Last Updated Jul 19, 2010 12:14 AM EDT
Inevitably, there will come a time when you're asked to train someone to perform some task on the computer. Perhaps you're the expert with some new LOB tool. Or you are the only person in office who knows the right way to file a business expense. No matter: Here's a way to record all the steps, complete with detailed notes, easily and for free. Just give that to your mentee, and take a long lunch.
Microsoft ships a tool called the Problem Step Recorder in Windows 7. It's intended as a troubleshooting tool, but you can use it to record any procedure at all, and share it as an MHT file that anyone else can read and follow step-by-step.
To get started, just type "step" in the Start menu's search box and click Record steps to reproduce a problem.
Click Start Record and then just click your way through the procedure. Go as fast or slow as you like. It's not recording a screencast video; it's talking a picture of the screen every time you click or enter data with the keyboard. Windows annotates each screenshot with a description of what you actually did, such as clicking the Start button or clicking a particular button in an application. And for more clarity, you can stop and add a comment at any time, and it'll appear with the screenshot.
When you're done, click Stop Record and save the file. E-mail it to anyone who needs to know how to do that task. It's simple enough to follow along on screen, or it can be printed for offline reference.