Quickly Creating Screencasts with Peek

19 August, 2020

Although I hate to admit it, sometimes words just aren’t enough. Every so often, you need to show and not just tell. Literally. And there are times when a screen capture, or set of screen captures, doesn’t cut it either.

What you need is a short video. More to the point, a screencast. Unless you’re doing something professionally, all you need is a quick and dirty recording. A great tool for doing that is Peek. Peek is simple, fast, and surprisingly flexible.

Let’s take a look at it.

Installing Peek

There are a few ways you can do that, including:

I leave it up to you to choose the method that works best for you.

Creating Your First Screencast

Fire up Peek. Its screen is an overlay that you can drag on top of the screen you want to record.

Peek after you start it up

You can resize the overlay by clicking and dragging a corner of Peek’s window to match the size of the screen you’re recording.

Click the downward arrow in the top-left corner to choose an output format for the screencast:

When you’re ready to record, click the Record as button in the top-left corner or press CTRL+ALT+R on your keyboard. Then, record what you need to record.

Getting ready to record a screencast with Peek

When you’re done, either click Stop or press CTRL+ALT+R again.

I prefer to use the keyboard shortcut to stop and start recording. Doing that provides a smoother experience and you don’t have bits at the end of a recording where you’re clicking the Stop button.

When you stop recording, you’re prompted to save the screencast.

Saving a screencast in Peek

In Ubuntu, at least, Peek saves the screencast in the Videos folder with the file name Peek-YYYY-MM-DD HH-MM — for example, Peek-2020-08-20 10-22. You can change the name and the location.

Simple, isn’t it?

Changing Preferences

Peek doesn’t have that many preferences. To change them, click the stacker menu in the top-right corner of the window and select Preferences.

Peek’s preferences

The options that you might want to change are:

Final Thoughts

Peek is a great little utility for quickly recording a short screencast. It’s easy to use and you don’t need to do any complex setup and fiddling to get it to work the way you want it to. Just start Peek and start recording. What could be easier?

Scott Nesbitt