ubuntu record screen

Recording the screen on Ubuntu is easy these days thanks to the built-in screencast tool. It has some nice benefits (supports Wayland, highly convenient – you can start and stop recording at the click of a button, etc.). 

If that sounds like a good fit for you, head over to the GNOME Screencast Tool section to learn how to use it. 

Ultimately, the tool is quite limited though. It doesn’t record audio, and the videos are saved as .webm. You can convert them to other formats like .mp4 post-recording, but that’s an additional hassle.

For those who want tools without these restrictions or ones that support advanced features, we’ll also cover OBS Studio and other alternatives in this article. 

GNOME Screencast Tool

The screencast app is basically the quickest tool for the task. As mentioned above, it’s not particularly customizable but it can still get the job done.

You can press PrntScr and switch to the Screencast tool, or bring it up directly with the Ctrl + Shift + Alt + R shortcut.

It doesn’t support Window recording yet, but you can switch between Area (record only selected area) and Screen selection (record entire screen). You can also choose to record the pointer or not.

When you’re done recording, click on the red indicator from the top right to stop. The videos are saved to ~/Videos/Screencasts/.

OBS Studio

OBS Studio is likely the best screencasting tool on Linux. It supports a ton of advanced video/audio recording, mixing, and configuration options while still being easy enough to set up and use.

Add the OBS Project PPA and install OBS Studio like so

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:obsproject/obs-studio
sudo apt update && sudo apt install ffmpeg obs-studio

After the installation, enter obs in the terminal or search and open OBS Studio from the Applications menu.

You’ll need to set up scenes and sources to record the screen with OBS. Scenes are basically visual templates. You’ve probably seen a streamer switch from a Starting Soon screen to their webcam with various overlays and so on. This is done by switching scenes.

As we’re focusing on the recording aspect here, sources are more relevant to us. After you add a scene, click on Add Source as well.

Select Screen Capture (PipeWire) if you’re on Wayland or Screen Capture (XSHM) for Xorg.

If you’re trying to record a specific window only (e.g., a game or browser window), select Window Capture (PipeWire) for Wayland and Window Capture (Xcomposite) for Xorg.

You can click on the settings cog to open the source properties. Here, you can adjust options like cursor visibility or crop the selection. Finally, you’ll find the Start Recording option at the bottom right.


OBS is pretty much professional-grade software. People who only want to record a few clips often find it overwhelming. If you feel the same and want a functional but more lightweight and straightforward alternative, SimpleScreenRecorder is a great option.

To install it from the Ubuntu repository, run

sudo apt update && sudo apt install simplescreenrecorder

If you want the latest version, you can add the official PPA and then install it.

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:maarten-baert/simplescreenrecorder
sudo apt update && sudo apt install simplescreenrecorder

As the name implies, SimpleScreenRecorder is very simple to use. All you need to do is select the video input source, configure the optional preferences like cursor, frame rate, etc., and hit Continue.

Configure the output profile on the next page and hit Continue again.

Finally, click on Start recording, then Pause recording when you’re done. Then, press Save recording to save the video to the specified location (default is ~/Videos).


OBS Studio has come a long way in terms of Wayland support, but users still occasionally encounter issues with it. If you need a Wayland-compatible alternative to OBS, check out Kazam.

To install Kazam, run

sudo apt install kazam

Enter kazam in the terminal, or search and open it from the Applications menu. You’ll find that it has an intuitive interface and is very straightforward to use. Select the Capture area (Fullscreen, Window, Area) and press Capture.

You can also configure additional options like Capture delays, audio sources, cursor visibility, etc. if you want.

As for the output configs, you can manage them from File > Preferences > Screencast.

Finally, if you like Kazam and decide to stick with it, here are some useful shortcuts:

  • Ctrl + Super + R: Start recording
  • Ctrl + Super + P: Pause the recording
  • Ctrl + Super + F: Stop recording
  • Ctrl + Super + W: Show/hide the main window
  • Ctrl + Super + Q: Quit Kazam
Anup Thapa

Senior Writer

Anup Thapa is a Linux enthusiast with an extensive background in computer hardware and networking. His goal is to effectively communicate technical concepts in a simplified form understandable by new Linux users. To this end, he mainly writes beginner-friendly tutorials and troubleshooting guides. Outside of work, he enjoys reading up on a range of topics, traveling, working out, and MOBAs.