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How to Cut & Trim Videos in VLC MediaPlayer (Windows & Mac)

How to Cut & Trim Videos in VLC MediaPlayer (Windows & Mac)

Did you know you can use VLC for trimming & cutting videos? Video editing can definitely be an daunting task, but with the right tools, it doesn’t have to be.

However, VLC is not only a media player, but it doubles as a simple video editor and makes the trimming process very simple.

Making a simple cut or trim to a video was always an inconvenience for me – because I had to download, then learn the advanced controls of a entire new software.

Keep in mind: Trimming & cutting a video is different from Cropping a video in VLC as it refers to splitting – not resizing the pixels.

If you’re a VLC user, you actually have access to a simple trimming tools at your disposal. While VLC may not be designed specifically for video editing, it does offer some basic editing features, including the ability to trim videos on both Windows and Mac OS.

Related: How to Record your Screen with VLC

In this post, we’ll show you how to use VLC to trim, edit, clip, and cut your videos quickly and easily.

Key Takeaways

Users typically download VLC for viewing media files and are unaware that it can also be used for video editing.

VLC can still trim videos even though it’s not dedicated to video editing. Because of this, the actual trimming process on VLC is done differently.

  • To Trim a video in VLC on Mac, launch the video and hold the ⌘⌥ + R keys down. Your video will silently begin to trim (via recording). You can use the same hot keys to stop the recording, your trimmed video will be inside the movies folder.
  • To trim a video on VLC on Windows, you’ll need to navigate to the view menu at the top of the toolbar, then select advanced controls and record your clip that you want to trim using the menu that appears at the bottom of VLC.
  • Although VLC Media Player can trim videos, its editing capabilities are limited. Instead of trimming the way most video editing tools let you, it records the video clip you want to trim and leaves you with a trimmed version.

Related: How to make VLC the Default Player on Mac and Windows

Pro Tip on How to Trim Cut a Video in VLC on both mac and windows

An Effective alternative: Use Convert (ctrl+r), check the box for “show more options,” indicate the desired start and stop times, then choose the preferred format.

Finally, select “keep original audio/video tracks” before clicking “done.” This will work to cut or trim a video a bit more precisely on VLC.

While the end result is the same (a trimmed video), the cutting, clipping, and trimming process is still different from other softwares, which actually cuts the video for editing.

Related: How to Zoom in on Videos in VLC (Windows & Mac)

How to Trim & Cut a Video in VLC on Windows

how to cut trim videos in vlc on windows

If you already have VLC Media Player installed, then you can swiftly trim or cut a video. If not, you can download VLC and follow the steps. VLC also doubles as a video editing player, so the user does not need to install another separate program.

Important: On Mac, the steps for trimming a video are different.

Step 1: Download the latest version of VLC Media Player

Screenshot 2023 02 16 at 4.44.08 PM

You can skip the second step if you already have VLC Media Player installed. VideoLAN’s official website offers downloads for the latest player version.

Download the most recent version from VideoLAN’s website. The software can be launched from the desktop icon or the installed programs after installation.

Related: How to Merge Videos in VLC (Windows & Mac)

Step 2: Find & open your Video or Audio File

Step 2 Find open your Video or Audio File

The second step to trimming videos with VLC is finding and opening the video or audio file you want to edit.

You have various options available for this process, such as dragging and dropping the file directly into the VLC player window, clicking on the ‘Media’ option at the top left and selecting ‘Open File’, or using a keyboard shortcut by hitting Ctrl + O.

With any of these methods, it won’t take longer than a few seconds before your chosen audio/video file will appear in the VLC interface, ready for further editing.

Step 3: Locate Advanced editing controls

Step 3 Locate Advanced editing controls

To access VLC’s video editing features on the Windows version of VLC, you need to switch from the playback controls to the editing controls. (on Mac you simply click record from the playback menu)

This can be done by clicking on the View menu at the top of the media player and selecting “Advanced Controls” from the dropdown menu.

Once you’ve enabled the advanced controls, you’ll see the editing functions appear below the media viewer (the record button behaves the same way trimming does on multimedia softwares).

Related: How to Cast Videos from VLC to ANY Smart TV (Mac & Windows)

Step 4: Use the record function to trim the video

Step 4 Use the record function to trim the video

To begin trimming a video in VLC, first locate the point where you want to start the trim by using the Play button or space bar, or by using the scroll bar below the media window.

Then, click the Record button (red circle) located in the editing controls that were opened earlier.You’ll notice the button change color to indicate that recording has started.

You can access the Record option (which cuts the video in VLC on Windows) by using the shortcut Shift + R.

You’ll find your trimmed/cut videos in under ‘This user > PC’ in on your windows computer.

Note: Trimmed videos are approximate; VLC won’t accurately trim videos down to milliseconds. A powerful video player or advanced video editing software may be necessary if you need this.

How to Trim & Cut a Video in VLC on Mac

how to cut and trim videos in vlc on mac

Trimming and cutting videos is easier than ever with the help of VLC Media Player. Whether you already have it installed on your Mac or need to download it, it’s a simple process to use VLC for cutting and trimming videos.

VLC has all the tools necessary to trim videos quickly and easily right within the media player app on your MacBook Air or Pro. Lets take a deeper look.

Step 1: Download the latest VLC Media Player

Screenshot 2023 02 16 at 4.44.08 PM

To download and install VLC, go to the VideoLAN website and click on the “Download VLC” button. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.

VideoLAN’s website has the most recent version available for download.

After installation, launch the software from your installed programs or desktop icon.

Step 2: Locate and open the video or audio file

Step 1 Download the latest VLC Media Player

The second step to trimming videos with VLC is to locate and open the video or audio file you want to edit. You can easily do this in a few different ways.

  • You can simply drag and drop your file into the VLC player window directly. Another way is to click on the ‘Media’ option found in the top left, select ‘Open File’ and find your desired clip from there.
  • Another method is by using keyboard shortcuts: by hitting Ctrl + O on your computer, you’ll be able to open up the file-select window and then pick a clip of choice from there.

No matter what option you choose, it will only take 2-7 seconds before your desired audio/video file appears in the VLC interface, ready for further editing!

Also see: How to Cleanly Rip a DVD with VLC (& Fix any Ripping Errors)

Step 3: Trim the video using the record function

Step 3 Trim the video using the record function 1

If you are using a Mac, you can access the Trim function in VLC by opening the playback dropdown menu at the top of the screen while the video is playing.

Important: When you hit record, nothing will visually happen – at all. You’ll hit play to begin, then VLC will silently record until you hit the record button.

At this point, VLC will silently save the trimmed file under the movies folder on your Mac computer

  • Alternatively, you can quickly trim a video in VLC on Mac by holding down the ⌘⌥ + R keys when the video is playing.
  • Use the same hotkeys to end the recording.
  • Your trimmed video will be inside the movies folder if you’re on Mac.

In the Trim function, you can cut, trim, and carve a clip by setting the start and end points of the desired clip, and then clicking on the “Record” button to save the trimmed clip.

Related: How to continuously A B loop a video with VLC media player

Important: Although the Trim function is labeled as “Record” on Mac, it functions to provide the same result as the Trim function on dedicated video editing softwares.

The record feature in VLC will allows you to trim the video by recording just a portion of it. This feature is not referred to as ‘trim’ or ‘cut’ by VLC, but it provides the same trimmed result as a dedicated video editor.

Related: How to Download GoPro Videos to Mac (6 Ways to transfer)

Export options in VLC for trimming and cutting a video

Here’s a table of output formats (Video file formats) that VLC media player supports for trimmed videos:

Operating SystemOutput Formats Supported by VLC Media Player
MacAVI, WAV, MP4, MP3, FLAC, MKV, PVA, ASF, Ogg, MPEG-2, AC-3, AAC, MPJPEG, Fraps, TS, DV Audio, FLV, WebM, PS, Quick Time
WindowsAVI, WAV, MP4, MP3, FLAC, MKV, PVA, ASF, Ogg, MPEG-2, AC-3, AAC, MPJPEG, Fraps, TS, DV Audio, FLV, WebM, PS, Quick Time

Where does VLC save a clipped, cut or trimmed video? When you clip a video in VLC media player and save it, the trimmed video is saved in the movies on Mac and in the ‘This PC> Videos’ folder on Windows

When I tested this, the latest version of VLC did not appear to provide the option to save the trimmed video to a custom folder, even when I searched under options. Also, whether you have a 4K video or a 3d videos – you can cut & trim it in VLC.

Can you trim VLC without recording?

There is no way to directly edit or trim the original video file in VLC without recording and creating a new clip. When you use the Trim function in VLC, it creates a new video file that contains only the selected portion of the original video.

It is also possible to save the trimmed clip with the same name and location as the original video if you don’t want to create a new file. The trimmed clip will overwrite the original file.

You should make a backup of the original file before doing this, since trimming the file will permanently delete the portions that were trimmed.

It’s also worth noting that while VLC’s trimming function can be useful for quickly cutting a clip, it may not be the best tool for more complex, advanced video editing. If you more advanced video editing functions, you may want to consider using a more powerful video editing software.

How to save a video with a changed playback speed in VLC

You can easily save a trimmed video with a changed playback speed with VLC by enabling the Record feature. To do this, go to “View” and select “Advanced Controls.”

Important step: Configure the playback speed you desire. Then, click the red dot below the play controls to start recording, press play to begin playback, and click the red dot again to finish recording. If you’re on mac just use the playback menu or the CMD + option + R hotkey again.

Windows 10 and later will record the video at the current playback speed, saving it under “This PC/Videos/vlc-record”.

Related: How to Speed up (or Slow Down) Videos in VLC

Common Issues that occur when trimming a video in VLC Media player

Recording clips lets you trim the video and adjust the length of your video. But video manipulation options beyond this like adding audio tracks, then you will need another program with a different toolset.

  • VLC media player only cuts based on approximate locations you choose, it won’t be exact, so this is a limitation. For example, regardless of how you start the video – it may keep cutting off the first couple seconds of the clip you want – which can be frustrating.
  • If you’re on Mac a better option is quicktime if simple video editing tasks like cropping, cutting, and trimming are the only task you’re looking to do.
  • The record feature also forces you to watch the video for the entire length and you cannot scrub around the video as you see fit.
  • Stabilizing a shaky video isn’t possible with VLC, so there are some limitations. It also does not split video without recording.

If you’re a professional video editor, a dedicated software like final cut pro or adobe premier are more robust options and could be considered. Also, 3D videos might be more difficult to trim.

What can I do after I trim a video in VLC to enhance the video?

Once you have trimmed a video with VLC media player, there are several steps you can take to further enhance your trimmed video.

First, you can open the video again in VLC and use a built-in video editor in VLC to adjust color saturation and contrast, crop or rotate the video. You can also add subtitles and special effects to your video as well, but video manipulation doesn’t go far beyond this is VLC.

You can see our full guide on How to Rotate, turn and Flip a Video in VLC

If you want to make a compilation of multiple videos, you can easily merge the trimmed videos into one by using a tool like Movavi Video Editor or Adobe Premiere Pro.

Finally, if you want to share your trimmed video on social media, you can use a tool like Video Crop & Trim to optimize file size and quality for different platforms.

Can VLC perform other video editing tasks?

VLC media player is a versatile program that offers some video editing features in addition to trimming, but this is not it’s main focus (which is playing videos)

For example, you can crop or rotate videos to change the aspect ratio or orientation of the video. As an additional option, you can merge multiple videos into one file – or add special effects such as filters, – or add subtitles to make the video more accessible.

While VLC is capable of doing this again, it is not a full-fledged video editing software with advanced features. It’s best suited for quick edits & adjustments to videos rather than complex editing tasks.

If you need to perform more advanced video editing tasks such as color correction, audio mixing, or compositing, you may need to use a dedicated video editing software with more advanced features.

Overall, for simple video editing tasks, VLC is an ideal choice for both mac and windows as it is free, easy to use, and supports a wide range of video file formats.

Other apps like VLC you can trim videos in

If you’re looking for alternatives to VLC in order to trim videos, there are several different options available.

On Mac computers you can use QuickTime which is a very simple software to work with. Also Final Cut Pro is even more advanced, but has a steep learning curve for most new users.

On the Windows side, some default programs may offer trimming capabilities, although Adobe Premiere may be the ideal choice for those who need more advanced features.

Each app offers its own benefits and tools for video trimming purposes, so it’s worth considering all options before making a decision when trimming isn’t your final video editing task.

Importance of knowing how to trim videos in VLC media player

If you work with video content frequently, it’s important to know how to trim videos using VLC media player. This skill allows you to easily remove any unwanted footage, create highlights, or generate brief video clips that can be shared on various social media platforms.

The user-friendliness of VLC media player is one of its best features. Unlike other complicated video editors… VLC has an easy-to-use interface.

With VLC’s video trimming feature, you can effortlessly choose the starting and ending points for your clip and save it to your computer in no time. VLC offers a variety of other video editing options, such as the ability to adjust playback speed, change aspect ratio, and add filters and effects.

In short, mastering the skill of trimming videos using VLC media player is crucial for anyone who wants to work with video content efficiently and effectively. It’s a great alternative to more complex editing software and is suitable for both beginners and professionals alike.

Why does trimming a video make sense in VLC?

Trimming a video as part of the video editing process – which is likely why VLC included it in their media player along with crop and rotate.

With video content, it’s essential to keep in mind that viewers’ attention spans are short. By trimming your videos, you can create shorter, more focused clips that get straight to the point. This not only keeps your audience engaged but also makes it easier to share your content on social media and other platforms where shorter videos perform better.

Trimming a video also allows you to remove any unnecessary clips or outtakes that don’t add value to the overall message or theme of your video. By eliminating these extraneous elements, you can create a more streamlined and coherent video that resonates with your audience.

Also see: How to View and Move a Video Frame by Frame in VLC (Windows & Mac)

Another benefit of trimming videos is that it gives you the freedom to record without constraints, knowing that you can edit out any unwanted bits later. Basically, you won’t have to worry about making mistakes or going off script. Then you’ll be able to make videos that are more authentic and relatable to your audience.

Trimming a video is a crucial step in the video editing process that can help you produce more engaging and effective content. So, be sure to take the time to trim your videos strategically to create a final product that will captivate your audience.

Benefits of Trimming Videos in VLC

Trimming videos can be incredibly beneficial for improving the quality and engagement of your video content. Here are five advantages to trimming your videos:

  1. Better video quality: By removing shaky or blurry footage, incorrect exposures, or other technical difficulties, you can improve the overall quality of your video and give it a more professional look and feel.
  2. Shorter, more engaging videos: Trimming out unnecessary footage can significantly shorten your video, making it more engaging and easier to share on social media and other platforms.
  3. Enhanced storytelling: Trimming your video can help you highlight the most important parts of the story and create a better pace and flow for the viewer, making it more engaging and effective in conveying its message.
  4. More efficient editing process: By removing unwanted footage, you can streamline the editing process and focus on the most essential parts of your video, saving time and resources eventually.
  5. Improved viewer experience: By removing uninteresting or irrelevant footage, you can create a more engaging and enjoyable experience for your viewers, which can help keep their attention and encourage them to watch more of your videos in the future.

Examples of when trimming a video is useful in VLC

Trimming a video is useful in a variety of situations, such as creating tutorial, marketing, or presentation videos. An instructional video, for instance, might show the whole process, but not all of it might be relevant to the viewer.

Trimming out unnecessary parts like pauses or mistakes can help you create a more concise and focused video that your audience can follow more easily.

Similarly, in a marketing or promotional video, you may have a lot of footage that you’d like to include, but not all of it may be equally engaging or relevant. Getting rid of less interesting or redundant bits will make your video more impactful and keep viewers interested.

For recording a speech or presentation, you can record everything from start to finish, knowing that you can trim the video later to remove any less captivating parts.

Related: How to convert video in VLC

While it’s crucial to capture the entire presentation to provide context and convey the full message, not all segments may be equally engaging or relevant to your audience. Trimming out these parts will make your video more focused and impactful.


Difference between cutting and trimming in VLC

When it comes to video editing, terms can get confusing quickly – One of them is the difference between cutting and trimming. People often mix them up, but they’re actually different tasks.

Trimming a video clip means deleting the beginning and/or end of the video, so you can shorten it or remove unwanted parts, but on VLC its difficult to remove unwanted parts without multiple trims or merges.

On the other hand, cutting a video clip means removing a piece from the middle of the video file, instead of the beginning or end. Both can be done in VLC, but it’s not the easiest software to use for cutting. Trimming is easier in VLC.

Can you edit audio clips in VLC

Yes, you can edit audio clips in VLC.To edit, cut, or trim an MP3 or MP4 file using VLC media player, follow these simple steps:

  1. If you haven’t already installed VLC, download/install it from the official website. Once installed, open VLC media player on your computer.
  2. Locate ‘View’ from the top menu, then select ‘Advanced Controls’ to enable editing controls.
  3. Open the MP3 file you want to edit with VLC media player. To begin recording, use the playback controls to find the start point, then click the red button at the bottom left of the window.
  4. Click the red button (again) to stop recording when you reach the end point you want to trim.
  5. The trimmed MP3 or MP4 will be saved in the “My Music” folder on your computer.

Note: Trimming multiple tracks should be done on a dedicated video or audio editing software.

Can I crop a video in VLC without losing quality or increasing file size

Yes, you can crop a video in VLC without losing its quality or increasing the file size – but VLC does not offer advanced options to refine it further than what you see outside of converting to different formats.

It’s important to note that the quality of the cropped video file largely depends on the video editing software.

Fortunately, VLC media player offers video cropping features that allow you to adjust the aspect ratio of your video without negatively affecting its quality or increasing its file size.

The video cropping tool in VLC allows you to select the area of the video you want to keep. The remaining areas are removed (manually), leaving behind a video that looks as good as the original, just cropped.

Note: Not all video editing tools are created equal, some may cause you to lose quality or increase file size when cropping a video.

Related: Best Tablets for Watching Youtube & Videos

Related: How to Download a Youtube Video with VLC (Windows & Mac)

Where can I find videos trimmed with VLC Media Player?

VLC Media Player automatically saves the trimmed videos on your device. You can search in the “Videos” folder of your Windows device or the “Movies” folder of a Mac. VLC also saves videos in the folder where the original video is located, with “trimmed” added to the end of the filename.

Can you add audio to a video in VLC?

Yes, You can add audio to a video in VLC. To do this, follow these steps:

  • Add the audio file
    • First, install VLC media player on your computer and launch it. Then, click on the “File” tab from the menu bar at the top and select “Advanced Open File” from the dropdown menu.
  • Import the audio and video files
    • Click the “Browse…” button to import the video file, and select “Play another media synchronously”. Next, click “Choose…” to import the audio file for editing, and then click “Open”. Subtitles are also an option. The audio settings can be enhanced after you’ve imported and merged both audio and video files.
  • Apply audio effects
    • Click on “Window” from the top bar, and then click on “Audio Effects…” to apply different audio effects.

Also see: How to Convert DVDs for Plex Streaming

Bottom Line

When you watched a video, did you ever wish you could cut it using a trim tool at that moment? A video tool is usually required instead of standard media players for this. However, it turns out that VLC actually allows you to trim videos.

VLC Media Player can be used as a simple video editor. Trimming/cutting tools can be found under the View selection in the toolbar on Mac. On Windows, utilize advanced controls and record button to trim a video.

About the author:

Photo of Paul Michael, Founder of MediaPeanut

Paul Michael

Paul Michael is a media and technology expert whose research reveals how technology and media are being used in the world today. He has expertise on computers, the internet, streaming, Roku, electronics, and education. He also enjoys graphic design & digital art. Paul has his Bachelors of Arts and Science(s) from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, NJ