Recording just part of your Mac screen with QuickTime is this easy

By , Feb 26, 2016

QuickTime OS X record cropped area of screen banner

QuickTime is one of the apps that comes pre-installed in the OS X operating system that powers every Mac, but unfortunately, despite how powerful it is, it remains one of the under-used apps that users forget all about.

One of the useful features QuickTime offers is the ability to record your Mac’s display, but did you know you can also use QuickTime to record just a cropped portion of your display rather than the entire screen?

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to keep screen recording limited to a specific portion of your screen with QuickTime.

Why to record only a portion of your display

If you’re trying to show someone how to do something, and you want to make a video file as small as possible, one of the things you can do to reduce the file size is reduce the amount of pixels the QuickTime app has to capture to record your display.

By only recording a portion of your display, rather than the entire display, you will help reduce the file size and make sending and receiving the video faster and easier for yourself and the recipient.

Another reason this feature is useful is if you don’t want something you have on your screen appearing in your video. This works exceptionally well if you’re recording a certain window on your Mac, but don’t want other apps you’re using to appear in the recording, such as your messages, web browsing, and other activities that you might want to perform while mid-recording.

How to record a cropped portion of your display

Now that you’re here, let’s get into the meat and potatoes – how to record just a cropped portion of your screen with QuickTime rather than recording the entire display. To do it, you’ll just follow these steps:

1) Launch the QuickTime app from your Applications folder, or by searching for the app in Spotlight.

2) With QuickTime open, go to the the Menu Bar and then navigate to File > New Screen Recording.

quicktime player new screen recording menu bar option

3) You will see the prompt below:

quicktime player click to record screen or drag to record part of the screen

Rather than click to start a full-screen recording of your display, click and drag to select a cropped portion of your display to record.

QuickTime OS X record cropped area of screen banner

4) Once selected, QuickTime will begin recording that specific portion of your screen only.

5) When satisfied with the length of the recording, click on the stop button in your Menu Bar to stop recording your screen.

quicktime player stop recording menu bar button

6) Voila! Your completed video file is only as wide as the portion of your screen that you chose to record, rather than the entire display:

quicktime player finished product movie file


Now when you want to record a part of your screen without having all the rest of your screen in the recording, you will know how to do it. The best part about all this video magic is you don’t need to have any fancy or expensive third-party software on your Mac to make this desire come true – and it wasn’t complicated at all, was it?

Related: Using QuickTime to rotate a video on your Mac

Did you find this tutorial useful? Let us know in the comments below!

  • Share:
  • Follow:

    Does it record the sound if you are recording a video like YouTube?

    • Ismael Lamberty

      Yes, you will need to setup some little piece of software called (I think) Sunflowerbed or something to do with the Audio MIDI Setup app (part of OS X), then on quicktime you select it as a mic and audio from the MAC will be there in the video. The only downside is that you will not hear the audio because it will be routed to Quicktime only. After exporting the video, it will have the audio and you can hear it.

      Hope this helps! 🙂

      • :D

        That’s interesting – I didn’t know you could do that. I use an app from the app store called screen recorder. It records audio and lets you hear it, but it doesn’t record mic input


        Cool man, thanks for the reply!

  • White Michael Jackson

    Holy crap this is extremely useful. Im still taking screen shots to help people with their macs.

    • Mark S

      There’s nothing holy about crap

  • Can’t u pause it?!

  • MY

    I do not get the prompt/option to record all or part of my screen. Do you think this has anything to do with the fact that I have 2 monitors plugged into my laptop?