How to watch just the parts you want with YouTube chapters.

by Chris Guld,

Have you noticed the chapters in YouTube videos? They allow the viewer to know what topics are included in a given video and to jump straight to the parts they’re interested in.

As a creator of YouTube videos, it’s simple to create these chapters. All you have to do is edit the description of the video and include a list of time stamps along with words that describe what is found at that time stamp. There are only 2 rules:

  1. The first timestamp must be 0:00, marking the beginning
  2. The stamps must be the format hh:mm:ss

An example: if you go to the YouTube video for Episode 206 of What Does This Button Do, you’ll see a description under the video. When you click on “Show More” you will see the timestamps.

You’ll then see the list of chapters. Just click the link to go to the desired chapter.

  • 0:00​ Getting set
  • 2:40​ Apple watch as remote to iPhone camera
  • 8:49​ Send Bitcoin from one phone’s wallet to another
  • 13:53​ Make your own QR code
  • 19:56​ Putting text on a photo with Google Photos
  • 21:28​ Google Maps walking directions with augmented reality
  • 25:28​ 3D printing
  • 34:53​ Bitcoin, crypto-currency and Blockchain
  • 55:00​ Review

Creating the chapters is very easy, but it’s still time consuming. For example, our February “Ask Chris anything about Google Photos” was an hour long and included lots of questions and answers. I ended up creating 23 chapters to represent each question.

The ability to create chapter links in YouTube video was rolled out in May of 2020, so not all YouTube videos will have them. Even newer videos may not have chapters because it is up to the owner of the video to create them.

Timeline links (aka chapters) are something that we’ve always provided for our members in the show notes of our “Button Show” videos. Now that it is so easy to do it right in YouTube, everyone benefits.