You spend a lot of time on YouTube, watching the newest videos from your favorite channels or catching up with the antics of the latest viral feline stars. You share videos on Facebook, email them to your mom, and view them on your phone.
Now it’s time to level up your YouTube game. There’s a whole world of YouTube tricks that stretch far beyond just pressing play. Sharpen up your YouTube skills with these five quick tips and elevate yourself to ninja-user status.
1. Turn off autoplay
Autoplay can be convenient if you just want YouTube to feed you an unending supply of videos it thinks you might like, but often you don’t want a random video automatically playing right after you just finished watching another one. This is a quick fix, but it’s easy to overlook. Scan your eyes to the right-hand side of your browser window and look for a small toggle switch labeled “Autoplay.” Click the switch to turn it gray and turn off the endless feed of videos.
2. Link to a specific point
Once upon a time, YouTube limited the length of videos that could be uploaded, but verified accounts can now post very lengthy videos. Never fear. If you see something you want to share at a particular point in the middle of a video, you can get a link that takes people directly to that moment.
Click the share tab below the video. Look for a checkbox below the link. It will automatically display the time at which you currently have the video stopped. You can stick with this time or choose a different time. The link above will change to reflect the new start time. Copy that link and share it over social media or email it to a friend. When someone clicks on it, it will start the video right at that point.
3. Make a GIF
It’s fun to take a snippet of a larger video and package it into a short, shareable, eye-catching GIF image. The easiest way to turn a YouTube video into a GIF is by going up to the address bar in your browser and adding “gif” after the “www.” and before “youtube.com.” Hit enter and you will be taken to Gifs.com. Gifs.com is not affiliated with YouTube, but it’s a nifty tool.
The Gifs.com site lets you select the start and end times from the video. You can also choose to add a caption, apply visual effects, or superimpose “stickers,” which include Pokemon characters and short animations. Once you’re happy with your selections, choose ”Create Gif” in the corner and give the site a few moments to finalize the video image. Gifs.com will generate web links for your fresh GIF, but you will need to sign up for an account if you want to download it to your computer.
4. Keyboard shortcuts
You don’t have to reach for the mouse every time you want to start, pause, fast-forward, or rewind a YouTube video. The spacebar is the first keyboard shortcut you should get familiar with. Tap the spacebar to either pause or play a video. The “K” key will also play and pause, or you can hold it down to toggle back and forth between the two, which gives the video a strange slow-motion effect.
Another handy keyboard shortcut involves the arrow keys. The left arrow key bumps the video back by five seconds and the right arrow bumps it forward by five seconds. The up and down arrows also have a purpose. They control the volume.
Don’t rely on your mousing skills and sheer timing luck when you’re trying to stop a video on a single frame. Hit pause and then use the comma and period keys to move back or forward one frame at a time.
5. View transcripts
Not all YouTube videos have transcripts, but many do. To check out a transcript, select the “More” option under the video and choose “Transcript.” You will see a description of what is spoken in the video next to the time it occurs during the footage. Select a transcript line to jump directly to that place in the video. This is handy for finding a particular quote within a video.