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VLC User Guide

Quick Start Guide
Installing VLC
Open Media
Video and Audio Filters
Uninstalling VLC
Advanced usage
Using VLC inside a webpage
Command line
Alternative Interfaces

Building Pages for the HTTP Interface
Format String
Building Lua Playlist Scripts
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General Interface Description

VLC has several interfaces:

  • A cross-platform interface for Windows and GNU/Linux, which is called Qt.
  • A native Mac OS X interface.
  • An interface that supports skins for both Windows and GNU/Linux.

The operation of VLC is essentially the same in all the interfaces.

Windows and GNU/Linux (Qt)

The screenshot below shows the default interface in VLC 2.0. More features can be displayed by selecting them in the View menu.


See also VLC Interface 2.0 on Windows 7

Mac OS X

This screenshot shows the default interface that VLC had on Mac OS X until version 1.1:

Default Interface Mac.PNG

Since version 2.0 the interface has been redesigned. See OSX 2.0 interface.

Starting VLC Media Player in Windows

In Windows XP: Click Start -> Programs -> VideoLAN -> VLC media player.

In Windows 7: Click Start -> All Programs -> VideoLAN -> VLC media player.

VLC is shown on the screen and a small icon LargeVLC.png is shown in the system tray.

Stopping VLC Media Player

There are three ways to quit VLC:

  • Right click the VLC icon (LargeVLC.png) in the tray and select Quit (Alt-F4).
  • Click the Close button in the main interface of the application.
  • In the Media menu, select Quit (Ctrl-Q).

Basic interface quit.png

Notification Area Icon LargeVLC.png

Clicking this icon shows or hides the VLC interface. Hiding VLC does not exit the application. VLC keeps running in the background when it is hidden. Right clicking the icon in the notification area shows a menu with basic operations, such as opening, playing, stopping, or changing a media file.

Main Interface

The main interface has the following areas:

  • Menu bar.
  • Track slider - The track slider is below the menu bar. It shows the playing progress of the media file. You can drag the track slider left to rewind or right to forward the track being played. When a video file is played, the video is shown between the menu bar and the track slider.
    Note: When a media file is streamed, the track slider does not move because VLC cannot know the total duration.
  • Control Buttons - The buttons below the track slider cover all the basic playback features.


Click here to view an explanation of every menu item.


Opening media

See Documentation:Play HowTo/Basic Use 0.9/Opening modes

Streaming Media Files

Streaming is a method of delivering audio or video content across a network without the need to download the media file before it is played. You can view or listen to the content as it arrives. It has the advantage that you don't need to wait for large media files to finish downloading before playing them.

VideoLan is designed to stream MPEG videos on high bandwidth networks. VLC can be used as a server to stream MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 files, DVDs and live videos on the network in unicast or multicast. Unicast is a process where media files are sent to a single system through the network. Multicast is a process where media files are sent to multiple systems through the network.

VLC is also used as a client to receive, decode and display MPEG streams. MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 streams received from the network or an external device can be sent to one machine or a group of machines.


To stream a file:

  1. From the Media menu, select Open Network Stream. The Open Media dialog box loads with the Network tab selected.
  2. In the Please enter a network URL text box, Type the network URL.
  3. Click Play.

Note: When VLC plays a stream, the track slider shows the progress of the playback.

For more information, refer to Documentation:Streaming HowTo/Receive and Save a Stream

Vlc network stream.PNG

Converting and Saving a Media File Format

VLC can convert media files from one format to another.

To convert a media file:

  1. From the Media menu, select Convert/Save. The Open media dialog window appears.
  2. Click Add.... A file selection dialog window appears.
  3. Select the file you want to convert and click Open. The Convert dialog window appears.
  4. In the Destination file text box, indicate the path and file name where you want to store the converted file.
  5. From the Profile drop-down, select a conversion profile.
  6. Click Start.

Basic interface convert.png

This page is part of official VLC media player Documentation (User GuideStreaming HowToHacker GuideModules)
Please read the Documentation Editing Guidelines before you edit the documentation
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.