YouTube is a fantastic free video sharing platform used by over one billion people of all ages across the globe.

The service was founded in 2005 and has been owned by Google since 2006. Nowadays you can enjoy YouTube just about anywhere with an internet connection, whether it be on a PC, tablet, smartphone or even on your TV.

YouTube can be used to find videos of just about anything and it’s not confined to teens. While youngsters may watch Vloggers such as PewDiePie or funny videos, you can also find old movies such as 1964’s Becket, classic videos from British Pathé or amazing footage of World War II. Whether it’s a long-lost TV show or a recent music video, you can bet YouTube has it.

With an estimated 300 hours’ worth of videos uploaded to YouTube every minute, it can be hard to find what you want.

Watch the video above to get some handy tips on narrowing down your YouTube searches, and follow our beginner’s guide to getting around YouTube below:


YouTube video player basics

Tip 1: Know your buttons

The YouTube video player features controls you’ll be familiar with from your TV.

The first button on the left is a standard play / pause, followed by a skip button which will play the next similar video selected by YouTube. After that, you have a volume control, which you can hover over and slide across.


Tip 2: Use keyboard shortcuts

To save time there are some great shortcuts you can use with your keyboard instead, such as the spacebar to pause and play, as well as the arrow keys to jump forward or back.

Tip 3: Adjusting video settings

On the right side of the player there are three buttons.  The first cog icon opens up some settings:

Autoplay: If you don’t want another video to play automatically as soon as the current video is finished, untick it.

Annotations: Video uploaders can add annotations to their videos with extra information or links – if you don’t want to see them, you can switch them off by unticking here.

Speed: Want to see that winning goal from the 1966 World Cup Final in slow motion? Or perhaps have a laugh and speed things up? Click on speed to make your video play faster or slower.

Quality: As the name suggests, you can adjust the quality of the video here. YouTube will pick the best quality to suit your connection speed, but you can reduce it to make loading time faster, or increase it for a better viewing experience.


Tip 4: Cinema mode

The next icon allows you to set the video to cinema mode, which stretches the video (and might be useful if you are watching it on TV), while the final box puts the video in full screen.

Tip 5: Share your video

Below the video player you’ll see other details such as the video’s title, a description and the amount of times the video has been viewed.

The share button gives you the option to share the video with friends or family using Facebook, Twitter and many other social networks.


[Related story: How to upload your videos to YouTube]


Finding the video you want

With so many videos on YouTube your search results can be a bit crowded. There are some great options to narrow down your search.

Tip 1: Keywords in your search

In the search bar, use allintitle:”XX” replacing XX with the words you wish to search. This will use those exact words in the order you’ve written them. So if you only want a clip of David Beckham during his time with Manchester United, search allintitle:”David Beckham Manchester United”.


Tip 2: Omitting words from your search

You can also omit video results using certain words – so if you want to see David Beckham during his time with Manchester United but excluding any videos against Barcelona, search allintitle:”David Beckham Manchester United” –Barcelona.


Tip 3: Filter your searches

Filters allow you to narrow down your search further and can be found below the search box.

Clicking filters will expand a number of options including:

Upload date: This is useful if you know it’s a recent event, so you can limit videos to the last hour, today or this week. You can also limit it to this month or this year.

Type:  Although YouTube is video focused, you can also choose to search Channels – the page where people keep their videos – Playlists, Film or Programme.

Duration: If you know the length of the video you’re looking for, narrow down your search to only show videos shorter than 4 minutes or longer than 20 minutes.

Features: Choose special settings such as HD or subtitled videos if they are your preferred type of video.

- Sort by: YouTube will always search for videos according to relevance first, but you can set it to upload date, so that the most recent matching video is first; view count, so the most popular video matching your search appears;  or rating, which is according to how many people have liked it.


Tip 4: Check it’s verified

If you want content from official sources such as a broadcaster or company, a small, verified tick symbol will appear next to their name in the search.

This doesn’t mean other videos can’t be trusted, it just provides a greater level of reliability about the content.


Tip 5: Use the sections

If you’re looking for most recent and popular content according to category, you can use the channels found by clicking the three lines next to the YouTube logo at the top. You can explore everything from music and sport to news and even live events.


[Related story: 13 great YouTube tips and tricks]


Are you a frequent YouTube user? Let us know how you feel about it in the Comments section below.