Understanding Panopto streams

Before making a Panopto recording, it is helpful to understand the different sources that will be included and how they will look in the final recording. Each source creates a stream (of audio, video, sequential images etc.) that can be edited and recombined to get the effect you want.

How sources appear in the Panopto viewer

This is what a student would see if your recording included your webcam, slides, main screen and visualiser, for example.

Screenshot of where different sources are displayed in the Panopto viewer

Students can switch the main two windows or make either of them full screen using these buttons  in the top right of each window:

Screenshot of Swap and Expand Window buttons

The buttons will appear when you hover your mouse over the window.

How sources appear in the Panopto editor

This is what you would see while editing, if your recording included your webcam, slides, main screen and visualiser.

Screenshot of streams within the Panopto editor

Primary sources

The options for a primary source are audio only, or audio and video combined. The video would normally be your webcam.

Note that you cannot edit the webcam footage and audio track independently of each other. If you don’t want your webcam in the recording, the easiest way is to make sure your video is set to ‘None’ before you record. You can’t change these settings during recording.

Screenshot of Primary Sources options with no video selected

Recordings can only have one primary source stream at a time. If this includes video, by default it will appear in the top left in the Panopto viewer.

Secondary sources

You can have multiple secondary sources. The usual ones are your PowerPoint and Main Screen, which you can toggle on and off at any point. You can also add extra secondary sources, such as additional screens or a visualiser.

Screenshot of Secondary Sources options


If you are running Panopto in conjunction with a PowerPoint presentation, one of the secondary sources will be your slides. Make sure ‘Capture PowerPoint’ is selected in Secondary Sources box.

When you edit your recording, this source will appear in the SL row of your recording streams. Slides can be manipulated separately from your primary stream; you can add in extra slides or remove ones you don’t want without disturbing the audio track. You can even add an entirely new PowerPoint file and mix in slides from that.

By default, slides are shown in the Panopto viewer below the main window, unless you have no other secondary sources, in which case they will appear in the main window in the top right.

Main screen

When you edit your recording, this source will usually appear in the S1 row of your recording streams.

You are likely to be showing your PowerPoint presentation on your main screen for most of the time, so it may look very similar to the Slides stream. However, the recording of the presentation on your main screen will also capture any mouse movements, highlighting or animations, so you can indicate things on the slide as you discuss them. This is why the main window in the viewer defaults to this Main Screen view rather than just the slide deck, which consists of static images.

Of course, the Main Screen view can also be used to demonstrate anything else on your screen, such as a website or piece of software.

Do not use this method to show YouTube clips or run Mentimeter polls – these should be added during editing.

Other secondary sources

When you edit your recording, these sources will usually appear as S2, S3  etc. in your recording streams (depending on how many sources you have).

In the Panopto viewer, by default any other secondary sources will need to be toggled by the viewer, so they can choose which they follow at any particular time. However, you can edit your secondary streams to force certain ones to appear in the main window,  for example if you are working out a Maths problem using a visualiser and need students to pay attention to that. This is done using the Focus tool.


A list of contents is automatically generated from the headings of your slides, and will appear on the left on the Panopto viewer (below the primary video source if there is one). You can edit the headings or add a new contents entry in the Panopto editor. Do not delete the entry altogether if it has been generated from a slide, as that will also delete the slide it is tied to. This area of the screen is also where students can use notes, bookmarks and discussion tools.

For more information on Panopto, see:


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