How to Link to a Specific Time in a YouTube Video

Link to the Important Part of a Video to Cut Right to the Chase!

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Did you know that you can link to a specific time in a YouTube video? This is a great trick for when you just want to show a specific segment of a video, especially if the video is quite long and the segment that you want to share comes several minutes after it starts playing.

Creating a Link to a Specific Time in Three Easy Steps

It's very easy to link to the exact part of any YouTube video. You just need to know where to do it in three simple steps:

  1. Click "Share" directly beneath the video.
  2. Look for the checkbox next to the "Start at:" field and click to check it off.
  3. Make sure the time in the "Start at:" field is set to the exact time you want to link to in the video.

When you check this box off, you'll notice that the link in the field above it will change and include some extra characters. These extra characters are used to tell YouTube to link to the specific time that you set for it.

Once you have it all set up to play at the exact second you want, you can copy your link and share it anywhere. Anyone who clicks play to watch it will only be shown the footage starting from the time that you set.

If you want, you can even link to a specific time in a video manually. You can do this by adding "?t=00m00s" to the end of any regular YouTube link. You simply replace "00m" with the minute marker and replace the "00s" with the second marker.

If the video is short enough that it doesn't go for longer than a minute, you can leave the "00m" portion out of it. For example, the link turns into once we've added our time marker.

YouTube makes it fast and simple enough that you shouldn't have to do this manually at all, but there's no harm in learning anyway. Knowing how this works manually also gives you a better understanding of what those extra characters mean.

Why Linking to a Specific Time Matters

Internet users have extremely short attention spans, so forcing someone to sit through even a 4 or 5-minute video where the best portion doesn't start until the halfway mark can be enough to make them give up and impatiently close the video too soon out of frustration.

Just as well, YouTube now includes all sorts of amazing videos worth sharing that can be several minutes long and run up to over an hour. If you're sharing a video of a long, hour-long public speaking presentation on Facebook, your friends will probably appreciate the fact that you linked to the exact specific time in the video where the speaking starts to really focus on a relevant topic they might be interested in. 

And finally, more people are watching YouTube from their mobile device now more than ever (which largely explains the shorter attention spans). They don't have time to sit through a long introduction and other irrelevant bits before getting to the good stuff.

When you decide to share a video at a specific time, viewers can always restart the video if they really want to watch the entire thing in full, so you're not at all doing anyone a disservice by linking to a more relevant point. The YouTube video player simply starts buffering and playing at the time that you set without any modification to the video at all.

Updated by: Elise Moreau