Skipping and Playing Audio and Video Portions in VLC

Using VLC Media Player, if you want to play a certain portion of a video/audio and then skip some segments and then resume playing, then there is a special playlist trick that can be used. The bookmark feature in the player is useful for bookmarking and playing the currently active media file at different points or time. But once the player is shut off or closed, the bookmarks are lost forever. If you want to keep the bookmarks in VLC for the next time, then use this special trick.

This special trick allows you to specify a video file as well as the start and end time for it. There can be multiple start and end points for a single video. If needed, you can open multiple videos—one at a time—with specific start and end times.

If it sounds complicated, then think of it like this: You open a video, instead of playing it from the start you directly navigate to some point in the video and play it until it reaches another point. Then you can skip the portions or open up a totally different video and do the same thing. It is basically highlighting and playing only the portions of the video or audio that you want. It allows you to watch your favorite portions of a long media file or from multiple media files.

Skipping and Playing Media Portions in VLC

This trick is set up using a playlist that contains special instructions for the player. It might sound complicated to some but once you get the hold of it, you will be creating start and stop locations for video files like a pro.

Here are the steps to create a playlist to tell VLC to mark and play media files:

  • Open up your notepad or any other plain text editor.
  • Enter the start time, stop time and video file location like this:


  • Save the file as .m3u file. Give it a name like playlist.m3u.
  • Open the playlist using VLC.

Explaining the Playlist Instructions


It tells the start time in seconds for the video.


It tells the end time in seconds for the same video.


It is the name of the video file. We keep the playlist.m3u as well as the video.mp4 file in the same folder to keep it simple.

If there are more than one start and stop points for the same video then continue adding the start-time and stop-time along with the video file name. If there’s a different file, then change the file name as shown in the example: video.mp4 to video2.mp4.

After setting up the playlist, instead of directly opening up the media file with VLC; use it to open the playlist. It will automatically adapt to the time that you have set. Files will start to play from a certain second offset and then continue to play until it reaches the end time. Then if it needs to skip or if it needs to open another video, it will do it. Just be precise with the seconds that you enter. It might sound a bit complicated, but with correct calculations and some trial and error, you will be able to set it up easily.

Free Download: 10 Hidden but Useful Features of VLC

A handy PDF guide to learn the secret features of your favorite media player
* indicates required

29 thoughts to “Skipping and Playing Audio and Video Portions in VLC”

      1. i am asking if there is some command which i can write in .m3u file . This command #EXTVLCOPT:start-time=28 , starts video at 28 seconds , like wise if there exists some other command start-audio , stop-audio . Then we will be able to control whole audio/video of a movie via .m3u script.

  1. >>Save the file as .m3u file.
    Interesting. But why must we have another metafile for this? I already use .xsfp files for song lists which play files in sequence. And we can already add bookmarks within a song (‘tracks’). So all we need is a syntax for the length of the track, the start of the next track, and then just move sequentially on, as for songs. Right? Why another control file???

    1. Getting the path right to the media file is the key here. Try with one media file and the .m3u file placed in the same folder.

  2. Can you help me to fix one little annoying thing?

    Lets say I have a playlist.m3u file. Inside this playlist there is:

    Note, that this playlist uses the same “video.avi” file.

    When I start this playlist, everything works fine – video starts at 10 seconds, ends at 20 seconds and then starts at 30 seconds and ends at 40 seconds. But there is one little annoying thing: when video ends at 20 seconds and must start at 30 seconds, there is like 0.5 second or 1 second gap, when video starts from the beginning (as I said, you can see about 0.5 or 1 second of video beginning) and then jumps to 30 seconds and starts playing from 30 seconds like it should be.

    Is there any fix or something for that? I mean, I want to remove somehow that 0.5 or 1 second gap between jumps to another video part to get smooth playing.

    P.S. I think that gap could be because of video loading or buffering (because as I imagine, VLC firstly starts video, and then jumps to specific time and while it does that, I can see that annoying gap), but again, I don’t know how to fix it.

    OS: Linux Mint 18.1
    VLC: 2.2.2

      1. I am sorry, but none of these methods works. I tried them all, but none of them seems to work. Besides, all my videos are not even HD, they are 640×480. I also tried with a different type of videos, like .mp4 and others but that happens in all of them. I guess it could be linux issue then.

  3. I am trying to play a portion of copied dvd files using this feature. The full length of DVD is 1:30:00
    The index file in the DVD is “vts_01_0.ifo” and media files are “vts_01_1.vob” “vts_01_2.vob” “vts_01_3.vob” and so on. I tried as following


    I also tried…



    But it is not working. Even no error message is displayed. Please let me know what is the problem ??

  4. I know the post is a year old, but it was super useful to cut some annoying outro from some archived webseries =] one little tip: if you have to do alot of videos to *cut* use excel (or whatever die openoffice variant is called) and make a formel like *=(D1*60)+D2* in an box to quickly get that second number (d1 is minutes and d2 seconds)

  5. Cool!
    Can I get the video to stop at end time and WAIT for me click something before it plays next piece?
    I need this for presentation to make sure I narrate all the stuff before next segments starts?

    1. I think that it is not easily possible. You can use the manual controls like pressing the space bar to pause if you do not finish narrating. You can also try adding the vlc://pause:99999 in the m3u playlist to pause it for 99999 seconds which I think will be enough for you to finish speaking.

    2. In VLC’s preferences you can go to the Playlist section and choose the “Play and pause” behavior, where for each playlist entry it will pause at the very end until you press the “next track” button.

  6. Thank you very much!
    Videos play as intended.
    However my progress bar stays single, static, filled up to the start position, shows no progress and the moving button is missing.
    And shows no time line as seen in the screenshot.
    No matter how many start/stop instructions.
    This is ubuntu 14.04 vlc 2.0.8
    Any idea?
    Many thanks in advance.

  7. Just a follow up on my question:
    so I typed:
    1-note of VRF

    a window pops up with this error notification

    File reading failed:
    VLC could not open the file “C:\Users\mohjamal\Videos\PD SIR- DC CLASS\2. 29 April – VDC\1-note of VRF” (Bad file descriptor).
    Your input can’t be opened:
    VLC is unable to open the MRL ‘file:///C:/Users/mohjamal/Videos/PD%20SIR-%20DC%20CLASS/2.%2029%20April%20-%20VDC/1-note%20of%20VRF’. Check the log for details.

    Now, I don’t have a problem with the bookmarked intervals, they are playing ok, but am afraid this pop-up window error message would cause any problem in the future.

    1. Just add the # symbol in front of the line with the bookmark names.


      #1-note of VRF

  8. When the input is in seconds, can I read them from the time bar or do I have to calculate them ? (like 01:02:08,000 = 3728 seconds)

Leave a Reply