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Instructional Design and Development Consultant and consultations in elearning and distance education. We aim to provide tips and ideas for your e-learning projects....From Freelancers to development tips as well as providing students the resources they need to successfully complete online training. You want to make the right choices when you create your e-learning program.

Camtasia vs. Captivate

Adobe Captivate and TechSmith Camtasia are two of the most widely used e-Learning development tools in the industry. Both are excellent tools, but sometimes one can work better for you than the other depending on what type of presentation you are creating. In this article, you will learn the differences between the two software titles as well as tips on how to decide which one is best suited for developing your e-Learning presentations and training programs.

First, consider these questions:

  • Are you creating a full-motion, software demonstration? Or do you need to create an interactive, software simulation which allows the learner to practice software functionality?
  • What is your audience and what are you goals and objectives?
  • Finally, what is your budget?

Both Captivate and Camtasia can:

  • Record screen and keyboard activity as you type
  • Integrate audio and video to produce professional training demonstrations
  • Allow learners to click on hot-spots to move to a different part of the program
  • Allow quizzing which is SCORM and AICC compliant

Adobe Captivate is best for…

  • Interactive simulations
  • Complex software demonstrations
  • Training programs which allow learners to branch to different paths to test software functionality
  • Extensive, flexible hotspots with logic
  • Varied assessment questions with scoring and reporting capabilities including the following type of questions: Multiple-choice, True/False, Fill-in the Blank, Short Answer, Matching, Hot-Spot and Sequence

TechSmith Camtasia is best for…

  • Full-motion software demonstrations
  • Streaming video
  • Recording everything on your screen, including movement, animation and audio in one movie
  • Limited hotspots
  • Limited scored quizzing including Multiple Choice and Fill-in the blank

How much does each one cost?

Techsmith Camtasia Studio 7.0: $279.00 (click for more details).
Adobe Captivate 5.0: $799.99 (click for more details).


  • Both Camtasia and Captivate are available for free trial download, which is a great way to experiment and try both titles.
  • Start by demonstrating software functionality to the learner, then build interactive, scored practice modules to allow the learner to master the functions of the program.
  • Consider using Camtasia to develop quick, professional videos which demonstrate software functionality, such as login procedures, navigation and menu selections.
  • Consider using Captivate to create interactive, software simulations to engage the learner.
  • Remember that using both tools will allow you the most flexibility in your e-Learning development.

Remember the questions at the beginning? Let’s revisit them…

  • Are you creating a full-motion, software demonstration? You can accomplish this by using Camtasia. You can also use Captivate too if your budget will allow you to purchase it.
  • Or do you need to create an interactive, software simulation which allows the learner to practice software functionality? In this case, Captivate is the best choice and will offer you the most flexibility with interactivity.
  • What is your audience and what are you goals and objectives? This is important to consider for any presentation, because you’ll need to make sure the format option when you export your presentation is doable for your end-users. Also consider your objectives as well. If your learners need hands-on practice, Captivate is the winner here. If on the other hand, you only need to make demos for end-users to watch, you can use Camtasia for some quick and easy demos.
  • Finally, what is your budget? If your budget is low, start by downloading the free trial versions of both Camtasia and Captivate, then do a little comparison and experiment. You might find that you need both, depending on the type of presentations and e-learning programs you will be developing.

What’s my favorite of the two? I love them both. However, I learned Captivate years ago when it was first called Robodemo, so I have a special soft spot for Captivate. It was the first e-learning tool that totally amazed me and improved so much over the years! I’ve only been using Camtasia for a few years, and I found it easier to use, but of course it doesn’t have the robust capabilities that Captivate possesses. It depends what you doing. 

Final note:

  • Quick demo with no or limited hotspots and no or very limited interactivity-> Camtasia.
  • More involved demo, robust interactive lesson with lots of logic and hotspots galore-> Captivate.

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