Video Editing

How to Use VLC to Trim Videos on Windows and Mac

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There are numerous reasons why you may need to shave a few frames off your video. Maybe there’s some blurry footage at the beginning or a bunch of unnecessary scenes at the end of the clip. 

Maybe you just want to get rid of weird sounds that are ruining a section of the video. Or your video file is too large to be shared or uploaded and you want to trim off some parts to make it shorter.

Whatever the reason, the VLC Media Player is the best program you can use to trim or cut your videos. Although VLC is more commonly known and used as a multimedia player, it does come with a handful of nifty editing features that can help you alter your videos in various ways.

VLC is open source and completely free to use so you don’t have to invest a lot of money in expensive video trimming software. You can just install VLC on your device and get the job done in a blink of an eye.

In this post, we’re going to walk you through how to use VLC to trim video on your computer easily and what tricks you can apply to ensure your edits come out looking absolutely perfect.

How to Trim Video in VLC on Windows

If you use a Windows device, follow this step-by-step guide to trim a video in VLC, get rid of portions you don’t want, and save the relevant pieces of the footage that you want to keep.

Step 1: Install the software

On the off chance that you don’t already have VLC Media Player installed on your PC, the first thing you need to do is download and install the latest version of the software on your device. Simply visit the VLC website and click the Download link to install the Media player on your computer. The site will automatically figure out which operating system you’re using and deliver the appropriate version of the program.

Step 2: Select your video file

Launch the VLC app, scroll to the top menu and click on the Media tab to reveal the dropdown menu. Select Open File, navigate to the folder where the video you want to trim is saved, tap on it and click Open. Alternatively, you can drag and drop the file directly into the VLC player window.

Step 3: Launch the trimming tools

Scroll to the top of your screen and select View from the menu, followed by Advanced Controls from the dropdown list. This will activate the editing controls, which will appear as a new toolbar at the bottom of the window but directly above your playback controls.

Step 4: Trim your video

Identify the point where you want to start trimming your video from and drag the slider to that point. Or simply play the video to that point and hit pause when you reach it. Alternatively, you can use the VLC’s Frame by Frame button to navigate to your starting point for better accuracy.

Next, click on the Record button and hit play to start trimming the video in VLC. It’s the circular red button in the editing controls toolbar.

Also, you can click on Playback at the top menu and select Record from the dropdown panel if you want to take the longer route.

Once you press Record and Play, VLC will begin recording and trimming the video. Keep monitoring the process until the slider reaches the point where you want the trim to end, then click the Record button again to stop the trimming process.

Step 5: Save and locate the trimmed file

VLC doesn’t show any evidence that you’ve successfully trimmed your video, but don’t be alarmed. The media player will automatically save and export your trimmed clip to your default video folder with a filename starting with “vlc-record” and followed by the date. So you can search for it in your videos folder and rename the file. 

Alternatively, you can save your file to your preferred destination by navigating to the top of the screen and clicking Media, followed by Save Playlist to File, then select the location you want the file saved to, and click Save to finalize.

How to use VLC Media Player to Trim Video on Mac

Trimming videos on your Mac device with VLC is also pretty easy. Although the core functions of the Windows and Mac versions of the app are similar, they’re a bit different from each other.

The Mac version has a more simplistic design and supports more advanced video and audio formats than its counterpart. Here are detailed instructions you can follow to use VLC Media Player to quickly shorten the length of your videos.

Step 1: Get the program

Start by downloading the VLC Media Player app for macOS from the official website, then install the package on your device.

Step 2: Select the output directory for the trimmed file

Finding the end video file on your Mac after you’re done trimming can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. To save you the trouble, we recommend configuring your VLC destination folder before you start editing the video.

  • Launch VLC on your Mac then select VLC from the top menu, scroll down the dropdown panel and choose Preferences.

  • From the window that opens, click on the Input/Codecs tab, then click on the Browse button next to Record directory or filename and choose your desired storage location for your edited videos.

  • Click on the Save button to approve the changes.

Step 3: Add the video you want to trim

Now, drag and drop the video you want trimmed into your VLC playlist. It should start playing automatically, but if it fails to, you can double-click on the file to start playing it.

Another way to add your video is by clicking the File menu tab at the top, navigating down the dropdown list, and selecting Open File. This action will launch a file browser window showing the video that you want to make adjustments on.

Step 4: Start trimming the clip

Drag the playhead to the exact point where you want to begin trimming the video from then pause the video by clicking the Play button or tapping the space bar on your keyboard.

Next, scroll to the top of the screen and click on Playback, followed by Record from the dropdown options, then hit the Play button or space bar again to start playing your video until it gets to the point where you want the trim to end. Pause the video then click on Playback > Record again to kill the trimming process.

Step 5: Find your trimmed video

At this point, you’ve successfully trimmed your video so the only thing left to do is locate the trimmed clip. To do this, simply navigate to the output directory that you selected at the beginning. The trimmed video should have “vlc-record” at the beginning of the filename.

VLC Trim Videos Using Hotkeys

The VLC Media Player offers another way to trim a video in VLC and save some time while you’re at it with the help of hotkeys. These hotkeys allow you to perform certain activities without having to scroll over and over or click on buttons here and there. You can just use the hotkeys to perform your edits very quickly. Here’s how it works:

  • To find and open the video file you want to trim, you can hit Command/Ctrl + O locate the file and click Open. The hotkeys will vary slightly depending on the device you’re using. For Windows, it’ll be Ctrl + O, while Mac will be Command + O.
  • To start recording or to activate the trim process after selecting a start point, you can simply press Shift + R. When you get to the endpoint of the trim, press Shift + R again to stop the recording. For Mac users, the VLC hotkeys for starting and stopping the trimming process are Option + Command + R.
  • After trimming your video, you can proceed to your set storage directory or default video folder as usual to find and view the result.

Can VLC Trim Videos in MP4 format?

Yes, VLC Media Player is perfectly capable of trimming videos in MP4 format. It also offers support for a wide range of multimedia input formats such as MPEG, AVI, WMV, ASF, MOV, OGG, WMA, 3GP, FLAC, and FLV.

Some other additional formats you can easily run, view, and edit on VLC include WAV, MKV, DTS, DV, AAC, MXF, SMF, Nut, PVA, OGM, DVD, WebM, AC-3, TS, CD, QuickTime, and Fraps.

VLC can read pretty much any video file in any format. If you can’t open a file with VLC, you’ll probably have a hard time finding another video player or editor that can successfully run it.

So it doesn’t matter what format the video you’re trying to trim is in. All you have to do is open it in the VLC Media player and follow the steps explained above to trim off the sections of your video that you don’t want.

How to Trim Video with VLC Alternative - Keevi

Although VLC offers a lot of handy functions that you can play around with, it’s not a dedicated video editing tool. As a result, it comes with several limitations that might prove frustrating down the road.

For example, the video trimming process can be very slow. If you want to trim a section of a video that’s over an hour-long, you may not have the patience to sit in front of your computer and wait for the process to be complete.

Also, VLC only allows you to edit the head and/or tail off a clip. You cannot simply cut out a section from the middle or multiple sections at once.

It also doesn’t support batch trimming of multiple videos simultaneously and splitting of a video into several smaller sections. Or other editing functions like adding captions, effects, filters, music, and more.

If you are looking for a tool with more advanced features, you should consider using Keevi.

Keevi is a powerful, all-in-one video editor that lets you tweak your videos to your liking in just a few easy steps. Here’s how to use Keevi to trim videos:

  1. Visit the Keevi website and click Get Started to launch the video editor.

  1. Import the video file you want to trim into the timeline.

  1. Scroll to the bottom of the screen, tap the blue arrowhead or sliders, and move it to the starting point of your trim. Go to the point where you want the trim to end and mark it.

  1. Preview the trimmed clip to ensure you got it exactly right, then click Trim to remove the unwanted segments once you’re satisfied with the results.

  1. Click Export to save your video to your device or upload it directly to social media.

That's it!

Tips for Trimming Videos Effectively with VLC

To help you properly trim your videos and get the best out of the final footage using VLC Player, here are some tricks you’ll want to keep in mind when editing.

1. Don’t be afraid to remove unwanted assets

Irrelevant or unnecessary footage in your videos can diminish its overall effect so don’t be shy about taking it all out. The less clutter your video has, the more seamless and engaging it will be. If you can’t make a good argument for why a particular frame should remain, trim it off.

2. Trim the audio if necessary

If you’re using VLC for Windows, the software allows you to trim and adjust your audio track separately from the video. However, for VLC Mac, there’s no visible separation so the audio will be trimmed to the part of the video that you want to remove. If you need audio from a different section, you’ll need to engage the services of a dedicated video editor like Keevi.

3. Use frame by frame for a cleaner cut

To get a precise trim, use the frame by frame function on your VLC editing controls toolbar. It’ll help you find the exact section of the video where you want to cut from so that the trim is clean and seamless.

4. Record again if you make a mistake while trimming

VLC doesn’t tamper with your original video file. It just creates a new clip with the trimmed section that you want. So you don’t have to worry about making permanent mistakes or ruining your video file. You can just start afresh and make another recording if the trim you get isn’t quite what you were hoping for.


VLC is one of the oldest and most popular multimedia players around and for good reason. It’s completely free to use and it can help you carry out basic editing activities like trimming your videos.

However, it’s not a comprehensive video editor or the easiest tool to use for shortening your videos. In comparison, Keevi is a more efficient and versatile editing tool. It not only streamlines the trimming of videos, it also comes with lots of other advanced editing features that can take your videos to the next level.

Hammad Akbar
Hammad Akbar
September 14, 2021