Saturday, November 12, 2011

How to Display Key Presses in Screencasts on Windows

The other day I was watching a video tutorial on Photoshop. The instructor was using a Mac, and every time he used the keyboard to press a shortcut key, the video screencast displayed the key pressed. It was wonderful because I could see what the user was actually doing with his keyboard. I found many Mac screen recording software that does this – show key presses aside from recording video of the screen, but Windows screen casting software capture only the mouse. If you create video tutorials a lot, here is how to replicate this feature on Windows.


KeyPose is a free utility that comes closest to the Mac video tutorial I saw. KeyPose is not a screen casting software, it’s just a global key logger which displays all shortcuts and keystrokes as you type on screen on a semi-transparent black horizontal overlay. The overlay appears on the bottom of the screen just above the taskbar whenever the keyboard is used. It remains hidden otherwise.


It may look distracting in this demo because you can already see what I’m typing in this document, but for recording demos of mouse based software this is very useful to show keyboard shortcuts.

KeyPose has no configuration option whatsoever which means you can neither change the position of the overlay nor the color or fonts. The only thing you can do is turn it off.


ShowOff puts a plain white box in the top-left corner of your screen and displays every keystroke and mouse click. You can change the color of the box, the color of the fonts, font size, box size, transparency and pretty much everything. You can also drag and reposition the box anywhere on the screen.


ShowOff’s settings are available on a plaintext INI file. To change any setting you have to first close the program and open the INI file in a text editor for editing. You can remove keys you don’t want to show by simply deleting them from the INI file. However, it doesn’t always work. Mostly I want to avoid displaying mouse clicks, but when I deleted the mouse entries the display window couldn’t be dragged.

If you want your favorite video tutorial producer to show keyboard shortcuts when recording demos, make sure you share this article with them.


  1. Neither of these show in my recorded videos when watching them. I can see them during the recording, however.

  2. Hello,

    You have KeyPose download link. Current link is incorrect..

    1. Link is correct. Website is down.


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