How to capture a screenshot from a YouTube Video

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 5, 2024
Updated • Jul 5, 2024
Youtube
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Have you ever tried to take a screenshot from a YouTube video? You may have run into a few roadblocks, including YouTube controls visible in the screenshot or a rather bad resolution of it.

This guide walks you through the steps of creating YouTube video screenshots that have the following characteristics:

  • The screenshots have the same resolution as the video.
  • No user interface elements are shown.

YouTube itself does not support the capturing of screenshots. While it is possible to use functionality of the browser or operating system, these cause the issues mentioned above. Downloading the videos does not work well either, unless the media player that is used supports taking screenshots.

This leaves browser extensions and online services as your go-to resources.

Update: There is actually a built-in way, but it is hidden from plain view.

Here is what you need to do:

  • Hold-down the Shift-key on the keyboard and right-click on the video. (you may need to repeat this until you get the "right" menu.
  • Select "save video frame as..."  from the menu that opens.
  • Save the screenshot to the local system.

Firefox users do not have that option. While there is a take snapshot option, it does take a low-resolution screenshot of the video frame only.

End of update

Before the guide starts, it may be useful to look at some of the reasons why someone would want to take a screenshot:

  • To create a new wallpaper for the system.
  • To save information.
  • To save images of something or someone you like, e.g., a celebrity, cars, or cats & dogs.

YouTube screenshot extensions

For pure YouTube screenshots, it is necessary to rely on browser extensions.

Here is a selection for all modern web browsers:

YouTube Screenshot Button (Firefox)

Take YouTube video screenshots in Firefox
This add-on enables you to capture YouTube video screenshots in the Firefox web browser

The extension adds a Screenshot link to the YouTube player. It furthermore enables the keyboard shortcut Shift-A on YouTube to take a screenshot without having to use the link.

Screenshot YouTube Video (Chrome)

Chrome Take Screenshots of YouTube videos
The YouTube screenshot tool in Chrome

The extension works on YouTube and a few other sites. It is a bit discouraging that it requests access to all sites, when it could just request access to the sites it supports.

Other than that, it adds a take screenshot button to the player.Click on it and you get a screenshot of the current frame in the same resolution as the video.

YouTube Video Screenshot Tool (Firefox)

Firefox Take Screenshot YouTube
Taking a screenshot of a YouTube video in Firefox

The extension adds a Take Screenshot option to the Settings menu. Users who prefer a clean interface may prefer this over the other Firefox add-on.

Online services to take YouTube video screenshots

The main benefit of online services is that you do not have to install an extension in a browser. They mostly work by pasting the video URL into a form and hitting a capture button.

Downsides

  • Many do not support capturing a specific frame.
  • Others are ad-infested and not recommended.

I could not find a single online tool that supports easy captures of YouTube videos.

Do you take screenshots of YouTube videos frequently or regularly? Which tools do you use for that? Feel free to write a comment down below.

Summary
How to capture a screenshot from a YouTube Video
Article Name
How to capture a screenshot from a YouTube Video
Description
Find out how to capture screenshots from YouTube videos that support the native resolution and do not show user interface elements.
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Publisher
Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. TelV said on July 7, 2024 at 5:40 pm
    Reply

    Floorp has the same thing Anonymous mentioned, but doesn’t require you to pause the video first. The other important thing is to use the option to resize the video first via the toolbar menu at the bottom. For example, set it to 1080 if the resolution is any lower.

    I took the following snapshot using Floorp in full screen mode and then drag & dropped it into VLC to get the resolution details. https://i.postimg.cc/qM2838Wj/full-screen-snapshot-2.png

    The guy in the video appears to have his eyes almost closed, but that’s only because I didn’t pause the video before taking the snapshot. It came from this video using Invidious: https://invidious.private.coffee/watch?v=PIJRN2b3xX4 and the subject matter is the war in Ukraine filmed by the AZOV brigade.

  2. Anonymous said on July 7, 2024 at 9:31 am
    Reply

    Try using the VLC media player

  3. Anonymous said on July 7, 2024 at 6:46 am
    Reply

    I use Video Screenshot add-on for Firefox because I take screenshots of videos on other sites as well as YouTube. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/video-screenshot/

  4. Biden His Time said on July 7, 2024 at 1:58 am
    Reply

    If you’re stuck on Windows, you can download the video using yt-dlp or other and use VirtualDub (free) on the downloaded video and browse frame-by-frame and dump as much as you want to an image file(s).

    It’s simple, really.

  5. chesscanoe said on July 6, 2024 at 10:14 pm
    Reply

    I often want to end with a fullscreen but improved cropped image from a Youtube video. Chrome, PicPick, and IrfanView sometimes followed by paint.net give me precise control to accomplish that.

  6. Mystique said on July 5, 2024 at 9:34 pm
    Reply

    https://greasyfork.org/en/scripts/402659-youtube-screenshot-button

    https://improvedtube.com/

    I am sure there are several others. There was at least one more script for this too.

  7. injecting ozempic into my balls said on July 5, 2024 at 8:27 pm
    Reply

    — How about Flameshot?
    https://flameshot.org/

    “Powerful, yet simple to use open-source screenshot software.”

    For Windows, MacOS, and Linux.

  8. Tachy said on July 5, 2024 at 6:40 pm
    Reply

    I pause the video and use the windows snipping tool (old version 10.0.16299.15) but I’ve never wanted or tried to take a fullscreen snip of a YT video.

    If I wanted a high resolution full screen image I would download the vid with a command line tool and then open it in Shotcut (a free, open source, cross-platform video editor) where I can search frame by frame.

  9. ECJ said on July 5, 2024 at 3:39 pm
    Reply

    The [Double right-click > Save video frame as] is a neat trick for screenshotting paused videos.

    And if you set the video to 4K before screenshotting, it will save 4K screenshots.

  10. bruh said on July 5, 2024 at 3:11 pm
    Reply

    I was reading some old microsoft “help” design philosophy, and it’s not good practice to list reasons why someone should want to do something.

    The theory being if someone is seeking for help or guidance on how to do something, they already know why they want to do it. When you add an extra section on “why” someone might want to do this, you’re basically advertising the feature and trying to convince someone to try do something they might not have had any intention of doing.

    Also the best mentioned method which requires no extensions is also somehow the only one without a screenshot to accompany it, that seems backwards.

  11. Paul(us) said on July 5, 2024 at 2:40 pm
    Reply

    I always like to take a YouTube picture with the free program PicPick.

    Which program or addon do you like to make short (Like . GIF) YouTube impressions?
    The free tool screentogif enables you to record a selected area of your screen and save it as an animated GIF.
    But I want the full screen in a good 1080p resolutions, or even more. Any suggestions?

  12. gauthamarul said on July 5, 2024 at 2:38 pm
    Reply

    On Windows, press PrtScn or Snipping Tool. On macOS, press Command + Shift + 4 to select the area

    1. Anonymous said on July 6, 2024 at 5:47 pm
      Reply

      this will not allow you to capture the ENTIRE image …. either the YT controls (and potentially other layered images) are visibly present in the captured image, or if you omit them by accordingly selecting the area to be captured, the part of the image they are layered upon is not captured => this way you won’t capture all information/the entire image, but just parts of it or your capture will contain stuff (the controls) you may not want to capture.
      So, yes, this approach works and might suffice in most instances, but you’ll never capture the entire picture this way, unless you prior take active measures to remove the YT video controls and all other possible images layered upon the video, from being displayed.
      This can be done by eg using a dedicated, local HTML page from which the display of the YT controls is removed via the tag parameters and then capture via screenshot or snipped.
      In Chrome you may also directly manipulate the YT website accordingly using the dev tools, without having to create a local instance. In Firefox, this won’t work and you’d have to use an overlay.

    2. LB said on July 5, 2024 at 3:25 pm
      Reply

      Exactly, I do use it and cannot find an easier way :-)

    3. bruh said on July 5, 2024 at 3:05 pm
      Reply

      Doesn’t let you queue up the desired frame, you have to catch it live during playback – who wants to do that?

  13. Anonymous said on July 5, 2024 at 2:08 pm
    Reply

    Or you can just double right click twice on the video and press “Take Screenshot”

    Why would anyone use an add on for this lol

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 5, 2024 at 2:41 pm
      Reply

      This is actually not working in all browsers. I can get this to work in Chromium-based browsers on the desktop when I hold down the Shift-key.

      1. Anonymous said on July 5, 2024 at 2:45 pm
        Reply

        Double right click works in Firefox

      2. Michael Fisher said on July 5, 2024 at 3:25 pm
        Reply

        This does not work – the screenshot includes Youtube controls. This article is exploring ways of taking screenshots of the whole video still, but without those elements.

      3. Anonymous said on July 5, 2024 at 10:50 pm
        Reply

        well .. yes and know

        if you double right click in Firefox on a paused YouTube stream, you’ll get a menu, that contains several entries, including the following TWO entries:
        – Take screenshot
        – Take snapshot

        Selecting “Take screenshot” activates the common Firefox screenshot tool, which you could also activate by pressings CTRL + Shift + S.
        A Screenshot taken with this option will include the YT controls on top of the image.
        This is unless you select the area to not exclude them, but in this case you’d only capture a part, not the entirety, of the picture.

        Selecting “Take snapshot” in contrast will allow you to take a screenshot of the entire image, without the YT controls being displayed.
        If you set the stream resolution to max and set the stream display to full screen, this will allow you to capture a screenshot with the same resolution as your monitor. This might be less than the stream resolution, but should suffice for most cases. At least for wallpapers etc this is sufficient.

        If you really need a higher resolution image than your monitor is capable of displaying, play the video using VLC and use it’s snapshot feature.

        Lesson to be learned: just use the tool, that does the job best.

      4. Anonymous said on July 5, 2024 at 4:56 pm
        Reply

        Yes this does work and no it does not include YT controls.

        Note I’m only talking about Firefox, god knows how chromium based browsers work.

      5. Anonymous said on July 5, 2024 at 11:09 pm
        Reply

        Yes I know my son … and now I’ll share my heavenly knowledge with you:
        chromium-based browsers work because of black magic (and it involves sacrificing cat images on the internet .. I’ll spare you the dar details).
        In contrast Microsoft browsers (pre-chromium), do not work at all, because they are based on kaput magic (and involves praying to videos of dancing monkey boys).

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