GitHub issues GitHub issues


The main goal of this guide to help me & others understand the fundamental skill of using this powerful tool. I think the official documentation is too big, and useful tips are hard to find (not really, but people are lazy).
I’m aware there’s few decent GUI version out there, but by using and learning CLI version gives more flexibility and new idea in my opinion.

By creating this guide, I hope I can master the program entirely, which is helpful to me if I want to contribute to the project someday.

Guide philosophy

  • This is not a wiki. I try to cover everything but also I won’t explain it all.
  • Documented in a newbie perspective.
  • I believe every person has different preferences.
  • Package Manager is a must.

Installing Youtube-dl & Ffmpeg

1. Run Windows PowerShell as Admin

Win + X ⭢ Windows PowerShell (Admin)

Hit Yes when User Account Control pop-up comes up.

2. Install chocolatey package manager

Copy & paste the following command into PowerShell:

Set-ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Scope Process -Force; iex ((New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString(''))

You can refer official install guide here.

3. Install youtube-dl & ffmpeg package

Enter this command into PowerShell:

choco install youtube-dl ffmpeg -y

4. Install aria2 package (Optional)

For faster dowload speeds, I recommend you install aria2 download accelerator.

choco install aria2 -y

Creating the configuration file

1. Navigate to User’s Folder

Win + R ⭢ Type %HomePath%Enter

2. Create youtube-dl.conf file

Create a new text file and rename it to youtube-dl.conf

Open youtube-dl.conf with Notepad and paste this code in it:

-o "C:\example\videos\%(upload_date)s-%(uploader)s_-_%(title)s.%(ext)s"
--external-downloader aria2c
--external-downloader-args "-j 12 -s 12 -x 12 -k 5M"

3. Change the download location

Notice that C:\example\videos\ in first line of code above, you can change it with your desired download location.



Now every videos/audio you downloaded wil be placed into this folder.

Downloading the video

Open Windows PowerShell and type this command:

youtube-dl video_url

Replace video_url to your youtube video links you want to download.



Youtube-dl will start download the video from the link you provide at the best quality available.

Selecting a different video quality

In addition to downloading the highest quality, you can show all available video formats by typing this command:

youtube-dl -F video_url

For example, you will get something like this:

Pay attention to numbers on the left, 18, 43, 18, and 43 are the ones with video and audio. Others are video and audio separately.

Example, to download this video in 720p just type:

youtube-dl -f 22

Selecting a specific video quality

If you want a very specific video & audio quality you have to combine two numbers together.

Example, to download a 480p 267kbps mp4 video (397) and 128kbps audio (140).

All you need to type is:

youtube-dl -f 397+140

Tips when selecting a specific video quality

For best results, you want to look for a video with av01 codec and mp4a.30.2 codec for audio as it offers the best video quality to file size ratio.

Downloading multiple videos from a list

You can create a text file with youtube video links (or any of the other 800+ supported sites), one line at a time using youtube-dl to download a multiple video without having to do it manually. Example:

youtube-dl -a "D:\download_list.txt"


  • FAQ section later.
  • Add my own video quality & size comparision into #tips-when-selection-a-specific-video-quality section
  • More configuration.
  • You tell me..