Adobe Captivate vs Techsmith Camtasia

Two of the most often used and requested eLearning development programs are Adobe Captivate and Techsmith Camtasia. Both programs offer a wide variety of tools that assist in making web-based learning more interactive and intuitive. There are some differences to take into consideration when deciding which one you should use to develop your curriculum.

Adobe Captivate software is included with our Adobe site license, thus it can be installed at no charge for any UW Colleges employee whose home campus subscribed to the Adobe site license, as well as for all UW Extension employees. Check to see if your UW Colleges campus subscribes to the Adobe site license here.

A software license must be purchased for Techsmith Camtasia.

The comparison of Adobe Captivate and Techsmith Camtasia used by permission of author Bill Albrecht. See his blog for more information.


  • Allows the user to create interactive simulations of software programs
  • Takes detailed screen capture simulations
  • Allows for complex student interaction; giving them the opportunity to go down the incorrect path and learn from mistakes
  • Complex and varied activity and testing options (multiple choice, hot-spots, drag and drop, matching)
  • Takes full-motion video simulations
  • Great for streaming video content
  • Easy to post to file sharing sites, such as YouTube
  • Capture screen and keyboard info exactly as done and typed
  • Record video and audio/voice
  • Include SCORM/AICC complaint quizzes

Adobe Captivate is the better choice if you are looking for a little more complexity in your demonstrations, something more interactive. Team members can contribute content to your project without modifying the design. Assessments and quizzes are robust, with a large variety of question types and randomization. Controls, skins and templates are customizable. The learning and testing options are far more varied when it comes to Captivate. 

Techsmith Camtasia allows for full motion recording to create HD quality software demonstrations for training purposes. Camtasia looks a little like Windows Movie Maker and Adobe Premiere combined, so the interface isn’t too difficult to learn. You can record everything you do on your screen in one movie. If these are the main functions you need and interactivity is limited, Camtasia is for you. Camtasia does have hotspot and quizzing features, but compared to Captivate, those features are more limited. YouTube-ready videos are also more easily created in Camtasia. Camtasia is also very handy for live streaming video.

Bottom Line:

Use Captivate when you need more interactivity and you want users to try something themselves.

Use Camtasia for narrated demonstrations where you are showing a user something.

For more information about these applications visit the respective vendor website.

Adobe Captivate

Techsmith Camtasia

Keywords:adobe captivate techsmith camtasia software install license program compare   Doc ID:44574
Owner:Ken R.Group:UW-Extension and Colleges
Created:2014-10-29 15:14 CDTUpdated:2015-11-20 12:54 CDT
Sites:UW-Extension and Colleges
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