How to automatically start and stop YouTube videos at specific times

Have you ever wanted to show students just part of a YouTube video but had difficulty finding the start of the clip? Or maybe you have linked to a YouTube video in your Blackboard module and had to explain to students to just start watching from a certain point and to stop watching x minutes later? There is a simple way to make this easier on both staff and students. It is done by amending the link (also known as a URL) that you give to students.

Instead of giving students a YouTube URL like the one below, which will play the video from the start to end:

This URL has been copied from the address bar in the browser.

You should copy the URL YouTube makes available inside the embed code for the video and add a question mark followed by a start and stop time, like so: 

This URL has been copied from the embed code and amended.
The video will start playing at 76 seconds and stop at 120 seconds.

It is also worth noting that the video automatically fills the browser window when using this method. Which means your students are less likely to be distracted by other YouTube content.

Finding the link in the embed code

To find the link in the embed code take the following steps:

  1. In YouTube find the video you want and click the Share button on the right below the video.
    the share button below a YouTube video
  2. Click the Embed button.
    the Embed button in YouTube
  3. Copy the URL you see inside the embed code shown, making sure to copy everything between the speech marks but not copying the speech marks themselves.
    URL highlighted in the YouTube embed code

Amending the URL

To the end of the link add a question mark and your chosen start and stop times in seconds, as seen below. Enter the start and stop times in whole seconds (e.g. one minute and two seconds = 62 seconds) and make sure not to include any additional characters or spaces or it will not work.


When the above is added to the end of the YouTube URL the video will start at 1:07 and stop at 1:20.

Once you have amended the URL send it to your students in the usual way.

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