Pencast tools



Pencast tools 

A pencast is a video clip of a hand writing text, formulas or making a drawing, coupled with audio commentary. There are different formats. A Kahn style pencast, for instance, is a format shows a black background with different colors writing; a writing-on-paper pen cast, shows a hand writing or drawing on a sheet of paper paper. A pencast may be live streamed or recorded. A recorded pencast can be a plain video or an interactive video; all depending on the combination of hardware and software that you use. 

For a writing-on-paper pencast as well as a Kahn style pencast you can use:

  1. A digital pen coupled with paper (for instance Live scribe) or a Pencast tablet with a digital pen (i.e. a Wacom pencast  tablet)
  2. Drawing software
  3. Screen capture software

There is an abundance of free drawing and screen capture software.Tablets offer a greater variety of brush style and background colours but take some practice to use. Digital pens are easier to use but are more limited in design colour and layout. On this page we combine hardware and software tools with tutorials on creating pencasts.

Note. If this all seems too complicated, you could opt for a more low tech solution, where you simply film a close-up of your hand writing or drawing on a piece of paper. In that case you just need a camera and editing tools.

How to make a pencast with a tablet and software

This tutorial describes the creation of Kahn style pencast, using a Wacom tablet, Smoothdraw, and FrontCam. Note that you can use the same tools to get a pencast with a white background: a writing-on-paper pencast. By the same token, you can use any combination of drawing and screen capture software, with your Wacom to get the same type of pancast.


How to make a writing-on-paper pencast using a digital pen. In this case a LiveScrbe pen 


Smoothdraw is an easy to use drawing application. It allows you to customize your brushes, background and text colour. Only for Windows (free).

Official website  


Krita is a drawing application that is a bit more advanced in the sense that it has more functions lets you create layers. It is nevertheless fairly straightforward to use.

Official website  

CamStudio open source 

CamStudio is free screen capture software to record all screen and audio activity on your computer.

Official website  

Livescribe smartpen for interactive pencast videos 

With this smartpen you can create interactive videos; you write on dotted paper and the small camera inside records the pen strokes and a microphone inside records your voice. The dotted paper can be purchased or printed with a laser printer. After recording Livescribe Pencast is saved as a Livescribe-PDF, an interactive document with notes and audio recordings. The viewer can click on a word or formula and play back the audio for it. A Livescribe pen and its software are sold together.

Official website | Tutorial 1 | Tutorial 2  


Explain Everything

Explain everything is a ‘collaborative and interactive whiteboard’ application that can be downloaded for Windows, iOS, Android and Chrome OS. Using a tablet or computer, you can write text and draw on a digital whiteboard (a slide) and import photos, videos and other files.

Official website  | Tutorial  



Anoto Pen Presenter – Livestream pencast

With an Anoto Pen Presenter you can stream written text to your PC and create a digital whiteboard. The Anoto pen is integrated with Powerpoint, making it easy to navigate through slides and to make notes on the slides. You may also choose to print you Anoto presentation.

Official website  | Tutorial