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HelpXplain's capture tool is one of its most important components. It's what you use to capture animated screencasts and regular screenshots and it has some unique capabilities that you won't find anywhere else.

The capture tool has two modes: Screenshot mode and Screencast mode. This topic provides some useful tips that will help you to get the best out of each mode.

Unique features

Additive screenshot capture:

When you are capturing static screenshots you can add components to the shot before completing it. For example, you can select a program window and a menu and a dialog box and then capture them all together in the correct positions. You no longer need to capture each one in a separate shot and then combine them manually.

Full-feature screencast capture:

HelpXplain's revolutionary screencast feature is based on a series of screenshots. The magic sauce is the way it ties them together:

Mouse click recording:
Automatically recording left-clicks, right-clicks, double-clicks and drags and replay them with animated cursors in your screencasts.

Live preview and edit:
You can literally play your screencast back and edit it while you are making it. If a step doesn't look the way you want just delete and repeat.

Full-screen screencasts:
Create screencasts of the entire computer screen, even though you still have access to all the control tools.

The capture dialog


This dialog opens before you start making a screenshot or screencast.

It allows you to configure some basic capture options before you begin.

Note that not all options are relevant for all modes. For example, the hotkey setting is only used for screencasts. Screenshots are always concluded with CTRL+Click.

Delayed start for screenshots:

Activating the Start capture with delay option gives you 5 seconds to open menus or dialogs before the screen is frozen. This is only really relevant for screenshots. With screencasts the screen is live, so you have as much time as you need to set everything up before you start recording.

Capture dialog settings

Include cursor:

Only relevant in screenshot mode. Includes the current mouse cursor in your screenshots.

In screencast mode all cursor operations are always captured with an enlarged cursor, including left-click, right-click, double-click and drag. In screenshot mode it records a normal, static mouse cursor.

Start capture with delay:

Only relevant for screenshot mode. Inserts a 5-second delay before the screen is "frozen". This gives you time to select windows to make them active and open menus and dialog boxes for capture.


Only relevant for screencast mode. This is the keyboard shortcut that performs additional manual screenshots while you are capturing a screencast. You may need to change the default if it conflicts with other keyboard shortcuts on your computer.

In screenshot mode CTRL+Click always performs the actual capture.

Cancel hotkey:

Only really relevant for screencast mode, although it also works in screenshot mode. This key cancels the screencast or the screen capture.

In screenshot mode, Esc always cancels, even if you have defined an additional different cancel hotkey.

Lock capture frame during screencast:

Automatically locks the capture frame into position when you are making a screencast.

Screencast mode

When you capture a screencast you don't need to use the capture delay. The entire screen and all your programs are active and can be operated normally.


In screencast mode everything inside the green capture frame is captured. When you capture program windows the control icons at the top of the screen remain visible all the time. When you are doing a full-screen capture they are hidden but will become visible when you move the mouse over them.

When you click REC a screenshot is recorded every time you click with the mouse. Mouse operations are recorded along with the screenshots, including left-clicks, right-clicks, double-clicks and drags, each of which is recorded differently. You can manually add screenshots at any time with the hotkey. You can also stop automatic recording with the CastIconRecord tool and continue manually at any time. Clicking the CastIconRecord tool again restarts automatic recording.

Control tools (mouse over them to show them in full-screen capture mode)


Start/stop automatic recording. When you stop automatic recording you can still add screenshots manually with the hotkey.


Lock the capture frame to the window during capture. This prevents accidental changes to the frame while you are working.


Fit the window to the capture frame. This resizes the window and snaps it to the capture frame around it.


Fit the capture frame to the window. This resizes the capture frame and snaps it to the window beneath it.


Live preview! This previews the entire screencast that you have made up to the current point. Use to check whether the last capture was OK so that you can delete it if needed.


Reset. Deletes either the last frame captured or the entire screencast so that you can start over. Use in combination with live preview to check your screencast as you proceed.


Finish and save. Terminates the screencast and loads it into the HelpXplain editor. One final screenshot is made when this is done.

Layout prompt after completion:

When you finish your screencast you are prompted to choose the basic layout. You can either use your screenshots as they are, or add a text box to each slide automatically. You can specify the position of the text box:


Screenshot mode

When you click Start in the capture dialog for a screenshot your computer screen is "frozen" in its current state, after a 5-second delay if you have activated the delay option in the capture dialog (see above). The delay is generally recommended so that you can select the window you want to capture and make it look "active".

Although the screen is frozen, all the windows, menus and dialogs on the screen are still separate objects that can be selected. You can't open new menus or dialogs, but the ones that are open can be selected.


Controls for making screenshots


Select an object to capture (window, dialog, menu, part of a window)


Select any area of the screen to capture

SHIFT + Click or Drag

Select additional objects or areas to ADD to the capture


Make the capture and send it to HelpXplain