.

screencastify icon recording mode

Recording and annotation tools will display in the lower left corner of the web page. These tools can be used to annotate on the web page and control the recording. The pause button can be used to pause the recording at any time.

recording annotation tools

Pause and Stop Recording

Click the Screencastify icon and a recording information box will open with the current length of the screen recording, and the recording resolution. The bottom of the box has pause and stop recording buttons. Click the Pause button.

recording elapsed time information and pause button

The pause recording button changes to a resume button. Click the End Recording button.

resume recording button

Saved Video

The recording is automatically saved to Google Drive and opened in a tab of its own through the Screencastify extension. The recording is given the name Untitled Screencast.

screencast video title

Click on the Untitled Screencast name and change it to something more meaningful. Click the close button to save the name change.

renaming recording

There are tools on the top right of the recorded video to view recorded videos, download, share, crop, and delete the current recording.

tools button bar

The controls to play and pause a recording are shown at the bottom of the page.

annotation tools

The right bottom of the page has controls to adjust the volume and to play the video full screen.

volume and video size button

A panel on the right has information about when the video was recorded, its duration, resolution and file size.

recording details panel