Controlling Playback Speed in VLC Media Player

With VLC, you can easily control the playback speed of any media file. Playback speed relates to the speed at which the video is played. You can speed up the video or slow it down according to your wish. Speeding up will allow you to watch the video faster. Speeding up will also allow you to skim through the video while viewing all the parts. This will enable you to reach the part of the video where you previously left off. You will also be able to watch documentaries quickly which saves time while allowing you to take full benefit of the video.

On the contrary, slowing down the video speed will allow you to watch the video in real detail. You will be playing at such slow speeds that the video will be moving from one frame to another, really slow. Using this feature, you can reach your favorite frame of the  video or watch your favorite scene in slow motion.

There are several uses of slowing down or speeding up a video. It is left up to your imagination and use. VLC allows us to control the speed of the video in two ways. One is by using shortcut keys or hotkeys and another way is by using menu and buttons. Both ways are good, but the shortcut option is simpler and quicker.

To control speed of a video in VLC using shortcuts:

Speed up: ] Key in keyboard
Speed down: [ Key in keyboard
Normal speed: = Key in keyboard

When you click on the speed up or speed down button, a confirmation is displayed on the top right of the video. Speed is displayed such as 1.50x or 0.80x depending upon how much you change it. You will also be able to change the shortcut keys if you want.


To control speed of a video in VLC using menu and buttons:

From the VLC Menu Bar go to Playback > Speed and select a speed from options: Faster, Faster (fine), Normal, Slower (fine) and Slower.


The same options can also be accessed from the right click menu Playback > Speed.


Clicking on those buttons will increase or decrease the speed of the video by a certain amount. Speed will be added or reduced to the current playback speed. For example: click on faster will add the speed by 0.50x.

Fine Tuning Audio/Video Speed

You can adjust the audio/video playback speed in VLC to the tiniest details. That means you can speed up your audio/video 1.06x times or 1.43 times. You’ll have to use the playback speed slider present in the status bar. It is at the bottom-right corner of the player, below the volume slider. It displays the current playback speed. If the status bar is not there, click on View > Status Bar to enable it.

  • Make sure an audio or video is playing; you can pause the content if you want.
  • Click on the speed indicator and a slider will open.
  • You can drag the slider towards the left to slow down and towards the right to speed up.
    Playback Speed Slider
    This slider allows you to configure the playback speed up to 1/10th fractional units.

Setting the Default Playback Speed

To set a default playback speed for all your videos, you will have to do it from the advanced VLC configurations accessible from Tools > Preferences [CTRL + P] and then selecting All radio box for Show settings option. This will display the Advanced Preferences for the player.

  • Click on Input / Codecs found once you open Advanced Preferences.
  • Under Playback control you will find Playback speed. Input a value up to two decimal places.
    Advanced Speed Settings Preferences of VLC
    This new value will be your default playback speed. You will have to stop and play a file again or you can restart your player to ensure that this new settings is in effect. You’ll have to visit this advanced preference again to reset it back to 1.00x.
  • Click Save at the end.


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48 thoughts to “Controlling Playback Speed in VLC Media Player”

  1. Does anyone know what the percentage is? I mean is the speed 1,2 equal to 120% and speed 2,0 equal to 200% (double speed)? It’s just so I can calculate how long a video would need to play if I set on for example 1,33. Since time speeds up, I have no idea how long it will take for the video to play.

  2. I would like to be able to configure the amount that “fine” adjusts playback speed. For example, I have a lot of PAL sources that I’d like to play back at 96% speed. Unless there is a way for VLC to automatically detect 25Hz material and play it back at 96% speed, the next easiest thing would be for me to be able to configure the “[” and “]” buttons to work in increments of 4%. Possible?

  3. Which version of VLC is the playback speed default setting on ? I cannot find advanced preferences on new version? HELP!

  4. I changed the speed to 5x and the video is very jumpy now. It freezes for 5 seconds then plays fast for a few seconds and freezes again. Repeats throughout video. Is there some known issue when trying to speed up a video too much?

  5. One of my students asked if there was a way to watch the course videos at faster than normal speed. A little searching turned up this page. My students will have to download the course videos rather than streaming them, but that shouldn’t be a problem for most of them. This should do the trick!

  6. Useful for some stuff, like videos, but too course to use for pitching audio up/down subtly. The Speed Selector slider if far too course. It needs to allow increments like .01%, preferably with arrow key support or some-such, too.

  7. Hi!
    Thank you for your good work!
    We can change the speed with the “slower” or “slower (fine)” hotkeys.
    But a “slower (EXTREMELY fine)”-hotkey (i.e. every 0.02) would be perfect for me while practising the guitar. Please give me any solution!

    1. Try “Fine Tuning Audio/Video Speed” and “Setting the Default Playback Speed” to control that level of playback speed.

  8. Request to edit this entry: The “Speed bar” shown in the above tutorial is not enabled by default. Advise adding ” if the speed control is not showing, you can enable it by navigating (in the upper pane controls) to View > Status bar.” Without this little addition the manual slider portion is confusing and not useful to many.

    1. Yes it is possible to start playing a file from the command line at a certain speed. Here’s the line that you need to run:

      vlc --rate 3 myfile.mp4
  9. It took me a minute to figure out why I didn’t have that control. Make sure View->Status Bar is enabled.

  10. ok I had the same issue as Nate, I was able to control the speed with command and + or – but i can’t see the playback speed anywhere unless i open it from the top menu, I don’t have the Toolbar Element that you mention or anyway to customize it, is there any way i can actually see the playback speed on the toolbar?

  11. Is it possible to jump from normal speed (1.00) to a certain speed (e.g. 4x in my case) by pressing a key just once?
    Thanks for your answer!

  12. Ok I found it at the menu but it does not work like it does with microsoft. It can be done in increments. But this speed up is too fast or too slow. 🙁

    1. You should try adding the Toolbar Element called Speed selector from Customize > Toolbar. It will allow you to fine tune your playback speed as shown above.

  13. How to set it to 1.03 or 1.06 as it was long time before? I don’t want to set it on 1.10, it’s too much and unpleasure to watch.

    1. Use the playback speed indicator/slider present below the volume slider. Read the newly added “Fine Tuning Audio/Video Speed” in the article above to view the details.

  14. What is the best video format to play speeded up? I noticed that when I upload my video to youtube and speed up there the sound is much better. I would like to get the same sound in VLC.

  15. Is it possible to change speed to, for example, 1.70x or 1.20x. I’m not seeing those on the playback speed options…

    1. Yes it is possible. You don’t see it in the playback options. Just use the short cut keys [ and ] for your desired speed.

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