If you’re like many across the globe, you’re still steadily riding on the work from home, remote learning train. For us, one of the most exciting new features coming to Chrome OS is the built-in screen recorder that will allow users to take full or partial screen recordings without the need for a third-party app or extension like Loom or Screencastify. While many of these platforms offer more-robust editing tools and cloud integration, sometimes you just need to make a simple screen recording.
Chrome OS developers clearly see the need for this type of native tool on Chromebooks. The new screen capture feature has been in the works for months now and developers are still adding some finishing touches such as a mute button for screen recordings. Despite the “work in progress” still happening, the flag for the tool made its way to Chrome OS Stable in the latest update to version 88. The mic toggle is still missing but the screen recording is working perfectly and that includes partial screen recordings and the very useful resizable screenshots. This tool will be a productivity-enhancing monster for educators, employees, and even creators like ourselves and you can enable it right now in Chrome OS 88.
We generally try to steer our readers away from using “experimental” flags on a regular basis but this is a particularly powerful tool that I’m sure many are ready to use. I’ve had the screen capture tool enabled on my device for months and have had zero issues with it. That said, you should be warned that experimental flags can result in flakiness on your device. If you try this and feel it’s too buggy, you can always reset the flag on the
chrome://flags page. For personal use, you can enable the flag in one simple step. If you are an educator or on a corporate managed device, you may need to contact your IT admin to enable the flag if they have these features locked down.
To get started, head over to the Chrome flags page at
chrome://flags and search for “capture” in the search bar. Alternatively, you can just head straight to
chrome://flags/#screen-capture and you should see the flag titles Screen Capture Test. Flip the dropdown menu to “enabled” and you will be prompted to restart the browser. (Make sure you save any work that you may have open in other tabs.) Once you’ve relaunched, you can know fire up the new screen capture tool by using the shortcut in the quick access menu at the bottom right or by using the key combo for a partial screenshot. That combo is Ctrl+Shift+F4(the overview key). You’ll be greeted by the new capture tool menu bar that lets you toggle between capture or record as well as full screen or partial screenshots.
One of the coolest parts of this new tool is that it works perfectly with extended displays. Whichever display your mouse cursor is currently located on, that’s where the tool will pop up. Images are saved in the PNG file format while videos are saved as a lightweight .webm file. These can be quickly and easily converted to MP4s with online tools such as Cloud Convert or imported to editors like my personal favorite WeVideo. Again, this feature isn’t quite completed but it is stable and ready to use if you find yourself in need of a quick way to grab a video of your screen. We’ll keep an eye on this one. Chances are good that it will be ready for its official debut when Chrome OS 89 lands in early March.