Record Screen in Ubuntu Linux With Kazam [Beginner's Guide]

This tutorial shows you how to install Kazam screen recorder and explains how to record the screen in Ubuntu. The guide also lists useful shortcuts and handy tips for using Kazam.
Warp Terminal

Kazam is one of the best screen recorders for Linux even though it is not being actively developed anymore. Its last stable release was version 1.4.5 in the year 2014. It works okay under the legacy X display server, but it won’t work with Wayland.

Some of the main features of Kazam are:

  • Record the entire screen, part of the screen, an application window, or all screens (for multi-monitor setup)
  • Take screenshots
  • Keyboard shortcut support for easily pausing and resuming while recording the screen
  • Record in various file formats such as MP4, AVI and more.
  • Capture audio from the speaker or microphone while recording the screen
  • Capture mouse clicks and key presses
  • Capture video from the webcam
  • Insert a webcam window on the side
  • Broadcast to YouTube live video 

I am using Ubuntu in the tutorial. The installation instructions should work for other Ubuntu-based distributions such as Linux Mint, elementary OS etc. For all the other distributions, you can still read about using Kazam and its features.

While an excellent tool, Kazam has not seen development from the past few years. It works on the Xorg server but it doesn't work with Wayland display server and 4K screens. You should try some other screen recorder.

Install Kazam in Ubuntu

Kazam is available in the official repository in Ubuntu. However, the official repository consists Kazam version 1.4.5, the last stable version of Kazam.

Kazam Version 1.4.5

You can install the older Kazam 1.4.5 from the Software Center. You can also use the command below:

sudo apt install kazam

Install Kazam Unstable Version [Experimental]

Kazam developer(s) also worked on a newer release, Kazam 1.5.3. The version was almost stable and ready to release, but for unknown reasons, the development stopped after this. There have been no updates since then.

You can use either Kazam 1.4.5 or 1.5.3 without hesitating. Kazam 1.5 provides additional features like recording mouse clicks and key presses, webcam support, live broadcast support, and a refreshed countdown timer.

Kazam Version 1.5.3 Screenshot
Kazam Version 1.5.3

It’s up to you to decide which version you want to use. I would suggest going for version 1.5.3 because it has more features.

So, if you wish to install the newer Kazam 1.5.3, you can use the below methods.

Using Pip [Use with Caution]

The latest version of Kazam is available to install from PyPI. To do this, you need to install the packages using Pip.

First, install some necessary libraries.

sudo apt install build-essential libpython3-dev libdbus-1-dev libcairo2-dev libgirepository1.0-dev python3-xlib -y

Now, install Kazam using:

pip install kazam
You may not find any desktop icons. In that case, run Kazam from the command line, using kazam. Also, there are some known issues with this package.

Suggested Read 📖

Externally Managed Environment Error With Pip in Ubuntu
Seeing an “externally managed environment” error while using Pip in Ubuntu 23.04? Here’s what you can do about this error.

Using Unofficial PPA [Available only up to Ubuntu 21.10]

This unofficial PPA is available for Ubuntu 18.04 and 20.04, up to 21.10:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:sylvain-pineau/kazam
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt install kazam

You also need to install a few libraries to record the mouse clicks and keyboard presses.

sudo apt install python3-cairo python3-xlib

Recording your screen with Kazam

Once you have installed Kazam, search for it in the application menu and start it. You should see a screen like this with some options on it. You can check the options as per your need and click on capture to start recording screen with Kazam.

Screen recording with Kazam
Screen recording

It will show you a countdown before recording the screen. The default wait time is 5 seconds, and you can change it from the Kazam interface (see the previous image). It gives you breathing time so that you can prepare for your recording.

Countdown before screen recording

Once the recording starts, the main Kazam interface disappears, and an indicator appears in the panel. If you want to pause the recording or finish the recording, you can do it from this indicator.

Pause or finish screen recording
Pause or finish

If you finish the recording, it will give you the option to “Save for later.” If you have a video editor installed in Linux, you can also start editing the recording from this point.

Save screen recording  in Kazam
Save recording

By default, it prompts you to install the recording in the Videos folder, but you can change the location and save it elsewhere as well.

That’s the basics you need to know about screen recording in Linux with Kazam.

Now let me give you a few tips on utilizing more features in Kazam.

Getting more out of Kazam screen recorder

Kazam is a featureful screen recorder for Linux. You can access its advanced or additional features from the preferences.

Accessing Kazam preferences
Accessing Kazam preferences

Autosave screen recording in a specified location

You can choose to save the screen recordings automatically in Kazam. The default location is Videos, but you can change it to any other location.

Autosave screen recordings in a chosen location
Autosave in a chosen location

Avoid screen recording in RAW mode 

You can save your screen recordings in file formats like WEBM, MP4, AVI, etc. You are free to choose what you want. However, I would advise avoiding the RAW (AVI) file format. If you use RAW file format, the recorded files will be in GBs, even for a few minutes of recordings.

It’s wise to verify that Kazam is not using the RAW file format for recording. If you ask my suggestion, I prefer H264 with MP4 file format.

Don’t use RAW files
File format in Kazam

Capture mouse clicks and key presses while screen recording 

If you want to highlight when a mouse was clicked, you can easily do that in the newer version of Kazam.

Record mouse clicks while screen recording with Kazam
Record mouse clicks

All you have to do is to check the “Key presses and mouse clicks” option on the Kazam interface (the same screen where you press Capture).

Use keyboard shortcuts for more efficient screen recordings

Imagine you are recording the screen in Linux and suddenly realize that you have to pause the recording for some reason. Now, you can pause the recording by going to the Kazam indicator and selecting the pause option. But this activity of selecting the pause option will also be recorded.

You can edit and remove this part later, but it unnecessarily adds to the already cumbersome editing task.

A better option will be to use the keyboard shortcuts in Ubuntu. Screen recording becomes a lot better if you use shortcuts.

While Kazam is running, you can use the following hotkeys:

  • Super+Ctrl+R: Start recording
  • Super+Ctrl+P: Pause recording, press again to resume the recording
  • Super+Ctrl+F: Finish recording
  • Super+Ctrl+Q: Quit recording
The super key is the Windows key on your keyboard.

The most important is Super+Ctrl+P for pausing and resuming the recording. 

You can further explore the Kazam preferences for webcam recording, and YouTube live broadcasting options.

Do you like Kazam?

I am repeating myself here. I love Kazam. Furthermore, I have used other screen recorders like SimpleScreenRecorder or Green Recorder, but I feel a lot more comfortable with Kazam.

I hope you like Kazam for screen recording in Ubuntu or any other Linux distribution. I have tried highlighting some additional features here to help you with a better screen recording.

It is sad to see that development has stopped for Kazam and it is not seeing new features added to it. I so wish that someone capable enough forks the project and create a new generation version of Kazam.

What features do you like about Kazam? Do you use some other screen recorder? Do they work better than Kazam? Please share your views in the comments section below.

About the author
Abhishek Prakash

Abhishek Prakash

Created It's FOSS 11 years ago to share my Linux adventures. Have a Master's degree in Engineering and years of IT industry experience. Huge fan of Agatha Christie detective mysteries 🕵️‍♂️

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