22 Handy VLC Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows and macOS

Last Updated: October 17, 2016

Honing keyboard shortcuts is the best way to be productive on a Windows PC or Mac. Keyboard shortcuts make it easier and faster to perform tasks without reaching for the mouse. Along with desktop platforms, there are various cool keyboard shortcuts specific to third party apps. One such app that packs in some really handy keyboard shortcuts is VLC Media Player. The application is the go-to solution when it comes to watching videos for many and if you are one of the lot, here are 22 useful VLC keyboard shortcuts for Windows and macOS you should use:  

1. Fullscreen

Windows: F

macOS: Command+F

The best way to watch your favorite videos in VLC is by entering the fullscreen mode. Well, this simple shortcut makes it a snap to use one of the most used functions of VLC.

2. Exit FullScreen

Windows: Esc

macOS: Esc

If you are going to enter fullscreen mode, then you need to get out of it as well. The Escape key will help you quickly exit fullscreen.

3. Pause/Play

Windows: Spacebar

macOS: Spacebar

It can be quite annoying to click on the pause button when you suddenly need to pause and handle something or quickly pause the video at a certain scene. You can press the Spacebar key to quickly pause the video and press it again to resume from the same scene.

4. Turn On/Off Subtitles

Windows: V

macOS: S

Subtitles are useful for understanding a videos in foreign languages or just to ensure you don’t miss anything said in the video. You can quickly turn on or off subtitles with the keyboard shortcut.

5. Jump Forward/Backward

Windows: Ctrl+Left/Right (short), Alt+Left/Right (Medium). Shift+Left/Right (Long)

macOS: Command+Ctrl+Left/Right (short), Command+Option+Left/Right (Medium), Command+Shift+Left/Right (Long)

VLC allows you to quickly move forward or backward using keyboard shortcuts, so you won’t have to make precise clicks just to repeat the scene you missed. Additionally, it offers multiple shortcuts to move forward or backward at your own pace. Here short means 3 seconds, medium means 10 seconds and long means a 1 minute jump.

6. Control Volume

Windows: Ctrl+Up/Down arrow

macOS: Command+Up/Down arrow

Volume is one of the most sensitive functions of any media player, you never know when you may need it to be ear piercing or soothing. You can use the shortcut in VLC to quickly turn down or increase volume. Pressing and hold the volume shortcut will quickly move the slider, so try tapping multiple times to easily adjust.

7. Mute

Windows: M

macOS: Command+Option+Down

Adjusting volume is important, but quickly muting the volume is very handy as well. Think your mom’s calling while your volume is too high? Simply use the mute keyboard shortcut to mute the volume.

8. Open File

Windows: Ctrl+O

macOS: Command+O

You can use this shortcut to quickly access the open media window. Here, you can browse your computer to look for media files and play them in VLC media player.

9. Change Aspect Ratio

Windows: A

macOS: A

Based on your display resolution, the playback window in VLC may not fit properly on the screen. Thankfully, you can quickly change the aspect ratio using the shortcut to set the window to your preference.

10. Manage Subtitle Delay

Windows: Decrease “G”, Increase “H”

macOS: Decrease “H”, Increase “J”

It can be really hard to ensure the subtitles sync with the video, and the built-in sync system can be hard to experiment with. The shortcuts are much easier to use and allow you to quickly increase or decrease subtitles delay and see the results in real-time.

11. Manage Audio Delay

Windows: Decrease “J”, Increase “K”

macOS: Decrease “F”, Increase “G”

Similar to subtitles, syncing audio with the video can be a huge problem as well. Fortunately, the shortcuts to increase or decrease delay make it easier to sync audio.

12. Move Frame By Frame

Windows: E

macOS: E

You can make your video move frame by frame to see each and every detail of a scene. Just press the E key to move the video per frame.

13. Hide Controls

Windows: Ctrl+H

macOS: Command+H

If you don’t want to go fullscreen but you want the video to take up most of your screen to remove any distractions, you can simply hide all the controls in VLC. You can use this shortcut to quickly hide the controls or bring them back if they are hidden already.

14. Access Preferences

Windows: Ctrl+P

macOS: Command+P

If you like messing around with VLC’s preferences to make it work according to your needs, then this little shortcut will surely save you two clicks.

15. Manage Bookmarks

Windows: Ctrl+B

macOS: Command+B

VLC allows you to bookmark a video at specific playback time, so you can easily continue watching a video from where you left it. If you want to take full advantage of this feature, you need to access the Bookmark manager frequently to switch between media files. This shortcut will help you save time and make bookmark managing easier.

16. Open and Save Playlist

Windows: Open “Ctrl+L”, Save “Ctrl+Y”

macOS: Open “Command+L”, Save “Command+Y”

There is a good chance you already have multiple playlists to play. You can use the open playlist shortcut to open all your playlists and manage them. You can also save a newly created playlist using the save playlist shortcut.

17. Play Next or Previous Track in List

Windows: Next “N”, Previous “P”

macOS: Next “Command+Right Arrow Key”, Previous “Command+Left Arrow Key”

When you are enjoying your playlist, it can be a little frustrating to use the mouse to play the right track. You can use these shortcuts to quickly play the next or previous track in the list.

18. Change Zoom Mode

Windows: Z

macOS: Z

You can press Z to quickly cycle between Zoom mode. The modes include Double, Quarter and Half. Zoom will only work when VLC is in the window mode.

19. Access Effects and Filters Menu

Windows: Ctrl+E

macOS: Command+E

Effects and Filters is arguably one of the most accessed window in VLC Media Player, as all the syncing and video/audio editing options are present here. The shortcut will certainly help you get there faster.

20. See Playback Time

Windows: T

macOS: T

If you quickly need to see how much time has elapsed and how much time is left while in fullscreen, there is no need to move the mouse cursor. Simply press T and you will see the playback time on the top right corner.

21. Change Playback Speed

Windows: Increase “+”, Decrease “-”

macOS: Increase “Command and+”, Decrease “Command+-”

Speeding up or slowing down playback is important to quickly skip ahead or slow down a track for better understanding. You can use these shortcuts to quickly increase and decrease playback speed.

22. Take Screenshot

Windows: Shift+S

macOS: Shift+S

VLC media player allows you to quickly take a screenshot of a video to save it as a picture. Just press Shift+S while a video is playing and a screenshot will be taken and saved to your “Pictures” folder. You can use it in the frame by frame mode to take precise pictures of video content.

SEE ALSO: How to Control Mouse Pointer with Keyboard in Windows 10

Ditch the Mouse and try these VLC keyboard shortcuts

These are most useful VLC keyboard shortcuts that will surely make you productive and help take common actions on the media player quickly. Of course, it will take you some time to master all the keyboard shortcuts but once you get a hang of it, things will become a lot faster for you. Well, that is all from my side but we’d love to hear from you. Do let us know the keyboard shortcuts you use the most on VLC Media Player.


Karrar is drenched in technology and always fiddles with new tech opportunities. He has a bad habit of calling technology “Killer”, and doesn't feel bad about spending too much time in front of the PC. If he is not writing about technology, you will find him spending quality time with his little family.