How to add chapters to your YouTube videos

  • You can add chapters to your YouTube video by adding timestamps for each chapter in the description.
  • Adding chapters makes it easier for people to watch YouTube videos and find their favorite moments.
  • YouTube will also occasionally give chapters to your videos automatically, if you enable the option.

Much like how chapters make books easier to read, chapters are also a great way to break up your long YouTube videos. Not only do chapters tell viewers what each section of the video is about, but they also make it easy for those viewers to jump to their favorite parts.

There are two ways to add chapters to a YouTube video, but one method is much better than the other. Here’s how it works.

How to Add Chapters to a YouTube Video

The best way to add chapters to a YouTube video is to create a list of timestamps in your video description. This allows you to precisely trim and title each chapter yourself.

Somewhere in the description, type the exact time the first chapter of the video begins, then a hyphen, then the title of that chapter. On the next line, do the same for the next chapter, and so on.

When you’re done, you should have a list that looks like this:

0:00 – Prologue

2:00 – Start

10:00 – Highlight

15:00 – Intro

20:00 – Epilogue

Save the video and once it is processed, your video timeline will be split to show all the chapters you have listed. You will also see a list of chapters below your description.

List of video chapters in the description of a YouTube video.

Write your timestamp in minute:second format.

Youtube; William Antonelli/Insider

As in a book, consider dividing your chapters by topic or scene. Each time you move on to a new topic or scene, create a new chapter. And be sure to give each chapter a descriptive name, so viewers know exactly which is which.

How to Add Auto Chapters to Your YouTube Video

If you don’t want to write the timestamps yourself, you can also try YouTube’s “Auto Chapters” option. This feature allows a YouTube AI to analyze your video and try to divide it into chapters based solely on an algorithm.

Note, however, that this feature rarely works well. Most of the time, it won’t add any chapters. And when they do, the chapters are usually misplaced or inaccurate. You also can’t use automatic chapters if your channel is on an active warning or if your video has been flagged for inappropriate content.

To give your video automatic chapters, upload the video through the YouTube website (not the app). While the video is being processed and you decide all its details, click Show morethen check the box Allow automatic chapters (if available and eligible) option.

The option

This option can be checked by default.

Youtube; William Antonelli/Insider

You can edit auto chapters later by manually adding timestamps to the description or by editing the video in YouTube Studio and clicking the icon Chapters available option.


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