Floating recording: How to record a specific window on Mac

7 min read

Instead of having to record the entire screen, you can focus on the object that you really want to capture. For example, if you want to create a how-to tutorial video, share gameplay highlights, record a presentation video, or something similar, you can record only one window directly.

Fortunately, you have various options to record your Mac’s screen, ranging from the built-in tool provided by macOS to third-party apps that offer advanced screen recording capabilities. Let’s take a look at these tools. 

How to record a specific window on a Mac

One of our favorite ways to record a specific window on a Mac is with the help of Gifox. It’s easy to use and flexible.

Once you have clicked on the fox icon in the menu bar, you will find the buttons for recording the screen on the left-hand side of the interface.

Gifox offers two modes for recording the screen – the area mode and the window mode. This means that you can record a part of the screen or the whole window.

record one window only with Gifox

When using the window record mode, one great feature is that it doesn’t matter if multiple windows overlap. You can just select the one that you want to record, and Gifox will ignore the other one.

Gifox also offers shortcuts, so you don’t have to always open the icon from the menu bar. This makes it even easier to use Gifox as a utility for your daily work. To record specific app, use the Command + Shift + 7 keyboard shortcut.

Besides being easy to use, Gifox is very flexible. Here are just some of the options you can customize:

  • Cursor appearance
  • Window shadows
  • Desktop background recording fps
  • Playback fps
  • Repeat count and pause
  • Max colors
  • And more.

All of these are available in the Gifox Settings window (look for the gear icon on the right-hand side of the interface).

Gifox Settings

When you’re done with recording, click the three dots next to your GIF. Now you can choose the format you want to save your file in. For example, MP4.

Record floating app's window and convert to mp4 using Gifox

Tip: If you want to quickly record a specific area of the screen and share a link, give Dropshare a chance. The app isn’t overly complicated when it’s time to record: you can choose whether you will record the entire screen or a specific area. Once you finish, your video will be uploaded to Dropshare. You can preview it in the browser if you want, or you can quickly copy the link to share the video. 

record a window and share it with Dropshare

How to capture drop-down menu

To capture only the menu using the Apple Screenshot feature, you can follow these steps:

  1. Open the menu you want to capture
  2. Press the Shift + Command + 5 keys simultaneously to open the Screenshot app
  3. In the Screenshot app, you will see a toolbar at the bottom of the screen
  4. Click on the Options button in the toolbar
  5. Select Capture Selected Window from the options
  6. Move your cursor over the menu to select it
  7. Click on the menu to capture it
  8. The captured image will appear as a thumbnail in the bottom-right corner of the screen
  9. Click on the thumbnail to open the screenshot and save it to your desired location.

Capture menus

Tip: While macOS offers built-in screen recording capabilities, third-party apps such as Capto offer some advanced features and functionalities that you may like. For example, if you want to record your iPhone screen while you’re on a Mac, you can do it with Capto. Here’s how: 

  1. First, connect your iPhone to your Mac
  2. Open Capto
  3. Click the red Record button to open the menu where you can choose your device 
  4. Once you’ve chosen the device, you’ll see its screen in Capto
  5. Click the red button to start recording.

Record iPhone's screen video on Mac

With Capto, you can instantly record a video of your screen or take a screenshot, edit it, and share it with the touch of a button. The app offers a wide range of image and video editing tools, as well as an easy-to-navigate folder-based organizer for your screen captures.

You can also set up instant sharing to all popular platforms like YouTube, Dropbox, Tumblr, FTP/SFTP servers, and more by logging in to them once in Capto.

Record a part of the screen

Recording a part of your screen can be a useful tool for a wide range of applications, from creating tutorials and instructional videos to troubleshooting technical issues and capturing important information. So how do you record partial screen on a Mac?

To record a portion of the screen using the native Screenshot tool on a Mac:

  1. Press Command + Shift + 5 to open the Screenshot tool
  2. Click on Record Selected Portion on the toolbar.
  3. Press the mouse or trackpad button and drag over the area you want to capture
  4. To start the recording, click the Record button
  5. To finish the recording, click the Stop button.

Indeed, you may like using the Mac’s Screenshot tool to record a part of a screen. It’s a native app, so you don’t need to download anything else. Second, it’s easy to use, with an intuitive interface that makes it simple to select and record the area you need.

However, if you need more advanced editing capabilities or want to record both your screen and audio, you might want to consider using a third-party tool like Capto. It offers a similar process for selecting and recording a portion of your screen, but with additional features like audio recording and advanced editing tools.

Capture Area with Capto app

Alternatively, you can try QuickTime. It’s a media player app on Mac that also has a screen recording feature. Here are the simple instructions on how to record a specific window (a part of screen) in QuickTime:

  1. Open QuickTime Player from the Applications folder or Launchpad
  2. Click on File in the menu bar at the top of the screen and select New Screen Recording
  3. A small screen recording window will appear. Click on the drop-down arrow next to the red record button
  4. Choose Built-in Microphone: Internal Microphone if you want to include audio in your recording. If not, choose None
  5. Click on the Record Entire Screen option, then select the window you want to record by clicking on it. Alternatively, you can click and drag to select a portion of the screen to record
  6. Click on the Record button to start the recording
  7. When you are finished recording, click on the Stop Recording button in the menu bar at the top of the screen
  8. Save the recording by clicking on File in the menu bar and selecting Save.

New Screen Recording

That’s it! QuickTime will now save your recording as a .mov file that you can edit or share with others.

Record a specific window or selected area: final thoughts

You have various options to record your Mac’s screen, ranging from the built-in tool provided by macOS to third-party apps. While using the macOS Screenshot tool to record a portion of your screen has several advantages (you don’t need to download any additional software, and it’s easy to use), if you need more advanced editing capabilities or want to record both your screen and audio, you might want to consider using third-party tools like Gifox, Dropshare, and Capto.

Overall, each tool has its own unique features and benefits, and users should choose the one that best suits their specific needs.

Gifox offers various customization options, such as cursor appearance.

Dropshare allows you to quickly record a specific area of your Mac’s screen and share a link instantly.

Capto offers the ability to record both screen and audio and provides editing and organizing tools for screen captures. It’s even possible to record your iPhone screen while you’re on a Mac.

The best part: all these tools are available for download via Setapp, along with dozens of powerful apps for your Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Try them all for free for seven days and discover more great apps to tackle tasks and improve your workflow.

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