Link to start YouTube videos in the middle

Yesterday, a friend lamented that he didn’t know of a way to send someone a link to a YouTube video so that it would skip to a certain point. He knew some actors who wanted to show off videos they were in without making people wait through the whole beginning.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any way to make this work on a YouTube watch page but YouTube has a pretty good API, both for the embedded player and for retrieving information on videos themselves. So I was able to hack together my own watch page.

Here’s how to use it:

  1. Go to

  2. Type or paste the URL of a YouTube video into the form

  3. (Optional) Enter the desired starting time

  4. Click Load

  5. Copy the link from your browser’s URL bar or…

  6. When the video loads, play or scrub to the exact desired starting time.

  7. Pause the video

  8. Copy the link or embed code from the form at the bottom to get the link to this video at your starting point.

The format of the URL is pretty simple, if you want to put it together manually.**VIDEO_ID**/**TIME**

VIDEO_ID is that weird string of characters that comes after the “=” in a YouTube watch page link. TIME is the starting point in seconds. This should not be less than 0 or more than the duration of your video. It must be in whole seconds.

If people find this useful, I’ll keep updating it with new features and bug fixes. Please leave notes and suggestions in the comments section on this post.

Update (March 1, 2009): I’ve changed the URL structure so that the time comes after a slash instead of a “#”, because the old format screwed things up when posting to Twitter and a few other small problems. The old format still works, so existing links should be fine. If you leave off the time, the page will load with your video starting from the beginning.