How To Control YouTube Video Playback With Keyboard Shortcuts

When you play a YouTube video on your Mac in a web browser you can use keyboard shortcuts to jump around in the video, control volume, go to full screen and turn on or off captions. Make sure you have the YouTube video selected as the keyboard focus by clicking on it before you try to use shortcuts.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: How To Control YouTube Video Playback With Keyboard Shortcuts.

When you think of keyboard shortcuts on your Mac usually you think about how they interact with the Finder or with different apps. But you can also, sometimes, interact with different things such as YouTube videos on a webpage. There's a whole set of custom keyboard shortcut that work with those. Those are built into the YouTube videos themselves. They're not something special on your Mac. So let's take a look at an example.

I'm going to look at a video on the MacMost site. So this is an imbedded video that is part of a webpage. But the same thing will be true if you use YouTube videos at the YouTube site as well. So you can see here I'm playing the video and you want to get it going.

First use keyboard shortcuts and you have the controls at the bottom. Also the keyboard focus, which is where the keystrokes go when you press a key, may actually be on the webpage not the actual video itself. So you want to make sure before you use keyboard shortcuts that the last thing you did was click on the video in some way. So I'll click on it to keep it going and pausing it. Now I know the focus is on the video.

So some things are really obvious. Like, for instance, the spacebar to play or pause. So I can hit spacebar here and you can see it continues playing and I can hit the spacebar again to pause. Another thing you can do is you can jump around in the video using the arrow keys. So use the arrow keys, the right one and the left one, in this case I had the volume selected so let's go back to playing there. The right arrow key, you can see, will move forward by five seconds. So 26 seconds, 31 seconds, 36 seconds. The left arrow key by five in the other directions.

Now there's also the ability to use the J, K, and L keys. The K key will also pause and resume just like the spacebar. The J and L keys will go forward by ten seconds or backwards by ten seconds. So you can kind of use those keys. You can put three fingers over them and quickly jump around in the video.

Likewise you can use the number key, at the top of your keyboard, to jump to a portion of the video. For instance pressing one will move to 10% in the video. Five will move to the middle. Nine will move to 90% and zero will move all the way back to the beginning.

Now you can easily jump into full screen mode with f and use f to jump out of full screen mode or the escape key will work for that as well. You can also go and change the volume using the up and down arrow keys. So watch the volume change. If I actually move the cursor over here you can see it going. It's actually muted right now so I'm going to hit the m key, another one to unmute. You can see now I can move it up and down with the up and down arrow keys and I can hit m to mute it again.

You can speed up the playback of the video actually by using Shift and then the period or the comma. The period will speed it up and the comma to slow it down. So let me get it playing here and I will go Shift and then period and you can see it's going to speed it up and move pretty quickly. You can see how quickly those seconds are moving. Comma will actually slow it down. I can hit multiple commas there to actually go really slow. So you can see the video is actually moving but it's going quite slowly.

You can, let me pause it with the k there, you can actually use the period and the comma to move forward frame by frame or the comma to move backward frame by frame. In addition to m for mute and unmute, you can use c to turn on captioning. So you can see the captions there at the bottom of the screen.

That pretty much sums up all the different things you can do with keyboard shortcuts. You can really do a lot to control things. You can put your fingers over the J, K, and L keys or all four arrow keys and have a lot of controls for playing back a video.

Comments: 3 Responses to “How To Control YouTube Video Playback With Keyboard Shortcuts”

    Peter Whitford
    8 months ago

    Wow! I can’t tell you how many of these things I have Wished I could do, and now I can thanks to you 😊😊😊😊

    Peter Whitford
    8 months ago

    Wow! I can’t tell you how many of these things I have Wished I could do, and now I can thanks to you 😊😊😊😊

    Robert Strasser
    8 months ago

    The use of a comma to move back frame by frame does not work on my iMac. If I pause a video, then hit comma, the video starts playing. I am using 10.13.6
    Thanks for all the hints. I didn’t know most of them and will be using them in the future.

Comments Closed.