©2021 Donald R. Snow - Page last updated 2021-06-21

Return to the  Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group Home Page or Don's Class Listings Page .
ABSTRACT:  VLC is a free and open-source player for audio and video files and has many helpful features.  It is available for Windows, Mac, and mobile devices and can be set as your default media player,.  Then, clicking on a media file, starts it playing in the program.  It has the codecs (codes) to play most types of media files.  This class will discuss installing and using it on your computer.  The notes for this class and related articles, all with active internet links, are posted on my website .


  1. Instructor is Donald R. Snow ( ) of Provo and St. George, Utah.
  2. The notes for this class with active URLs, as well as additional information in other notes and articles, are posted at .
  3. Tips:  (1)  To put an icon on your desktop for these notes, or any webpage, just drag the icon from in front of the address in your browser onto your desktop.  (2)  To open a link, but keep your place in these notes, hold down the Control key while clicking the link.
  4. The problem for today:  What is VLC, where do you get it, and how do you use it?

  6. The VideoLan website to download VLC is --
  7. It is free and open-source, so if you know enough about programming, you can add in your own features, but most of us just use it as it is. 
  8. It has the codes built-in to play most kinds of media files and it includes several features that other media players don't have.
  9. Its icon is a traffic cone (for a reason that I don't know)
  10. VLC for Dummies --
  11. A VLC keyboard shortcuts sheet is at --
  12. A good 7-minute VLC YouTube tutorial (though for a previous version) is at -- -- Click to skip the ad


  13. Preferences are in the Tools menu, but start by using the default settings.
  14. VLC will play lmost audio and video files
    1. File extensions for audio -- .wav, .mp3, .wma, .m4a, .cda, and others.
    2. File extensions for video -- .wmv, .avi, mp4, .mov, and others.
  15. To set it as your default media player go to Control Panel > Default Programs and set it to play everything that it can 
  16. With it set as default, clicking on any media file in File Explorer, or other file program, will play that file in it 
  17. For media files in a folder select that folder in VLC and it will play the files in order; to skip to the next file in the folder, click on the "Go to End" icon in the controls (bottom left); a way to get the files in the order you want in a folder is to add a number in front of the name, e.g. 01-[song 1], 02-[song 2], etc.   
  18. If the files came from a CD and the cover art is with them, VLC will show the cover as the file plays. 
  19. You can also form playlists by putting the paths to the files in a playlist text box; this is not always easy and it may be simpler to just copy the files you want into a single folder to play them that way.

  21. VLC has the codes for many media formats and can do batch conversions between formats.
  22. A video feature that few other media players have is the ability to synchronize the audio and video so the audio matches the people's lips; for me, the audio and video not being synchronized is very distracting and this program will correct that. 
  23. VLC can be used to download videos from YouTube and Vimeo --
  24. VLC has an extraction feature to save the audio track from a video file or DVD.
  25. VLC has a way of recording audio and video, but it is not the best program for that.

  27. VLC is free and easy to use and will play most media formats; it is cross-platform and, hence, available for Windows, Mac, and mobile devices. 
  28. It is updated frequently and is open-source, so if you know programming, you can modify it the way you want. But, there are enough preferences that most of us use it the way it is.
  29. It can be set as your default media player, so clicking on an audio or video file plays it automatically. 
  30. It has many additional features, but what we have discussed here is enough to get you started.

Return to the Events Page or the Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group Home Page or Don's Class Listings Page .