Hidden features of YouTube

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Everyone visits YouTube at one time or another. Some people visit it and watch videos every day. There are even people that spend HOURS each day watching those videos. But I’ll bet there are a lot of people, even those that use YouTube every day, that don’t know some of these shortcuts that work in YouTube.

YouTube secrets

For most media players, such as Windows Media Player or VLC Media Player, the standard keyboard key for pausing the video and starting it again is the space bar. That doesn’t work with YouTube. YouTube is a website. When you’re viewing a website, and you hit the space bar on your keyboard, it just makes the website you’re looking at scroll down by one page length.

For YouTube, the key to Pause/Play a video is:

YouTube secrets


I don’t know about you, but when I first discovered this, my reaction was, “Why K?” It seems like “P” might make more sense since it could stand for “play” or “pause”. Maybe because K is right there in the center of the keyboard. I mean, if you look at your overall keyboard from left to right, K is just about right in the middle. But whatever the reason is, K is what you tap if you want to pause a YouTube video or start it up playing again. Go watch a YouTube video now and try it out.

And that’s not all. If you’re watching a video and you want to go back 10 seconds and replay, hit the letter J (that one does make sense, since it is immediately to the left of K). And if the video has a boring part you want to skip over, tap L to fast forward 10 seconds (again, just to the right of K so it’s the obvious choice).

Want to rewind just 5 seconds back? Hit the left arrow key. And as you might guess, the right arrow key fast forwards 5 seconds.

And the up and down arrows are useful too – they increase or decrease the audio volume.

Most YouTube videos are much easier to watch, and more entertaining, when they take up the full screen. If you’re watching a video and it’s just the regular YouTube window, you can tap the letter F (for Full screen) and have the video fill up your screen. Tap it again to go back to the original view.


youtube secrets


is not nearly as impressive or as fun to watch as this:

youtube secrets


Want to quickly shut off just the audio portion of a YouTube video? Hit M for Mute.

You can also turn on Closed Captions for almost any YouTube video just by hitting the letter C. Tapping it again turns captioning off.

Here’s a fun one – you can speed up or slow down a video by using the “less than” or “greater than” keys:

youtube secrets


Of course, with those keys, you need to hold down the Shift key at the same time since the symbols are at the top of the key. Otherwise you would just be hitting the comma or the period.

And finally – quickly navigating through a video. You can do this with the number keys 1 through 9. YouTube divides every video into 10 equal parts, no matter how long the video is overall. So if you want to go immediately to the halfway point on a video, you just hit the number 5. If you want to be at the point where the video is 80% done, you hit 8. This can be really handy if you have a long video and you want to just sort of skim it for certain content but you’re not sure exactly where it is.

So here’s a summary of these shortcuts, in case you want to print it:

K = Play/Pause
J = Back 10 seconds
L = Forward 10 seconds
Left arrow = back 5 seconds
Right arrow = forward 5 seconds
Up arrow = increase volume
Down arrow = decrease volume
F = full screen
M = Mute
C = toggle Closed Captions on and off
< = slow down a video
> = speed up a video
1-9 = navigate through the video

Once you practice these shortcuts for a little while, you’ll probably end up using some of them all the time since it’s a lot easier and quicker than using a mouse. And now you know some cool things that your friends don’t know!

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October 19th, 2015

This is great, thanks, Scott!

October 19th, 2015

Cool. Great info. So well written.

Suzanne van der Merwe
October 19th, 2015

Dear Scott

What you write about the You Tube Secrets is just fantastic.
For once I could understand EVERY word as they are basic and elementary!

How the dickens did you discover the “truth “about these secrets?

THANK YOU for doing what you are doing and SHARING so much of it with us, your devoted followers (as I am ) in such a fun way.

I feel quite boosted up having read what you wrote.