How to timestamp on YouTube

How to timestamp on YouTube

If you don’t know how to timestamp on YouTube, you got to the right article! YouTube has become the daily bread and butter for most of us.

Whether it is for scrolling casually, entertaining ourselves, or sharing videos and channels with friends and family, YouTube delivers!

Speaking of sharing videos, you don’t always want to show somebody the entire video, right? This brings us to the need for using timestamps. What might these be?

Timestamps on YouTube refer to a specific moment in the video. The use of timestamps is most commonly done in order to have a video start at that particular time.

Table of Contents

  1. How to timestamp on YouTube
    1. How to timestamp YouTube comments
    2. How to create a shareable link with a specific timestamp
    3. Add time to a YouTube link
  2. Wrap Up

How to timestamp on YouTube

Why should you timestamp your videos? Well, previously you could say it was just to give a more organized look and make navigation easier for viewers looking for specific parts.

As of 2020, however, timestamps serve a much greater purpose – they now carry SEO benefits as well! Search Engine Optimization improves the chances of your video being shown to viewers who use a search engine such as Google.

More specifically, if the words searched on Google match the words of the title on your timestamp, then there’s a greater likelihood of your video being shown directly as the search result!

What’s more, this Google’s new feature also allows people to start playing your video directly from the timestamp you specify.

So, how does the magic work?

Timestamping videos on YouTube:

  • To start, you’ll need to know the exact times you want to create timestamps. You can do this by playing your video and pausing it at the exact times when a section of your video begins. Make a note of the time and title each section like this;
  • Edit the YouTube description of your video – you can do this for videos you have already uploaded by editing the description section.
  • Create timestamps in the following format: “Hours:minutes:seconds Title“. You can ignore the hours or even the minutes’ section of this format if they are going to be 0 anyway. The important thing to remember is that you have to separate each section of the time with a “:” colon;
  • Add the title of each section in front of the timestamp. An example of what your timestamps could look like at the end is below – see the hyperlinks in blue;
How to timestamp on YouTube

  • Save your changes.

When you go back to look at your YouTube video now, you should notice a slight change on the loading bar.

You’ll see that it has automatically been divided according to your timestamps, with each title also being shown if you hover your cursor over the timestamp.

How to timestamp on YouTube

How to timestamp YouTube comments

Knowing how to link time in YouTube comments is also relevant. YouTube comments are the haven of many looking for entertainment and inclusion.

So whether you want to tag somebody in a YouTube comment to show them or general point out something in the video at a specific time, you can add timestamps to a YouTube comment.

In this case, the time that you enter will automatically be hyperlinked and you’ll see it appear in blue color.

To timestamp a YouTube comment, simply type out the time in the following format: “00:00:00”.

Breaking this down more simply, you have “hours:minutes:seconds”, separated by a colon. Just like with the code for links, you don’t have to utilize all the zeros. Writing “4:20” in a comment will automatically hyperlink it to the 4th minute and 20th second of the video.

There is no difference between doing this on mobile and on your computer. So anybody who clicks or taps on that timestamp will automatically have the video start playing from that time!

You’ll most likely need to know this when you’re sharing a video. For whatever reason, you want the person who opens the link to start watching the video at that exact moment.

To do this, open YouTube on your computer and perform the following steps:

  • Open the video that you want to share;
  • Click on the “Share” button, located on the bottom-left of the video itself;
How to timestamp on YouTube

  • From the pop-up menu, you’ll see that there’s a checkbox at the bottom-right labeled “Start at”. If you check this, the field in front of it will become editable, and you can enter the time at which you’d like the video to start;
How to timestamp on YouTube

  • Click on “Copy” in front of the link to copy the customized link to your clipboard. You can also manually highlight the link and copy it by:
    • Right-clicking and selecting the “Copy” option;
    • Pressing the “Ctrl + C” on your keyboard.
How to timestamp on YouTube

  • You’re all good to go! Paste the link anywhere and whenever it is opened, it will start your video at the time you specified!

Unfortunately, if you’re on mobile, there is no dedicated function to add a timestamp like this – regardless of whether it’s iOS or Android.

Your best bet to do this from a smartphone is to open YouTube from your phone’s browser, and go to the “computer version” of the website.

Then, simply repeat the steps above as if you were on your PC.

An interesting bit of detail to notice is how the YouTube link in your pop-up box changes when you check the “Start at” box and enter a time.

Try to uncheck the box and notice how the link changes.

This gives us an insight into how we can manually change YouTube links to include timestamps too, which brings us to our next segment.

Manually changing the YouTube link is another option to add a custom timestamp. This method is not as tricky as it may seem, and it consists of reformatting the YouTube link.

The following method will definitely work for shortened YouTube links, but can also work on some long links.

Simply add “?t=00m00s” at the end of your link. As you can probably tell, the first set of zeros is to adjust the minutes, and the second set of zeros is to set the seconds. Here’s a quick demonstration:

You’ll notice that we skipped writing the minutes and their set of zeroes altogether. This is perfectly fine when your video is less than a minute, or you want it to start before the first-minute mark. In fact, the complete code to add a timestamp also includes hours: “?t=00h00m00s”.

You’ve probably noticed by now that, when adding this to the end of a YouTube link, you can ignore the part of the code that would otherwise stay at 00 since you don’t want to set a timestamp for it.

In your video-sharing adventures, you may also come across some links that already have a question mark at the end of their original link. In such cases, simply replace the question mark in the code with an ampersand symbol.

  • Your new code to add to the end of the link would then become “&t=00m00s“.

Again, you can add another set of zeroes to denote hours, if required.

Wrap Up

Now that you know how to use timestamps on YouTube, it’s time to start sharing videos with greater control!

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