How to record your Chromebook screen with audio and convert it to MP4

A few months ago the Chrome OS team gave us the option to record our Chromebook screen. Until then, if you wanted to record your screen you would need to use software such as Screencastify.

In this article, I’ll show you how to record your Chromebook screen, which by default saves the recording in the WebM format. This format is perfectly fine for casual use. However, if you want to edit the video further with a video editor. It’s most likely these editors will not be able to work with the WebM format.

Therefore, I’ll also show you how to convert your WebM recording on your Chromebook to MP4. Converting files to MP4 is a good option because it’s a more universally recognised format, which works with most software.

How to record your Chromebook screen

The first thing you need to do is find your screen capture software, which is built directly into Chrome OS. To do this you can use the same keyboard shortcut you’d use to take a screenshot of your Chromebook desktop. If you’re using a Chromebox with a standard keyboard hold down Control + Shift and press F5.

The second option is to click on the ‘screen capture’ icon, which you’ll find in your settings by clicking at the bottom right of your desktop. You should see something similar to what you can see below.

Click on the screen capture option from the Chrome OS settings menu
Click on ‘Screen capture’ from Settings menu

Options for recording your Chromebook screen

There are three options you have when recording your Chromebook screen.

  • Full Screen
  • Partial Screen
  • Window

If you choose to record your ‘Full Screen’ this will record everything on your Chromebook display. This is ideal if you want to record different windows and menus. Essentially, this type of screen recording will show everything you do. Therefore, it’s ideal if you want to show how you do something without excluding any of the steps.

If you record your ‘Partial Screen’ this will only record the section of the screen you’ve chosen to be recorded. Anything you do outside of the selected zone will not be included in the recording.

Choosing to record a ‘Window’ will record the window you choose at the beginning. For example, if you have two browsers open. When you choose to record a window you would click, which window to record. Anything you do inside that window is recorded. Any actions in other browsers or any menu navigation will not be recorded.

Using your mic for voiceover in recordings

It’s really easy to use the mic so you can do a voiceover for your videos. When you have the recording menu showing at the bottom of your Chromebook display. You simply click on the settings cog. This will then give you the option to record your mic, as shown below.

Include microphone in your Chromebook screen recordings
Choose record microphone from the settings cog

If you select this it will use your built-in mic. You can also record with an external mic, which will give you much better sound quality. To do this simply plug in an external mic before clicking the ‘record mic’ settings.

The video is saved in WebM format

When you’ve finished recording your video it will be saved to your Downloads folder on your Chromebook. You’ll notice the video is saved in the WebM format. This format allows you to easily share the video online and with your friends and colleagues.

Although this format may be suitable for most people. If you’re recording your Chromebook screen and you want to use that recording further in professional video recording software. You’ll most likely find the WebM format isn’t supported.

Also, WebM will have recorded your video at a variable rate. Again, working with a variable rate video when used in other projects may not be practical.

Converting your WebM video to MP4

The good news is you can convert your WebM video to MP4. Also, you can do this directly from your Chrome OS computer. You don’t need to use software from the internet, as the software needed is available in Linux.

This means you will need to have Linux installed on your Chromebook. Once you’ve installed Linux and an app store. You’ll be able to install a Linux program to convert the WebM video.

The software I’d recommend using is HandBrake. This is widely used software and is perfect for converting videos to MP4.