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How to easily record the Linux desktop with Kazam

Recording a good quality screencast of the Linux desktop is difficult if you’re new to the Linux platform, as many of the apps available are confusing and hard to configure. Thankfully, Kazam exists. It’s an easy to use screencasting tool that many aren’t aware of. In this guide, we’ll show you how to use it to record video of the Linux desktop!

Note: Kazam is an X11 screencasting utility for Linux. As it works within the X11 system, any desktop environments that are using the Wayland system will not be able to record with this tool.

Installing Kazam on Linux

The Kazam screencasting tool is available to many Linux distributions through their package managers. Additionally, the source code for the app is available to any user who wants it, though they will need to figure out how to compile the code themselves.

To start the installation of the Kazam screencasting tool on your Linux PC, start by launching a terminal window on the desktop. To launch a terminal window press Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, follow the command-line installation instructions outlined below that corresponds with the Linux distribution you currently use.

Ubuntu

On Ubuntu Linux, the Kazam screencasting utility can easily be installed through the default software repositories using the apt install command below.

sudo apt install kazam

Debian

The Debian operating system has the Kazam screencasting utility in the “Main” software repository. To install it, use the apt-get install command below in a terminal window.

sudo apt-get install kazam

Arch Linux

Sadly, Kazam isn’t in the Arch Linux software repositories for installation. However, Arch users can install it by building it from the AUR. To start, use the pacman command to set up the “Git” and “Base-devel” packages.

sudo pacman -S git base-devel

With the “Git” and “Base-devel” packages set up on Arch, use the commands below to download and install the Trizen AUR helper on your system. This tool will make setting up Kazam much easier, as all dependencies and code building is automated.

git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/trizen.git cd trizen makepkg -sri

With the Trizen tool set up on Arch Linux, you can quickly install the Kazam screencasting utility with trizen -S.

trizen -S kazam

Fedora

The Fedora operating system does not distribute Kazam to its users via the central software repositories. Luckily, Kazam is available on the RPMSphere third-party software repository. To install it, do the following.

First, download the Kazam RPM package from the internet using the wget command.

wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/rpmsphere/noarch/master/k/kazam-1.4.5-10.3.noarch.rpm

After downloading the RPM package to your Fedora Linux PC onto your computer, install it with the dnf install command.

sudo dnf install kazam-1.4.5-10.3.noarch.rpm

OpenSUSE

OpenSUSE Linux has Kazam available for LEAP 15.1 users and Tumbleweed. To install the program, add the repository to the system and install it with commands below.

15.1 LEAP

sudo zypper addrepo https://ftp.lysator.liu.se/pub/opensuse/repositories/GNOME:/Apps/openSUSE_Leap_15.1/ gnome-apps-x86_64

Tumbleweed

sudo zypper addrepo https://ftp.lysator.liu.se/pub/opensuse/repositories/GNOME:/Apps/openSUSE_Factory/ gnome-apps-x86_64
sudo zypper install kazam

Source Code

The source code for the Kazam screencasting utility is available on Launchpad. If you’re running a Linux distribution not covered in this guide, head to this page to grab the latest release.

Screencasting with Kazam

To record your screen with the Kazam screencasting utility, launch the app on your desktop and follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: In Kazam, locate the “Fullscreen” tab, and click on it with the mouse. Then, look for the “When capturing include:” area.

Step 2: In the “When capturing include:” area, there are several recording options. These options are “Mouse cursors,” “Sound from speakers,” and “Sound from microphone.”

Select “Mouse cursor” to record your mouse in the screencast. Check any sound options if you want speaker sounds or microphone sounds in the recording.

Step 3: Locate the “Capture” button to start capturing the screen immediately.

Step 4: When you select “Capture,” a countdown timer will appear in the center of the screen. When the countdown ends, the screen recording  will begin.

To end the screen recording, locate the camera icon in your system tray and right-click on it. Then, select the “Finish recording” button.

When you select the “Finish recording” button, a pop-up will appear and allow you to save the screen recording to a file.

Record a window

Need to record an open program or gameplay on your Linux PC rather than the entire desktop? Click on the “Window” button in the “Screencast” area, then select “Capture” record an open window with Kazam.

Record an area

To record a specific area of your screen, rather than the entire screen, locate the “Area” button, and select it. Then, drag the cursor across the desktop to select the area you want to record, and click “Capture” to start recording.

Taking screenshots

The Kazam recording tool can take a screenshot of your desktop. To take a screenshot, open Kazam, and find the “Screenshot” button. Click it, and it will allow you to take a screenshot.

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