How to Capture and Display Keystroke Data with Camtasia for Mac 2.3

When you use keyboard shortcuts like Cmd-C or Esc while recording a screencast, your viewers can be confused by seeing something happen on screen without understanding how you did it. You can help viewers follow along by visualizing these key presses as graphics that appear in your video.

Did you know that by default, Camtasia for Mac 2.3 captures keystroke data? When your project contains a .cmrec recording file, Camtasia can automatically generate keystroke callouts from that data, which helps your viewers visualize any keyboard shortcuts used during your screencast. For security reasons, Camtasia doesn’t capture every keystroke but instead focuses on common keyboard shortcut combinations that use Control, Option, Command, Function keys, Help or ESC.

Add the keystroke effect to your project:

  1. Click the Video FX tab.
  2. Click and drag the Keystroke effect from the Video FX tab onto a recording (recording must be added to the timeline first). A message on the timeline indicates that the effect has been added to your media clip. keystrokeNote: This effect can only be added to recordings that have keystroke data collected (e.g., screen recordings captured with Camtasia for Mac). If no keystroke data exists, the effect will appear to “bounce back.” To display keyboard activity for recordings that lack keystroke data, use the keystroke callouts found in the Annotations tab to add them manually.
  3. To reposition the auto-generated keystrokes, click on the red anchor point and drag to a new position on the canvas.keystroke move

Learn more about Camtasia for Mac

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  • Frustrated

    This explanation needs to be clearer. I’ve been trying for 30 minutes to get keystrokes to display on my recording. I try dragging the keystroke effect to the recording, and it just bounces back.

    • Cait Ryan

      Hi, I’m sorry to hear that you’re having trouble. The keystroke effect will only work on recordings made with Camtasia for Mac that have keystroke data recorded. If you’re working with a recording that does not have keystroke data recorded, the effect will bounce back when you try to add it.

      If you’re unable to add the keystroke effect to a recording that does have keystroke effects recorded, we may need to file a ticket with tech support. Feel free to shoot me an email at, and we’ll get it worked out.



      • Remix Remi

        Post, please, Videotutorial.

  • skinney

    I have the same problem as Frustrated.

    Your instructions say “When your recording is saved as a .cmrec file …” My recording is saved as a .cmproj file and as an mp4 file. How do I save it as a .cmrec file?

    And I am using Camtasia 2.3 for Mac and I used keystrokes to make the recording but have no clue as to whether or not it recorded the keystrokes.

  • Chuck

    I can’t get this to work. The instructions to save as .cmrec remind me of my grandfather telling me I would be able to catch a bird if I sprinkled salt on it’s tail. I created a new recording, and the only save as option is cmproj. I was able to drag the keystroke effect onto the canvas, but no keystrokes show up when I play it back.

  • Stupid

    How do you make a recording with keystroke effects collected in Camtesia for Mac 2.3 ?

    • Daniel Foster

      You’re not stupid. :) Any screen recording of a browser or application that you record with Camtasia for Mac will automatically capture keystrokes. But not every keystroke is collected, just the combinations that tend to be associated with program functions. So we only capture keys when modifiers are down (Control, Option, Command), also Function keys (F1,F2,..), Help, and ESC. Does that help?

      • newman

        that’s a problem. Because some single keys, like “q”, “->”…etc without command or ctrl combined… they aren’t captured. (I am in Mac OSX)
        There’s any way to solve this?

  • tomas scott

    Thanks for information, but sorry for off top, can anybody tell me about keylogger ProteMac KeyBag ( )? I heard this app in web and want to know little more

  • Lucy Millan

    nice info,
    thanx a lot!) but as for me, i usually use this recorder for my mac, it’s easy-to-use and works great!)