ScribeHow is a recently launched application that lets you record a process and instantly generate a text and picture-based step-by-step guide.
As someone who makes tutorials and how-to guides all the time—both for profit and for pleasure—I am always intrigued by a tool that can make my life a little easier. After all, a lot goes into creating a step-by-step tutorial, no matter the topic.
In today’s article, we’ll get into all of the pros and cons, including how the app works and some of its most helpful features. Let’s get into it!
Who is ScribeHow for?
However, when you have a massive backlog of work to do, this can be tricky to accomplish, especially at scale. I stumbled across an app called ScribeHow recently, which really drew me in. After test-driving the free version of the app, I was surprised by how quickly it generated a step-by-step process I could view and share online.
Now, this review won’t be me just fawning over how great the app is. I will admit, I enjoyed it enough to sign up for a month of premium. However, ScribeHow is not without its drawbacks. Let’s get into how everything works under the hood so you can decide for yourself.
Scribe: How does it work?
The app works by recording your screen and noting any inputs you make during your recording. For example, the app will record where you click and what keys you press and generate a screenshot and text-based documentation. While the auto-generated text doesn’t fill in all the details, it comes pretty close, and you can always edit the text to be more specific.
Overall, ease of use is not an issue. You don’t need to know a lick of programming. In fact, you barely need any technical chops at all. The app is entirely “point and click.”
Let’s talk about the interface.
The picture above shows your ScribeHow dashboard. After signing up, this will be your home base, whether you get the free or the paid version. You can see your recent Scribes on the bottom, preferences, and settings along the left sidebar, and the new Scribe button toward the top right.
While the app is available as a Chrome extension or desktop version, your ScribeHow dashboard remains on the website. That being said, the first critical issue with the free version becomes apparent: on the unpaid plan, you get access to the Chrome extension, but this is only good for recording processes that stay in the browser.
In other words, if you want to record a process for a specific app, or combination of apps, you’ll have to opt for the premium version.
How to use ScribeHow: Recording and editing
While Scribe’s primary function is to automate the process of creating how-to guides and tutorials, you will still have some work to do. That being said, the app does lighten the load a bit.
To make a recording, open the Chrome extension, and hit “Start Recording.” Work through your process as you normally would, and Scribe will document everything from start to finish. When you’re done, open the extension and hit “Stop Recording.”
Your completed Scribe will open in a new tab. Here you can review it and make any edits to the text you need. As you will notice, Scribe doesn’t go into excessive detail when documenting your steps. It draws a yellow circle around any mouse clicks and highlights any keyboard input, particularly Enter key presses, so that you can add your own details later.
Once you’re done, you can copy the link to share it with others. Even if you just want to build up internal documentation for yourself or your own team, this feature comes in handy. You can also look up your previously created Scribes in your workspace.
ScribeHow: What are the premium features?
Since I’m skeptical of free apps claiming to offer extensive functionality, I’ve been looking for the catch. The critical functionality is free. You don’t need to sign up for a subscription just to access one key component, and you don’t get cut off for making too many Scribes. Overall, it’s a great free app.
However, the most remarkable features are behind a paywall—$23 per month at the time of this writing. We already discussed the free version’s limitation in that it can only record processes within the browser. This might be enough functionality for web development businesses or any web-based company that uses strictly online tools. However, you’ll have to get the desktop version to record processes in specific apps like text editors and IDEs.
Premium users also have access to a few additional features. The one that caught my eye first is the option to export your Scribe to HTML and markdown. While the free version lets you embed a Scribe in your website already, HTML exports are helpful for a web developer if you want finer control over your Scribe’s style and structure.
Exporting Scribes to markdown is particularly helpful if you’re trying to turn your Scribe into a blog post. Additionally, the screenshots stay hosted with ScribeHow, so you don’t need to worry about filling your posts up with heavy image files.
What is Scribe Missing?
Whenever I look at a product or application, I like to read the reviews, especially if I’m parting with my money. Among the best tips I ever received was to read two and three-star reviews, as these are the honest users who probably enjoyed the app but had a few complaints. I didn’t find any low ratings for Scribe—all four and five-star reviews were garnered primarily on this site.
Among the primary complaints is the lack of organization features, such as the ability to create branches and subfolders. One user’s wish is to link one Scribe to another to create a series of how-to guides. Another common theme is a requirement to add videos and gifs instead of solely screenshots. Since you can’t edit your screenshots on the free plan, your images can come out a little unprofessional if you don’t prepare.
Additionally, ScribeHow is not without its bugs. Sometimes it will miss a click or an input, leading to the occasional error. You’ll have to watch for these, as a missed step can go unnoticed and cause confusion.
At this price range, ScribeHow premium doesn’t make sense for most people. Unless your job requires creating system procedures frequently. Most of us will be okay with the free plan. If you want a free method to make a more detailed guide with the ability to customize your screenshots, you can always go back to the old method of taking screenshots and editing a document.
What is similar to Scribe?
This got me wondering if there are similar apps out there. Surely there must be some competition in this space. And to no surprise, I found a few alternatives. Each one offers something a touch different than Scribe.
For example, Fleeq is an alternative that allows you to use your camera to create video recordings. Another app, UserGuiding, offers a whole suite of tools, including a how-to guide creator. All of this comes at a higher price tag, with UserGuiding starting at $69 per month and Fleeq only available at custom enterprise pricing (I assume significantly higher).
Iorad is another app that shows some potential. In fact, at first glance, Iorad appears to offer the same functionality for personal users at no cost. You can create public-facing tutorials similar to ScribeHow, and share them for others to use. Iorad’s secret weapon is that you can also add audio and video to your guides, making them even more interactive.
If you want premium features, Iorad is a substantially larger investment than Scribe. The starter plans run $200 per month, with Pro and Company plans coming in at $500 and $3200, respectively. If you’re making tutorials on a massive scale for creating company documentation and onboarding new employees, these features might be worth it. But then again, Scribe offers similar functionality at a lower price point.
Overall, ScribeHow is an excellent app to keep in your toolbox. Whether or not the premium plan is worth it is another story. If you’re in an enterprise environment, this app might be invaluable. Making tutorials and developer documentation for a team can be tedious, so it’s easy to see how Scribe can fill a valuable role.
On the other hand, personal users won’t find much use for the premium plan. The free version provides plenty of functionality. While editing screenshots on the free plan and adding audio and video recordings would be nice, it gets the job done as a basic how-to guide creator.