Follow the Screener

When I first became a staff training instructor over 20 years ago, if we wanted to illustrate how to use a particular software or navigate a certain website, we had to take screen-shots that we saved as JPEG images, to which we would add text showing where to click or what to do.  Then we'd import the images into MS-Word or WordPerfect documents.  I wrote training manuals for hospital employees to use payroll software, patient record databases, or MS-Windows programs.  If we were really fancy, we'd prepare a PowerPoint slideshow.

In recent years, trainers have been using screen-capturing software to track their mouse movements on screen that they can incorporate into a video illustrating how to use a particular software or web-based interface.  Of course, my library is just now getting around to purchasing such software, and I've begun experimenting with it.

If, like me, you're new to this screen-capturing world, you might find that the software we use suits your needs:  Debut Professional 3.01, sold by NCH Software, is available for around $50 or less.  Learn more about its many features here.

The program has been reasonably user-friendly.  So far, I've attempted fairly primitive screen-capture videos, but simple is good, especially given my limited technological skills.  Here's an example of one of our "how-to" videos we created using Debut.  We've tried doing voice-over along with screen-capturing, using Audacity software, but inserting text boxes over the screen is easier.

Making Room Reservations Online (2017),
by Mooresville Public Library

My video's not going to win any awards, but our Evanced (now Demco) users might be able to follow along and learn how to make basic room reservations.

There are dozens of different screen-capture software brands available, including Snagit, Ashampoo Snap, Faststone Capture, FullShot Pro, ScreenHunter Pro, Hypersnap, Easy Screen Capture, CaptureWiz Pro, Any Screen Capture, and SPX Instant Screen Capture, all of which range from roughly $20-$80 each.  Some have more features than Debut, some fewer, but all will probably do the job reasonably well.


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