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Video Speed Buttons

Add speed buttons to any HTML5 <video> element. Comes with a loader for YouTube and Vimeo

Braden Best
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Video Speed Buttons

By Braden Best

Gitlab repo

Video Speed Buttons (VSB) is a userscript I wrote and used to gain finer controls on video playback speed. It is generalized to work with basically any video site.

By default, it comes with 9 buttons

  • 25%
  • 50%
  • Normal (default)
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
  • 3x
  • 4x
  • 8x
  • 16x

Note that 8x and 16x generally only work in Chrome and chrome-like browsers, since its renderer caps speed at 16x. Browsers like Firefox, on the other hand, cap it at 5x. Setting a video to play at 8x in Firefox thus results in a real playback rate of 5x.

The code is written to be as easy as possible to tweak. All of the default values are plainly laid out at the top.

What does it do?

VSB defines a function video_speed_buttons(anchor, video) and video_speed_buttons.from_query(anchor, video), which both take an anchor (the insertion point) and a video (the video element that the buttons control), and returns an object containing references to the internals.

The difference between video_speed_buttons and video_speed_buttons.from_query is that the latter takes CSS selector strings like "div.info_header#container", and will do the lookup for you.

let vsb_handle = video_speed_buttons(document.querySelector(".watch_header"), document.querySelector("video"));
// is equivalent to...
let vsb_handle = video_speed_buttons.from_query(".watch_header", "video");

if video_speed_buttons receives "falsy" values (undefined, null, 0, "", false, etc.) (for example, video_speed_buttons.from_query("idontexist", "ialsodontexist")), the function returns null. This makes it easy to sanity check.

if(!(vsb_handle = video_speed_buttons(...)))
    console.error("Couldn't spawn speed buttons");

You can write your own loader, or use the provided loader, which tries a set of anchors for (currently) YouTube and Vimeo, and defaults to a floating box on the top right (looks really nice on urls).


You can simply click the buttons or use the keyboard.

The controls are, by default

-  Speed Down
+  Speed Up
?  Show Help

They can easily be configured by modifying const keyboard_controls near the top of the video_speed_buttons function.

    ["X", "Prints Gibberish", function(unused){

Pressing Shift + X (capital X) would log "asdf" to the console. Pressing ? would show the following:

Keyboard Controls (click to close)
    [-]  Speed Down
    [+]  Speed Up
    [?]  Show Help
    [X]  Prints Gibberish

NB: unused here is an event object. You'll notice it's used in the current controls to prevent pressing those keys while writing a comment from making those actions happen. So when you type a very confused comment asking a lot of questions, you don't have to scroll through a jungle of help boxes.

Adding more buttons

Pretty much everything can be configured without having to know much JavaScript (just follow the patterns), but I feel like adding another example.

Say you want a 2.5x button. All you have to do is find const BUTTON_TEMPLATES and add your entry where you want it:

["2x",   2],
["2.5x", 2.5],
["3x",   3],

Couldn't be simpler.


A function kill is provided as part of the API returned by video_speed_buttons. The function is never used. Calling it vsb_handle.kill() removes the buttons from the page and the keyboard listener from the event queue.

Unexpected stuff

Did you know that these buttons also apparently control YouTube ads? That's right, when your adblocker fails to catch it, you can just blow through those pesky unskippable ads at 16x speed. Pretty cool!


To report bugs/issues, suggest improvements or request features, you may want to additionally submit an issue on the repo. Doing that should trigger GitLab sending me an email, so that I'll be more likely to see it and get back to you.

I've provided some tags to help with categorization:

  • Bug
  • Feature Request
  • Improvement
  • Question

Forks / "mods"

Some people have made forks of this which add interesting features. I won't merge every fork, but that doesn't mean they lack merit. I will list those here, and you should check them out!

  • Falthazar: adds brightness and seek buttons.