How to start a YouTube video at a given point or time

Here’s a tip that technical writers will love! You can start a YouTube video at a specific point, by including the time-from-start in the URL or as a parameter in an embedded video.

Let’s say the sales team has produced a video introducing a number of new features in your product. Or an engineer has covered a suite of classes in an API. As a technical writer, you are writing about just one of those features, or just a subset of the classes. So, you need to start the video at the right point. Otherwise you’ll lose your readers!

In the examples below, I’ve used an excellent video from Chris Broadfoot, a Google engineer who is showing developers how to add spiffy map features to their Android apps using the Google Maps Android API utility library. I’m currently writing the documentation which focuses on just one of the utilities Chris covers: the Bubble Icon Factory. Does that sound like fun? It is! Watch the video to see what it’s about. 🙂

Using a URL to start a YouTube video at a specific point

Add the ‘t‘ parameter with a value in minutes and seconds. For example, this YouTube URL starts the video one and a half minutes into the story, where Chris talks about bubble icons:

Starting an embedded YouTube video at a specific point

Use the ‘start‘ parameter and specify the number of seconds from the start of the video.

This is the code to embed a video using an iFrame, and start it at the 90-second point. Please assume the following code is within an HTML iframe element:

width="560" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen

Because this blog is on WordPress, I’ve used a WordPress macro to embed a video on this page and start it at the 90-second point. This is the code:


And here’s the result:

More parameters

The YouTube documentation has a list of other useful parameters, including ‘end‘ for stopping the video at a given time, and ‘rel‘ for showing or suppressing the list of related videos when yours stops playing.

About Sarah Maddox

Technical writer, author and blogger in Sydney

Posted on 15 December 2013, in Google Maps, technical writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. cindymediapub

    Thanks Sarah – this was the simplest, most accurate way to make it happen.

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