Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

General Questions

What is Scratch, and what can I do with it?

Scratch is a programming language and online community where you can create your own interactive stories, games, and animations -- and share your creations with others around the world. In the process of designing and programming Scratch projects, young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively.To learn more about Scratch, check out the About Scratch page.

How do I make a game or animation with Scratch?

Check out the help page to see lots of ways to get started with Scratch. Or just dive in to the project editor.

What are the system requirements for Scratch?

To run Scratch 2, you need a relatively recent web browser (Chrome 7 or later, Firefox 4 or later, or Internet Explorer 7 or later) with Adobe Flash Player version 10.2 or later installed. Scratch 2 is designed to support screen sizes 1024 x 768 or larger. If your computer doesn’t meet these requirements, you can try downloading and installing Scratch 1.4, which you can still use to share projects to the Scratch 2 website.

Do you have an downloadable version so I can create and view projects offline?

The Scratch 2 offline editor (beta version) is now available. You can also still use Scratch 1.4. Note: You can have both Scratch 1.4 and 2 on your computer.

Can I still upload projects created with older versions of Scratch to the website?

Yes - you can share or upload projects made with earlier versions of Scratch, and they will be visible and playable. (However, you can’t download projects made with or edited in later versions of Scratch and open them in earlier versions. For example, you can’t open a Scratch 2 project in Scratch 1.4, because Scratch 1.4 doesn’t know how to read the .sb2 project file format.)

Can I make a video with Scratch and upload it to YouTube?

To make a video of your Scratch project, you can use screen capture software like CamStudio. But keep in mind, some Scratch projects are interactive: they do different things depending on what the viewer does (for example: a video game that responds to key presses). Videos are not interactive - they show the exact same thing each time you play them. So you can definitely make a video of your Scratch project, just keep in mind that videos and projects aren’t the same.

How much does Scratch cost? Do I need a license?

Scratch is and always will be free. You don’t need a license to use Scratch in your school, home, or anywhere else. The development and maintenance of Scratch is paid for by grants and donations. If you’d like to contribute to Scratch, check out our Donate page.

Who created Scratch?

Scratch is developed and maintained by the Scratch Team at the Lifelong Kindergarten group at MIT Media Lab.

Privacy Policy

What information do you ask for during account registration?

To protect the privacy of our community members, we limit what we collect and what we publish on the website. During the registration process, we ask for the following information:

  • username - We ask that users avoid using their real names or other identifying information.
  • country
  • birth month and year - We use this to confirm ownership of the account if the owner loses the password and email, or writes to ask us to close the account closed.
  • gender
  • contact email address - If the account holder is younger than 13, we ask for the email address of their parent or guardian. We do not send email to this address except when someone requests to have the account password reset.

The username and country of the account holder are displayed publicly on their profile page. The birth month / year, email address, and gender associated with the account are not displayed publicly. We collect this info so we can know the age and gender of our users in aggregate, and for research purposes. We do not sell or rent information about our users to anyone.

What data is collected from people while they use the website?

When a user logs in, the Scratch website asks their browser to put an http cookie on their computer in order to remember that they are logged in while they browse different pages. We collect some data on where users click and which parts of the site they visit using Google Analytics. This "click data" helps us figure out ways to improve the website.

Some of the information and data collected on the Scratch website are used in research studies intended to improve our understanding of how people learn with Scratch. The results of this research are shared with educators and researchers through conferences, journals, and other publications. You can find out more on our Research page.

Does the Scratch Team sell or rent information about users of Scratch to anyone?

No.

Can the Scratch Team view unshared projects on my 'My Stuff' page?

Since the Scratch Team is responsible for moderation, we have access to all content stored on the Scratch website - including unshared projects. If you prefer to work on projects in complete privacy, you can use either the Scratch 2 offline editor (beta) or Scratch 1.4.

Remixing and Copying

What is a remix?

When a Scratcher makes a copy of someone else’s project and modifies it to add their own ideas (for example, by changing scripts or costumes), the resulting project is called a "remix." Every project shared to the Scratch website can be remixed. We consider even a minor change to be a valid remix, as long as credit is given to the original project creator and others who made significant contributions to the remix.

Why does the Scratch Team require that all projects be “remixable”?

We believe that viewing and remixing interesting projects is a great way to learn to program, and leads to cool new ideas. That’s why the source code is visible for every project shared to the Scratch website.

What if I don’t want others to remix my projects?

Everything on Scratch is remixable. By sharing your project on the Scratch website, you agree to license it under a Creative Commons Share Alike license. This means it is okay for anyone to reuse the ideas, music, artwork, or anything else found in your Scratch project. If you don’t want others to view and remix your creations, don’t share them on the Scratch website.

Can I use images / sounds / media from outside of the Scratch website in my Scratch projects?

Yes! To find art and sounds that are licensed for remixing, check out the Creative Commons search page. Be sure to give credit to anyone whose work you re-use in the “Notes and Credits” section on your project page, and include a link back to the original. Remixing of media not explicitly licensed for re-use may be permitted under the Fair Use clause of US copyright law. Fair use allows for the remixing of copyrighted material for non-profit, educational purposes.

Accounts

I forgot my password, how can I reset it?

Enter your account name on the password reset page. The website will send an email to the address associated with the account containing a link you can use to reset your password.

How do I change my password?

Go to the Scratch website, login, and then click your username in the upper right corner of the window. Choose "account settings", and click the link to change your password.

How do I change my email address?

Go to the Scratch website, login, and then click your username in the upper right corner of the window. Choose "account settings", and click the link to change your email.

How do I transition from 'New Scratcher' to 'Scratcher'?

Make and share projects, comment helpfully on other Scratcher's projects, and be patient! After a few weeks of being active, a link will appear on your profile page inviting you to become a Scratcher. (Note that we don't promote New Scratchers to Scratcher on request - even when bribed with fancy chocolates.)

Can I have more than one account?

It's fine to have a few accounts on the Scratch website, as long as none of them are used to break the Community Guidelines. In that case, all related accounts may be blocked or deleted.

Is it OK to have more than one person logged into an account?

This is discouraged, because the website and project editor can easily get confused when more than one person is logged into the same account.

Can I change my username?

The structure of the Scratch website depends on having a consistent account name, so it’s not possible to change your username. If you really need to, you can make a new account - but you'll have to copy your projects over on your own.

What information can I share on / with my account?

Please don’t share personal contact information, such as your physical address, email, phone number, or anything else that can be used to make contact outside of the Scratch website. Please report projects, comments, or forum posts that contain this kind of information so the Scratch team can remove it, and remind the author of our policy.

How do I delete my account?

First, download any projects that you want to keep. Once the account is deleted, your projects will no longer be available. Use the form on the Contact Us page and include the following information:

  • Birth Month and Year that you entered when you created the account
  • The email address associated with the account

Licensing and Permissions

Is Scratch free?

Yes! Scratch is available free of charge. You can use it in your school, and you can teach a course about it (even a course that costs money). You don't need to buy a license - it's free.

Can I use Scratch and / or screenshots of Scratch in a textbook or a CD?

Yes, you can even write a book or chapter about Scratch. You may also use the Scratch logo when referring to Scratch. You may create screenshots / images of the Scratch application and website, and consider them to be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. We ask that you include a note on your textbook / CD / what have you that says "Scratch is developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. See http://scratch.mit.edu".

Can I include a description of Scratch and the Scratch logo in brochures or other materials?

Sure! We recommend the following description: "Scratch is a programming language and online community where you can create your own interactive stories, games, and animations -- and share your creations with others around the world. In the process of designing and programming Scratch projects, young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively. Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab. It is available for free at http://scratch.mit.edu"

Can I present Scratch at a conference?

Please feel free to make presentations about Scratch to educators or other groups. We grant our permission to make presentations.

May I use / remix Scratch support materials, sprites, images, sounds or sample projects I’ve found on the website?

Yes - Scratch support materials made available on the Scratch website by the Scratch Team are available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, with the exception of the Scratch Logo, Scratch Cat, and Gobo (Scratch trademarks).

Can I sell my Scratch projects?

Certainly - your project is your creation. Keep in mind that once you share your project on Scratch, everyone is free to download, remix, and reuse it as per the terms of the CC-BY-SA 2.0 license. So if you intend to sell your project, you may want to un-share it from Scratch.

Where can I find the source code for Scratch?

The source code for Scratch 2 (website and editor) is not yet available. The source code for Scratch 1.4, written in Squeak, is available on github. The source code for the first version of the Scratch website - ScratchR - is available on Assembla.

Inappropriate Content

How do I know what is or isn’t okay to share on the Scratch website?

Check out the Scratch community guidelines - they’re brief and don’t include a lot of legal stuff. There’s a link at the bottom of every page on Scratch.

What do I do if I see something that’s inappropriate?

You can click the link that says “report” on any project, comment, discussion post, or user page where you think something isn't ok for Scratch. If the situation is complicated, you can use the Contact Us link to explain. Be sure to include as much detail as you can, with links to relevant pages.

What do I do if I see someone being mean or disrespectful?

Don’t add to the flames! Responding to mean comments with more mean comments just makes things worse, and could result in your account being blocked. Instead, simply report anything that is disrespectful or unconstructive, and we’ll follow up with the author. We check reports every day, multiple times per day - so rest assured, we'll sort things out.

What does the Scratch team do when something is reported or flagged?

The Scratch Team reviews reported comments and projects every day. If something breaks the Scratch community guidelines, we may remove it and send a warning to the account. Depending on how bad it is (or if we’ve already warned the account), we may also block the accounts or networks that were used to share it.

What happens when an account is blocked?

When an account is blocked, the owner can no longer access it, or use it to create projects or comments. When they login, they see a page that explains why the account was blocked with a web form they can use to request to be unblocked. If the owner can show that they understand why their account was blocked, and promises to follow the community guidelines in the future, the Scratch Team will review their case. Accounts will only be unblocked in cases where the account owner’s word can be trusted. Otherwise, the account (and most likely other accounts owned or created by that person) may be blocked permanently.

My mean brother / Kaj / some other bad guy stole my account and got it banned, what do I do?

You are responsible for keeping your password secure. If someone in real life takes control of your account and does bad stuff, tell the adults in charge of the computers. If you think someone you don’t know got access to your account, change the password and / or use the contact us link to explain the situation. If you got blocked for doing something that broke the community guidelines, don't just say you got hacked. If we can't trust you, we won't unblock you.

Cloud Data

What is cloud data?

Cloud data is a feature in Scratch 2 that allows for data from a project to be saved and shared online. You can use cloud data to make surveys and other projects that store numbers over time.

Who can see the data stored in cloud data?

When you interact with a project using cloud data blocks, your information can be stored along with your username, and others can view it. Each project keeps a log of who interacted with it and any data they shared.

Why is cloud data currently limited to only numbers -- with no strings or lists?

The current site is limited to numbers in variables as an initial step to work out any issues with their use on the site. We plan to roll out cloud data features incrementally. If the infrastructure is working well, we plan to add other features (cloud lists, support for strings, etc.).

If I see someone post inappropriate content using cloud data, how do I report it?

Click the "Report this" button (under on the project player) to report inappropriate content in cloud data. The report form includes a link to a log of all cloud data in that project and who left it - you may want to take look at it before sending your report. Make sure that you mention "cloud data" when you type your reason in the report.

Can I make chat rooms with cloud data?

While it is technically possible to create chat rooms with cloud data, they are not currently allowed. We will reconsider this policy once we have a better sense of our capability for moderating and managing reports on cloud data.

How do I add a cloud variable when I'm making a project?

When you make a variable, you can check the box that says "Cloud variable." Any data you store will be saved on the server and visible to others.

Who can change the information in a cloud variable?

Only your project can store data in its cloud variable. If people change or remix your code, it creates a different variable in their project with the same name.

I am logged in, but I still cannot use projects with cloud data. What is going on?

You need to have become a "Scratcher" on the website to have access to cloud data. You can become a Scratcher through actively participating on the website.

Is it possible to make multiplayer games with cloud data?

Multiplayer games may be difficult to create, due to network speed and synchronization issues. However, some Scratchers are coming up with creative ways to use the cloud data for turn-by-turn and other games.

How long does it take for cloud data to reach another Scratcher?

It depends. If both Scratchers have a reasonably fast Internet connection (DSL/Cable), and there are no restrictive firewalls on the computers/network, updates should be transmitted in milliseconds. However, a lot of computers have firewall software running in them, and if the firewall software blocks outgoing connections to TCP port 531 and TCP port 843, the time-lag becomes one-second. We are currently trying to figure out ways in which we can work around this limitation.