Record a Custom Activity for Desktop Applications

To create custom activities for desktop applications, start by recording users with the Aternity Recorder while they perform an activity. Then send the recording to a computer with the Aternity Activity Designer to create the custom activity.


For web applications, create custom activities with the Aternity Web Activity Creator (WAC). Learn more.

If end users still browse in IE10 or earlier, or if they use IE11 on an older legacy web app, you must use Aternity Recorder (not WAC). Learn more.

The Aternity Recorder, which is part of the Agent for End User Devices, collects the events which the Agent detects during an activity, such as mouse clicks or changes in the GUI, while recording a video of the user's actions. The Recorder is a dormant component of the Agent. The device's end user must manually enable it.

For example, to create a custom activity of opening the address book in Microsoft Outlook, record several users performing this action from the email window or from the meeting request window, using different mouse clicks or keyboard shortcuts.

Bookmarks are critical to your use of the recorder. Add a bookmark to indicate the beginning and end of an activity in the Aternity Recorder. Use one bookmark for each occurrence of an activity in your recording, to mark the approximate time when each activity begins and ends. Later, when you export the recording to the Aternity Activity Designer, the bookmarks enable you to quickly locate each activity in the recording.

Record, bookmark, and pinpoint events to measure activity performance

You can also record events needed to create an application event. For example record the number of times a particular dialog appears.

Before you begin

  • Define your business activity. Learn more.

  • Prepare to record activities on one or more monitored desktop devices, to capture realistic conditions. If you record in a test environment, you may inadvertently develop an activity for a beta version of the app, which may not work with the production version.

  • Use of the Recorder requires Agent for End User Devices version 8.0 or later.

  • Enable Recorder by updating the parameters in the Agent setup file (learn more)

  • For web applications, use the Aternity Recorder (NOT WAC) if your end users browse in IE10 or earlier, or if they use IE11 on older legacy sites where the document mode is 8 or earlier. To verify, open the site in IE11 and select F12 to open the Developer Tools pane. In the right hand side of the top bar of the pane, check the document mode number is 9 or later.

    Use Recorder if you use IE10 or earlier, or for IE11 users when the document mode is 8 or less
  • For web applications on devices with Agent for End User Devices 11 or later, use WAC (not Aternity Recorder).


  1. Step 1 Open the Recorder.

    Go to C:\ProgramData\Aternity and double-click the Aternity Recorder shortcut. The Recorder is part of the Agent for End User Devices.

    Open the Aternity Recorder

    The Recorder opens at the top right of your screen. The Recorder's stopwatch opens at the bottom right.

    Open the Recorder and stopwatch
    Field Description

    Select to create a bookmark marking the start of an activity.


    We recommend that you select Settings and configure a bookmark hotkey, to simplify the marking of video bookmarks during recording.

    Start/Stop /

    Select to start or to stop the Recorder.

    Recording Mode , ,

    Select auto capture (default) for the recording mode.

    Select a recording mode
    Show events

    (Advanced users) Select to display the events in your recording.

    Use this display to confirm that the Recorder is recording events.


    (Advanced users) Select to configure the Recorder settings. You can change the settings before or during recording.

    Open recordings folder

    Select to open the folder that contains all of your recordings.

    End bookmark

    (Appears after you select Bookmarks.) Select to mark the end of a bookmark range in the recording.

    You can also use your bookmark hotkey to mark the end of the range.

  2. Step 2 Confirm that the default Auto Capture setting is the recording mode to ensure that you capture all of the relevant events for the activity.
  3. Step 3 Select the start icon to start recording.

    Close and re-open the application you are recording, as prompted. This ensures that the Recorder captures the application's events.

    Recorder workflow
  4. Step 4 Prepare the application so that it is completely ready for you to start the business activity, to narrow the time range of the captured video and events.

    For example, record a user opening the Outlook address book by several methods, from within an email or a meeting request, creating a bookmark for each method.

  5. Step 5 Press your bookmark hotkey, to mark the approximate start of each activity, and immediately begin the business activity.

    Capture as many of the possible ways to open the address book as possible, creating a separate bookmark for each:

    • Select the Address Book button.

    • Click To..., From..., Cc... or Bcc....

    • Press Alt+. (shortcut for To....

    • Press Alt+c (shortcut for Cc....

    • Press Alt+b (shortcut for Bcc....

    • Press Ctrl+Shift+b from any of the To..., From..., Cc... or Bcc... fields.

    • Press either the Enter key or the space bar when any of the To..., From..., Cc... or Bcc... buttons are in focus.

  6. Step 6 Press the bookmark hotkey again immediately after the activity is complete to mark the end of a bookmarked activity, and then provide a name for that segment of the recording.

    Provide a meaningful name for each bookmark. For example, if you received an error or prompt instead of the address book, you would name the bookmark Open address book error. Others could be named Click To. Enter To, Alt+b, and so on.

    Name your bookmark

    In the example, open the address book in all of the listed ways and create a bookmark for each. Making this recording with a bookmark for each activity, takes about 10 minutes.

  7. Step 7 Select the stop icon to stop the Recorder.

    When you stop the Recorder, you are prompted to save, delete, or continue the recording. We recommend that you provide a meaningful name for the file.

    Name and save your activity recording

    Record the business activity several times with several users.

    Have users repeat the business activity while attempting to generate common errors and confirmation messages, so that you can design your activity to relate to or ignore various events.

  8. Step 8 Transfer the recording to the Aternity Activity Designer and create an activity by pinpointing its start and end events.

    Access the recordings by clicking Open recordings folder in the Recorder. Typical recordings are of a size that you can transfer on USB drives or from file shares, for example.