How To Edit Videos With The YouTube Video Editor – Latest Updates!

Today we’re going to cover how to edit YouTube videos with the YouTube video editor.

This built-in YouTube editor packs in some simple but powerful video editing tools. You can perform basic edits to your video content entirely online within your browser.

If you’re wondering how to edit YouTube videos after upload, this is how!

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In this tutorial, we’ll cover all the important video editing tools and show you exactly how to edit videos for YouTube using the YouTube video editor. It’s undergone some big changes recently so we’ll share all the updated info you need to know.

Here’s everything that we’ll cover:

Let’s get started.

Where Is The YouTube Video Editor?

There are two ways you can access the YouTube editor.

YouTube Studio

Go to your YouTube Studio dashboard and select Content in the left menu.

Find a video you’d like to make changes to and click on it. Then you’ll be taken to the video details where you can hit Editor in the left menu. This will open up the YouTube editor.

The Editor tab in YouTube Studio
Click the Editor button inside YouTube Studio

YouTube Video

You can also access the editor directly from the YouTube video on your channel. Find the video you want to edit. Click on the video and just below the title you’ll see a button that says Edit Video.

The Edit Videos button below a YouTube video
Click the Edit Videos button below a YouTube video

When Should You Use The YouTube Editor?

First up, we want to stress that this is not a complete video editor. It allows you to trim and remove stuff from your YouTube videos that are online and uploaded.

It’s awesome that you have access to these editing tools to fix video content that’s already uploaded. But it’s by no means a way to completely edit YouTube videos.

For example, you can trim clips out but you can’t add anything in. You can’t insert images, graphics, overlays, titles or other elements. You can add music but you can’t import music – you’re limited to tracks from the YouTube Music Library.

Two examples of when the YouTube Editor is really useful:

  • To remove any sections that are in breach of copyright
  • To remove an unwanted parts of a live stream (like a Q&A session at the end for example)

How To Use YouTube’s Video Editor

Let’s do a quick rundown of the interface.

  • In the top left window are all the options and video editing tools you have access to
  • In the top right corner is the preview of your video so you can view the edits and changes that you’re making
  • Below both of those sections is the video editing timeline
YouTube Studio Video Editor interface
You can resize the sections by dragging the edges

Rundown Of The Video Editing Timeline

You can zoom in and out on the video editing timeline using the slider just below the video preview. Zooming in will give you more detail and control over the edits you’re making. It’s a great idea to do this when making more precise adjustments.

At the bottom of the timeline is a visual representation of the video track. This allows you to quickly see where everything is so you can jump between different sections.

The zoom slider tool in YouTube Editor
You can easily zoom in and out on the timeline

Above the video track is the audio layer. This is the audio waveform – a visual representation of the audio in your video. If you want to remove a part where you’re speaking or not speaking, you can do this really easily by looking at this section.

The section above the audio layer is where you can make changes to the end screens. Then above that you can adjust your ad breaks or ad positioning as well.

The video editing timeline in YouTube Editor
You can access tools directly from the editor as well

The last thing to mention is the vertical line on the editing timeline. This is the playback indicator. It shows where you’re currently at on the timeline.

If you hit Play you’ll see that it moves along as your video plays. This tool is important for when we want to trim sections out of a video. More on that soon!

PRO TIP: You can resize the different areas of the platform by clicking and dragging along the lines.

Now let’s dive into how to use these video editing tools.

How To Trim & Cut Videos In YouTube Video Editor

Move your playback indicator to the start of your video. Press the Trim & Cut button in the top left window.

The first thing you’ll notice is that blue handles appear at the start and end of your video on either side of the video editing timeline.

Trimming a video inside YouTube Editor
You can trim a video by dragging the blue handles

Let’s say you wanted to remove some footage from the beginning of your YouTube video.

Maybe you spent some time greeting people at the start of your livestream before you dived into the content and now you want to trim that off.

All you need to do is click on the blue handle, then click and drag it to where you want the video to start. Wherever you release the blue handle is the new starting point.

The process is the same to remove footage from the end of your YouTube videos.

Part of a video removed inside YouTube Editor
Once you trim the footage it will no longer be visible on the timeline

PRO TIP: If at any point you’ve made a mistake or decide not to go ahead with a change, just hit the Undo button above the editing timeline. Alternatively, if you want to get rid of ALL the changes you’ve made, you can hit Discard Changes in the top right corner.

So that’s how to trim the start or end of your video.

But what if you want to remove a chunk from the middle of a video? That’s where the playback indicator is important

Align the playback indicator at the start of the chunk you want to remove. Then in the top left window select + New Cut.

Some red handles will appear on the editing timeline. The first red handle will be exactly where you placed the playback indicator.

Making a cut in video footage on the YouTube editor timeline
When you make a cut, red handles will appear on the timeline

Keep in mind that anything in the red area will be removed. So adjust the second red handle to be wherever you want the cut to end and your footage to begin again.

Don’t forget that you can zoom in your editing timeline for more accuracy and control!

Once the red handles are covering the entire section you want removed, hit the Tick icon at the top of the red area.

PRO TIP: If you want to make further edits to a trimmed section after giving them the tick, you can hover over that section and click the Edit icon. You can also delete the edit by hitting the Bin icon.

A removed section of video after using the cut tool
Once you remove a cut, it will appear as blank space on the timeline

You’re able to add in as many cuts throughout the video as you like. Just repeat that same process wherever you want to remove a chunk of footage.

If you want to get really granular with your cuts and you know the timecode of the footage you want to remove, you can enter the timecode of the footage you want removed in the top left window once you’ve created the cut.

The time code feature for making cuts
You can also use the time codes to create precise cuts

As you can see, this video editor mostly just allows you to take things away. You can’t add new stuff in or move video content around.

For more complicated edits, you’d need to look at slightly more professional video editors.

PRO TIP: There are some keyboard shortcuts you can use within the YouTube Editor. Go to the Three Dots icon in the top right and select Keyboard Shortcuts. You’ll see a list of the different ones you can use. These are a great way to speed up your workflow.

Keyboard shortcuts that can be used in the YouTube editor
Using keyboard shortcuts is a great way to speed up the process

How To Edit End Screens In YouTube Video Editor

An end screen is a clickable link you can have on screen during the last 20 seconds of your video. You can link to a:

  • Video
  • Playlist
  • Your channel
  • A subscribe link
  • A verified link off YouTube as well.
What you can link to in an end screen
You can decide what you want to link to in the end screens

Just go to End Screens in the top left window and select Add Element. Once you add an element, you can resize it, move it around and decide how long it’s going to stay on screen.

You don’t need to have the end screen appear for the entire 20 second period. You can customize when they appear on screen in the video editing timeline.    

End screens on the video editing timeline
You can adjust the length of end screens on the timeline

 We won’t dive into end screens in too much detail in this guide. You can check out our dedicated YouTube End Screen Tutorial here.

How To Blur In YouTube Video Editor

Another awesome feature inside the YouTube Editor is the ability to blur. This could be useful to help you remove any copyright issues or to hide something you don’t want to show in the video.

In the top left window press Blur and two options will appear: Blur Face and Custom Blur.

Custom Blur

This allows you to choose a rectangle or oval blur shape that will appear in your video. You can adjust the size and shape of the blue on screen.

A blurred rectangle on the video preview
You can resize and reshape the blurred shapes

You can also adjust the ‘blur behavior’. This means you can fix the blur to the position you place it or you can tell it to track the object you place it on.

You’re able to specify how long you want the blur to appear on screen. This can be done by entering timecodes or you can adjust it on the video editing timeline.  

You’re not limited to one blur, so feel free to add multiple in if you like.

Settings for a custom blur in YouTube Editor
There are a few customization options for custom blurs

Blur Face

YouTube performs automatic face tracking for this tool. Be aware that the process can take a while – after about a minute, it had loaded 0.3% for this example!

After it’s completed loading, you’ll be able to select the face in the video you want to blur and it will automatically do that for you.  

The loading time when using the Blur Face tool
It can take a while for YouTube to process your video

How To Add Music In YouTube Video Editor

If you want to add in music, you can select an audio track from the YouTube Music Library.

Once you find a track that you want to include, hit Add and it will be added to the video editing timeline.

The YouTube Music Library
There’s a huge selection of audio in the YouTube Music Library

You can add multiple tracks and move them around to different parts of the video. You also have the ability to trim the start and end of the audio tracks.

By default, the audio track will play at 100% so if you have any other audio in your video – this track will likely take over completely.

Trimming audio tracks on the editing timeline
You can edit and add multiple tracks to the timeline

To adjust the audio levels, press the Adjust Mix Level button. If this track is background music, you’ll probably want to drag the slider down pretty low.

Whenever using audio from the YouTube Music Library, it’s always a good idea to understand the different licenses for different tracks.

Hit the Three Dots icon on the track and you can access the License Info. This will tell you any credits or attributions you need to add.

The licensing information for a specific audio track
There’s licensing information available for every track

How To Add Info Cards In YouTube Video Editor

The info card is a little link that pops up in the top corner during your YouTube videos.

To add an info card, make sure the playback indicator is at the point you want the info card to be added. Then go to Info Cards in the top left window. Then you can choose between:

  • Video
  • Playlist
  • Channel
  • Link
An info card on a YouTube video
Info cards can also be added using the YouTube Editor

So while you can add these in from other areas in YouTube, you might find that this is the easiest way for you to add them in bulk. You could add all of your info cards and end screens really quickly from this editor.

How To Add Ad Breaks In YouTube Video Editor

If you’re in the YouTube Partner Program, you can use this editor to customize when ad breaks can appear in your videos.

Keep in mind, just because you specify where ad breaks appear, it doesn’t mean an ad is always going to play there. It will still come down to the individual viewer’s session.

Inserting video ad breaks inside the YouTube Editor
Ad breaks can be inserted and adjusted

To adjust the ad breaks, you can hit the Edit button next to Ad Breaks in the top left window or you can select the Edit button next to the $ icon on the video editing timeline.

Let’s hit Edit in the top left window. In this case, there are already two ad breaks added. To add another one, make sure you place the playback indicator where you want the ad break to be added, then click + Ad Break.

To remove any ad breaks, press the Bin icon in the top left window.

A notification about ad breaks from YouTube
YouTube’s ‘Place Automatically’ feature is a useful tool

You can also hit Place Automatically. This tells YouTube to automatically place ad breaks in natural gaps throughout your video.

You can still adjust where they’re placed if you choose this final option. To move them around, simply click and drag on the ad break in the video editing timeline.

How To Save In YouTube Video Editor

Once you’ve finished editing and are ready to publish the updated YouTube video, hit Save in the top right corner.

Then you’ll see a notification window pop up.

It says it might take a few hours for the changes to apply. During that time, viewers will see the current version of the video and you won’t be able to make other changes to that video. You can leave the site while those changes are being made.

A notification from YouTube about saving video changes
When you’re ready, hit Save and the changes will be made

If you’re happy with all of that, hit the Save button again.

PRO TIP: Even after you’ve hit Save on your edits, you can always go back to the original version of your video. Just open the video inside YouTube Video Editor and hit the Three Dots icon in the top right corner. Then select Revert To Original and you’ll have the original version that you first uploaded to YouTube.

The Revert To Original button in YouTube Editor
You can always revert back to the original if you change your mind

Unable To Save In YouTube Video Editor

When you go to save your video, you might see an error message at the top of the screen that says ‘Element must be visible for at least 5 seconds’.

This is a bug and it doesn’t happen all the time. It can happen if you trimmed the end of your video where the end cards are. To fix this, you need to extend your video back out on the video editing timeline and remove the end cards before you trim the end of your video.  

An error message that prevents saving in YouTube Editor
If this error message appears, you’ll need to adjust your end cards

So that’s our complete tutorial! Now you know how to edit with YouTube Studio Video Editor.

If you’re looking for something more powerful and professional, check out our complete guides on the Best Video Editing Software For Mac or Best Video Editing Software For PC.


Recommended Gear & Resources

Check out an up-to-date list of all the gear, software & tools we use and recommend right now at Primal Video on our resources page here!

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