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Great tool for downloading from Youtube, and elsewhere.

It's currently unmaintained, so I've switched to a fork called Yt-dlp to get around slow speeds downloading from Youtube.

Useful Arguments

-F List available formats for the video.
-f [code] Format, I usually go with best.
-i Ignore errors. Sometimes comes in handy when trivial errors are holding things up.
-o Lets you set a template to format the filenames of the output.
-v Verbose process info. Good if something's going wrong.
-w Don't overwrite files.


You can put any argument in the file ~/.config/youtube-dl/config, and it will add them any time it runs.

So it's an easy way to specify a common download location and naming template, for example.

Mine just looks like this:

#	Output template
--output ~/Downloads/%(title)s-%(id)s.%(ext)s



YTDL will automatically grab the best-quality version, so often youtube-dl [url] is sufficient.

Getting Audio from Videos

Good for getting music on there, though if you can find it somewhere else in a not-video format it'll probably be better quality? Still, this comes in really handy when you just want to share a song or something.

  1. youtube-dl -F [url] to list formats, then
  2. youtube-dl -f [number] [url] to download selected.
    • OR youtube-dl --audio-format best -x will just grab the best quality one.
    • Either option'll be a silly format like .m4a or .opus, so if you want to convert it to .mp3 or .ogg (for example) use FFmpeg
      ffmpeg -i [filename.m4a] [filename.mp3|ogg]


You can grab all the videos from a channel too!

youtube-dl [url]

So just like normal, but you add the channel's URL instead of the video's.


youtube-dl.txt · Last modified: 2022/08/02 17:36 by rjt