How To

VLC: All you can do besides play videos

Patrick Devaney

Patrick Devaney


VLC Media Player by VideoLAN is an absolute behemoth open-source digital media and video player. It is quite comfortably able to play almost all types of codecs, file formats, and media from MP3 files to MP4 and a whole host of other video format playlists. This is the thing though, whereas it is definitely important for a media player to be able to play video file types like MKV, MOV, and AVI; VLC Media Player can actually do so much more.

That’s why we’ve decided to put together a list of the 5 best hidden features of VLC. After reading our guide not only will you know about the best VLC features, you’ll also know how to use them. Let’s get started:

VLC media player download free ►

5 of the best hidden VLC tricks and features

How to use VLC to convert audio and video files

VLC Player offers a very competent option for anybody who needs to convert a media file from one format to another. If you’ve VLC Player installed on your Windows PC or Mac, you won’t need to purchase, download, or install any third-party software so that you can convert your media files. It doesn’t even require a special plugin. No more searching for solutions on Google, this is how to convert video.

VLC media menu

First you need to open VLC, then click on the Media dropdown menu, and finally hit Convert/Save. You’ll then need to select the videos or audio files you want to convert using the Add button. Then in the Destination file box put the folder you want your converted files to save to and what you want the files to be called. After that you choose the VLC file type by clicking on the spanner button and selecting from the dropdown menu. Once you’ve followed the above instructions all you need to do is hit the Start button to begin. There are also some advanced features you can take advantage of, and you can find out all about the advanced VLC file conversion features here.

How to use VLC to record video and audio

If you have a Windows 10 PC or a Mac, you will have a native camera app and sound recorder for taking photos and videos using your webcam and recording sounds using your microphone. That’s all well and good but you can do both on just one app; VLC. Furthermore, as we’ve just seen, VLC can also convert audio and video files easily meaning you can quickly and simply take your recordings and convert them into any video output or file type. These will then be good for use on all your devices from Android smartphones and tablets to Apple iPhones and iPods.

Advanced controls on VLC

To record audio on VLC you need to activate Advanced Controls by clicking View in the top menu and then selecting Advanced Controls. This will display new controls in the bottom-left of VLC above the play button. To start recording sound all you need to do is press the Record button. To stop recording and save your file, simply press the Record button again.

Open Media on VLC

To record video on VLC using your webcam you need to go to Media then Open Capture Device. You now need to set Capture Mode to Direct Show and you’ll need to select your webcam from the options in the Video device name menu. If you want to record sound with your video, you’ll need to select your microphone from the Audio device name menu.

How to use VLC to record your desktop

Screenshots are an important part of the modern digital life we’re all living. Yes, you guessed it VLC does screenshots too, but we’ll get to that in a minute. VLC also offers the chance to record everything that is happening on your desktop rather than simply catching an instant.

Record desktop on VLC

To record your desktop open VLC, hit Media in the top menu and then click Open Capture Device. You now need to change the Capture mode setting to Desktop and then select the framerate you want for your recording.  After that hit Convert so that you can select the file type your recording will save as and hit Start to begin. When you’re done recording your desktop hit Stop to save it.

How to screenshot on VLC

There are two ways to snap screenshots of videos using VLC. The first is to right-click and then select Video in the dropdown menu and select Take Snapshot. The other way to take a screenshot using VLC is to use the keyboard shortcut. On Windows or Linux press Shift + S and on Mac OS press CMD + ALT + S.

How to use VLC to rip DVDs onto your PC

DVDs used to be everything. When they first replaced VHS tapes their superior quality and sleek smaller form factor made them perfect for collections. If you’ve a huge DVD collection and want to save the movies and shows on your PC in case something happens to them or just because you never watch DVDs anymore, VLC can help you out.

Rip DVD on VLC

To rip a DVD using VLC insert the disc and then go to Media and then hit Convert/Save. Open the Disc tab and then choose the type of disc you’re ripping, which in this case is DVD. After that, check the No disc menus button and choose the desired Disc device where you want to save your DVD. Then hit the Convert/Save button and choose the file type you want to save your DVD as and then hit Start to begin the process.

Wrapping up

So, there you have five hidden VLC features that go beyond just playing media files. Now you know how to take advantage of some of the best VLC features. If you’d like to know more cool hidden VLC features, you’ll be glad to know that we’ve put together another guide to some of the best hidden VLC features, which you can read here. This guide includes how to listen to internet radio and podcasts using VLC and even gets into video effects.

VLC isn’t just great because it is a free open-source piece of software. It puts a lot of very powerful tools at your fingertips. We hope you enjoy using the tools we’ve highlighted in this guide.

Patrick Devaney

Patrick Devaney

Patrick Devaney is a news reporter for Softonic, keeping readers up to date on everything affecting their favorite apps and programs. His beat includes social media apps and sites like Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, YouTube, and Snapchat. Patrick also covers antivirus and security issues, web browsers, the full Google suite of apps and programs, and operating systems like Windows, iOS, and Android.

You may also like

  1. Updating Your VLC Media Player in 2 Fast Methods

    Updating Your VLC Media Player in 2 Fast Methods

    Read more
  2. Recording With VLC Media Player in 9 Easy Steps

    Recording With VLC Media Player in 9 Easy Steps

    Read more
  3. How to Make VLC Media Player Default in 2 Easy Ways

    How to Make VLC Media Player Default in 2 Easy Ways

    Read more