24 of the Most Useful YouTube Keyboard Shortcuts

Whether you’re watching a video for instruction or entertainment, these YouTube hotkeys will make your life a whole lot easier.

YouTube is undoubtedly one of the most popular social networks today, hosting more than 2 billion monthly users who enjoy the unique long-form video platform that it offers. You probably use it more than you realize, and maybe you’ve even considered becoming a content creator yourself to try to rake in the big bucks. Whether you have dreams of Internet stardom or just want to enjoy the videos on the site, you’ll want to learn a few YouTube keyboard shortcuts that will make your user experience even more efficient and enjoyable.

“YouTube shortcuts make it easier for both users and content creators to make the most out of their YouTube experience,” explains Lianne Sanders, a licensed yoga instructor who has mastered the YouTube platform as a content editor for Total Shape. “Getting yourself familiarized with these shortcuts lessens the possibility of wasting time getting lost in navigating the application.”

You can find a full list of all the shortcuts at YouTube’s support center, but we’ve narrowed down the most useful ones to get you started. The first one you’ll want to memorize? You can hit “Shift + ?” when on YouTube to see a full list of shortcut options if you forget this information! Once you’re up to speed, check out these Zoom keyboard shortcuts you won’t know how you ever lived without.

The shortcuts you’ll use all the time

All seasoned YouTube users have their own favorite keyboard shortcuts. Sanders particularly loves the ones that allow her to skip backward and fast-forward by 10 seconds in the videos she is viewing. Flynn Zaiger, CEO of Online Optimism, a creative digital marketing agency that provides YouTube management services, is partial to the space bar since it can stop and start a video instantly. We’re betting that these YouTube hotkeys will become your favorites, too.

COMMANDACTION
JRewind 10 seconds
LSkip ahead 10 seconds
Space barPause video (and then play when you hit it again)
KPause video (and then play when you hit it again)
Right arrowSkip ahead 10 seconds
Left arrowRewind 10 seconds

If you’re an Apple user, you’ll also appreciate these Mac keyboard shortcuts.

YouTube frame by frame shortcuts

When you’re watching a YouTube video, you may want to pause it or direct it to a very precise second in the video. Instead of playing the video and hoping (and praying) to pause it at the perfect moment, you can play the video frame by frame (second by second) to ensure you land on exactly what you’re looking for. “This can be extremely helpful if you’re trying to screenshot one specific moment of a YouTube video,” Zaiger says.

COMMANDACTION
,Go forward frame by frame (when the video is paused)
.Go backward frame by frame (when the video is paused)
1Skip 10 percent of the video
2Skip 20 percent of the video
3Skip 30 percent of the video
4Skip 40 percent of the video
5Skip 50 percent of the video
6Skip 60 percent of the video
7Skip 70 percent of the video
8Skip 80 percent of the video
9Skip 90 percent of the video

Other helpful shortcuts

“If you’re looking to watch the video faster, or slower, keyboard shortcuts can help with that, too!” Zaiger says.

COMMANDACTION
Shift + <Slow down the video by .25
Shift + >Speed up the video by .25
CTurn closed captions on or off
FTurn full-screen mode on or off
/Go to the search box
Up arrowIncrease the volume by 5 percent
Down arrowDecrease the volume by 5 percent

Two shortcuts we wish existed (but don’t)

Have you ever wondered if there was a quick way to skip right to the next video you wanted to see, like when you’re watching yet another YouTube challenge? Or quickly block a certain content contributor? Us, too. Unfortunately, those YouTube keyboard shortcuts don’t yet exist. And neither do these.

Disable in-video advertising

“Unfortunately for users, there’s no keyboard shortcut to disable in-video advertising,” Zaiger says. “If you subscribe to YouTube Premium, you can remove any interruptions by ads before or during a video, including video overlay ads.” But even with a premium account, you may still see some ads alongside the videos.

While there may be no keyboard shortcut for avoiding advertisements, Zaiger says there are some Chrome extensions that do this. You could also sign up for services like Raspberry Pi and Pi-Hole on your home network. One word of warning: “Those strategies require more advanced customization and may have unexpected results on some of your favorite websites,” he cautions. Those unexpected results can, in some cases, mean you aren’t able to access the site at all. Speaking of web browsers, you won’t want to miss these essential Chrome keyboard shortcuts.

YouTube download shortcut

“The only official way to download YouTube videos is by subscribing to YouTube Premium,” Zaiger says. This will allow you to download videos from YouTube using its download button, but there is no keyboard shortcut for doing so.

“That being said, there are more unscrupulous sites out there that will allow you to download the files, which you can find via Googling,” he notes. “These sites tend to be covered in advertisements, or malware, since they have to make money from something, so be careful if you’re turning to this strategy.” And even if you decide to take that risk—it’s still not a keyboard shortcut. Worried that you accidentally downloaded some malware? Here are 12 signs your computer has a virus.

Time worth saving

Keyboard shortcuts can be intimidating to new users, especially those who feel like they have to memorize them all at once. But Zaiger says they can be incredibly valuable in the long run for those who truly enjoy the YouTube experience. “It’s worth it to spend 15 minutes trying to navigate through your favorite videos using only these keyboard shortcuts, to save you countless hours in your future YouTubing,” he explains.

We’re also making things a lot easier for you: Until you get the hang of it, simply print out the lists of YouTube hotkeys above and keep them next to your computer. Then start practicing! You’ll be a pro before you know it. Next, check out these 32 keyboard shortcuts for symbols and accents.

Sources: 

  • Omnicore: “YouTube by the Numbers: Stats, Demographics & Fun Facts”
  • Lianne Sanders, a licensed yoga instructor and a content editor for Total Shape
  • YouTube Help: “Keyboard shortcuts for YouTube”
  • Flynn Zaiger, CEO of Online Optimism

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Leah Campbell
Leah Campbell covers technology for Reader’s Digest as well as sites including Reviewed.com. She has a degree in developmental psychology and has written extensively on topics relating to infertility, dating, adoption and parenting. A single mother by choice after a serendipitous series of events led to the adoption of her daughter, Leah is also author of the book Single Infertile Female. She lives in Alaska. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin.