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Solution to the Camtasia Studio flickering cursor issue

Summary
To prevent the cursor from flickering during recording, open Camtasia Recorder, go to Tools > Options and deselect the ‘Capture layered windows’ checkbox.

Camtasia Studio as a tool for Usability Testing and User Interviews

Camtasia Studio can be a useful (cheaper) tool for user research. You could use it for usability testing (instead of Morae which would be the right tool for it, but costs five times the Camtasia Studio’s price which you can get for $ 300). You could also use it for conducting user interviews that require the participant to use your computer or laptop to interact with an application or website.

How the flickering cursor can foil your plans of using Camtasia Studio for User Research

Camtasia sounds all good till you notice that when you begin to record using the Camtasia Recorder, the cursor begins to jitter/ blink/ flicker. The blinking cursor is irritating, especially if used for long sessions, though you might still ignore it when conducting user interviews.

But you really shouldn’t ignore a flickering cursor as a negligible issue if you want to use it to for usability testing. A jittery cursor is not something the user will experience using your product in real life. And more importantly so, it’s something that will skew results due to the sheer irritation caused by the blinking that will simply end up affecting the way participants performs tasks through the session, which will be different from how they would participate without the flickering.

And in all cases, a flickering cursor could trigger an epileptic seizure if your participant has photosensitive epilepsy .

How to fix the Camtasia flickering cursor issue

To prevent the cursor from flickering during recording, open Camtasia Recorder, go to Tools > Options and deselect the ‘Capture layered windows’ checkbox.

But there’s a tradeoff

Camtasia says that some types of windows and/ or tooltips will not be captured in your recording if you disable capturing layered windows, so do a test recording to see whether there are any chances of anything you would like to get recorded that doesn’t first.

  • Josh

    Hi there, I have a problem similiar to this. See, i got a new computer recently, and have tried to run Camtasia on it, and it seems that the screen.. Well, It’s hard to explain, but it sort of.. Freezes, and keeps flickering back to previous recording. for example, I’ve been recording for 25 seconds and it keeps flickering back to 22 seconds or 18 seconds, and additionally, It’s CHOPPY. I’ve tried EVERYTHING, and the only thing that seems to fix it, is using an HD Codec, which I don’t have a license for.

    HELP 🙁

    -Josh

  • ian

    Nice post – it sorted my flickering cursor problem out. Now on to the usability studies … 😀

  • Good stuff, no more flickering. Cursor is now a bit slow-ish, but I guess that’s because of poor CPU.

    Thanks!

    • xX_M7MD_G4M3R_ Xx

      No,,,
      It’s not the CPU, I bought an i5 and the problem stills in

  • Andrewjt62

    Thanks, I record video’s frequently and this helped a ton

  • jim3409

    It works well. I created partially transparent tooltips, and they are still captured even with this option deselected.

  • jim3409

    Works well.

  • tirso

    @Josh
    i got the same problem, is it with a game?

  • xXx

    help me, this doesnt work. i go to tools > options and there is no such thing called “Capture layered windows”

  • Clandaddy

    Same thing, a bit clearer: From the main screen, click the ‘Record the screen’ tab as if you are going to begin a recording session.
    A smaller ox will open with screen capture options.
    On *this* box is a *different* Tools> Options> General tab selection that will lead you to the option to disable Capture Layered Windows. Still leaves you with a screwy cursor that slowly drags around the screen, but at least you can *see* it.

  • P24

    Thanks this helped me LOT…

  • anonymous

    After tech support failed to give a answer,i thought i should junk it ,then came a beacon of light in the dark moment ::thanks mate

  • Cheri

    Hi,, I use Windows XP Home Edition when i record i can’t see my cursor. it kinda likes blinks/jitter/flicker . i already did the thing go to camtasia recorder options cursor then show cursor. but still it didnt show me the cursor. I’m quitting if it won’t fix. 🙁 pleaseee.

  • Don

    Cheri,
    Turn off Hardware acceleration:
    Right click on the desktop
    Select Properties
    Select the Settings tab
    Press the Advanced button (not troubleshoot)
    Select the Troubleshoot tab
    Slide the Hardware Acceleration slider to None

    Remember to do this again to reset HW acceleration to full again after recording. I have trouble bringing up most windows with HW acceleration to none.

    Hope this helps,
    Don