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Trim, Cut, or Split a Video the Quickest Way for Free

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With phones, DSLRs, and GoPros we’re all shooting more video than ever. But it rarely comes straight out of the camera in perfect shape.

Often you’ll need to do a little editing of a video before showing or sharing it. You might want to trim a few seconds off the start or end, or cut it so that it’s a more shareable length.

Fortunately, you don’t need any editing skills to do this. You just need the right software — and you’ve probably already got it installed on your computer.

So let’s take a look at the quickest way to trim videos in Windows, Mac, Linux, and in a web browser.

Trim Video in Windows

The quickest way to trim and cut videos in Windows 10 is to the use the built in Photos app.

Open your video to get started. You can do this either by launching Photos from the Start menu and navigating your way to where the clip is stored on your hard drive, or by right-clicking the file and selecting Open with > Photos.

A video in the Windows Photos app

When the video has opened click Edit & Create in the top right corner of the window then select Trim.

The video now reopens in Edit mode. On the timeline at the bottom there’s a blue handle that enables you to scroll through the video, plus two white dots that be used to set the start and end points for your newly trimmed clip.

Using handles to trim video in the Windows Photos app

First, drag the left dot towards the right until you reach the point where you want your video to start (everything to the left of this will be cut). Then drag the right dot leftwards to trim off the end of the video.

Hit the Play button to preview the changes, and tweak the positions of the white dots to fine-tune your edit. When you’re happy, hit Save as to save the edited version as a new file. By default, it’ll be saved with the same filename with the word “Trim” appended to it. This ensures you never overwrite the original file.

Saving a new trimmed video in Windows

And that’s it. You can split a longer video into two or more shorter clips using the same technique. Just repeat the process for each clip, setting different start and end points to isolate the sections you want to save.

If you need more advanced editing functions, use the Movie Maker app instead.

Trim Video on a Mac

On macOS you can trim video using QuickTime Player, which is pre-installed on all Macs.

Open the video. By default, supported video files open automatically in QuickTime Player. If yours doesn’t, right-click and select Open With > QuickTime Player, or drag the file onto the app icon in the Dock.

Editing a video in Quicktime Player on a Mac

Next, go to Edit > Trim. You’ll now see the trimming bar at the bottom of the window. Everything inside the yellow section is included in your trimmed video, while everything outside will be removed.

Grab the left handle and drag it to the right until you reach the point where you want your video to start. Then grab the right handle and drag it to the left. Hit the Play button to preview your selection, and tweak the handles if necessary.

Trimming a video in Quicktime Player on a Mac

When done, click Trim. The video will now be trimmed, and will open as a new untitled file. Go to File > Save to save the new, trimmed video.

For greater control over your editing, use iMovie. This is a free download for all Mac users.

Trim Video in Linux

If you’re on Linux, you’ll need to find a third party app to trim and split your videos. We recommend VidCutter, which we’ll be using in this guide on Ubuntu.

To begin, you’ll need to install VidCutter. How you do this depends on which Linux distro you’re using. Check out VidCutter on Github for full instructions for all main distros.

On Ubuntu, we install VidCutter through the Terminal app, starting with the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ozmartian/apps
sudo apt update

Finally, install the app:

sudo apt install vidcutter

To open your file either launch VidCutter and select Open Media, or navigate your way to where the video is stored on your computer. Right-click the file and select Open With > VidCutter.

Opening a video in VidCutter on Linux

When the video opens, locate the filmstrip at the bottom of the window. Drag the green handle to the point where you want your video to start. Click Start Clip to save that position.

A video in VidCutter on Linux

Next, drag the green handle to the point where you want your video to the end. Click End Clip to save this position. Now click Save Media to save a copy of your newly edited file.

Trimming a video in VidCutter on Linux

What’s good about VidCutter is that you can make multiple cuts to the same video all at once. If you want to remove something from the middle of a clip, set two start points and two end points either side of the unwanted portion. Clicking Save Media will then create a new video where the two sections you’ve selected are joined together.

If you want more control, check out our guide to the best Linux video editors.

Trim Videos Online

If you’re using a Chromebook, or just prefer to work in the browser on any machine, there are lots of options to trim videos online. We’re going to use ClipChamp. This service is good for editing up to five videos per month on a free account.

You need to sign up to get started. Fortunately this is painless, since you can log in straight away with your Google or Facebook accounts.

Loading a video into ClipChamp via the browser

Click Convert my video, or drag and drop your chosen clip into the browser window. ClipChamp also optimizes your videos for your target platform, but we need to focus on the trimming first.

In the right-hand pane, click Edit Video. A filmstrip appears below the video with two blue flags at either end. Grab these flags and drag them inwards to set new start and end points. Your selected area is shaded blue, and everything outside of this will be trimmed off.

Trimming a video in ClipChamp in the browser

There’s no need to confirm your edits at this stage, although you can undo them by clicking the X button alongside the Trim icon.

Now take a look at the optimization options in the left part of the screen. You can choose a platform you want to optimize for, such as web, mobile, or to create a GIF. You can also adjust the resolution, file format, and quality.

Optimizing a video in ClipChamp

When you’re happy with your choices, click Start in the bottom right corner. It will now start processing; the amount of time it takes depends on the size of the video.

Downloading the final trimmed video from ClipChamp

When it’s finished you have two options: Upload & Share and Save. The first enables you to post the video to various social media sites. The second lets you download and save a local copy of your edited file.

Next Steps

Trimming and splitting videos is easy no matter what platform you’re using. Once you’ve got to grips with it you might be interested in taking the next steps in video editing.

We’ve got lots of tips for making your videos better, and you can even explore editing videos on Android and iOS devices too.

Have you used any of these apps to trim your videos? Or do you use something else instead? Share your thoughts and comments below.

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