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How to remember the playback position in VLC Player - fixedByVonnie

How to remember the playback position in VLC Player

I love VLC Player.

It doesn’t sully my playback experience with silly plugins.  On the contrary, it plays almost any video format I can throw at it and is chock-full with options.

I rhapsodized about VLC Player in a previous post but there still one little thing that wants to curtail my gushing…

Most video players automatically save and restore the position of the last played meda file.  In other words, the player will remember the playback position; usually saving it on exit.

But VLC Player fails here.

The current version of VLC Player is version 2.1.5, but it still doesn’t allow you save the playback position.

So what’s the workaround?  Is there a workaround?

A quasi-solution

Yes, there is a workaround but my answer is qualified. (meaning it has a proviso attached)

If you’re running VLC Player version 2.0 or 2.1, you can install a VLC Plugin called srpos that adds a new “Save/restore position of the last played files” option in Preferences under Interface.

There’s also a different extension called Remember position which accomplishes the same feat; however, it’s beleaguered by the same problem as it peer: you need to be on an antiquated VLC version.

The obvious problem with this, of course, is that you’re fettered to version 2.0 and 2.1.  Now there may be a few folks out there who revere those versions; however, it’s always best to run the latest because of the preponderance of bug fixes and other enhancements.

A better way

You can circumvent the problem with a little workaround that involves Playback bookmarks.

Just as a browser bookmark saves the location of a web site, a playback bookmark saves the time location of your video or audio file.

I currently don’t know of a way to automate this but you can use keyboard shortcuts so the problem isn’t so egregious.

Just open a video or audio file in VLC Player and while it’s playing press Ctrl + b to open the Custom Bookmark manager.

VLC Player Custom Bookmarks

Click Create then Close and the current position is saved.

VLC Player Edit Bookmarks

You can retrieve the playlist position by pressing Alt + l + b (that’s an “L”) and using the arrow keys to find load your save point.

The Bottom Line

Remembering the file position in VLC Player has actually been an enhancement request that dates back three years.  But I think the widespread desire for a “Save playback position” feature is an augury that it will eventually make it’s way to the final product build.

We just need to wait!


If you can’t wait, either downgrade and use the srpos extension or embrace custom bookmarks.

If both options are unacceptable, you can ditch VLC Player and use SMPlayer which offers native support for remembering playback positions.

Like VLC Player, SMPlayer supports numerous file formats; however, in my opinion, the user interface isn’t commensurate with VLC Player but then again – that’s just a peccadillo.

Playing with SMPlayer

Here you can see it playing a video I captured while visiting Wengen, Switzerland with my wife.  We rented a villa and this was our backyard.

Incidentally, the above image captures the unadulterated, bucolic splendor of Wengen.  Pastoral cabins really line verdant hills and alpine white mountains stretch into the clouds.  It’s a beautiful place.

If you ever get the chance, visit Wengen! The memories… I want to go back so bad.

Anyway, enough of that, what do you guys think about remembering playback in VLC Player?  Have you found any workarounds of your own?  Share the gold in the comments!


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Posted in Windows, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 Tagged with: ,
  • Eric Hepperle

    Hi Vonnie,

    I really enjoyed you post and found it helpful, though I still am not able to get VLC to save any kind of bookmarks. But your SMPlayer recommendation is one I think I’ll look into. That Swiss vista is gorgeous! Cheers.

    • Mark Soulsby

      After you save the bookmark, choose “save playlist to file” (ctrl+Y). If you open this playlist file, your bookmark(s) will be retained.

      Hope this helps.

      • Guest

        This doesn’t work for me. I saved the bookmark and it’s there. If I close VLC it’s gone, even if I saved the playlist to file.

      • This doesn’t work for me. Also, there is no “save” option, there is create, delete, close, and clear. But no “save”.

  • Pingback: How to remember the playback position in VLC Player | fixedByVonnie | Wow, I Didn't Know That!()

  • Michael Ruprecht

    Helpful tutorial. Thanks!

  • ThePar

    Or you can just get the VLC addon to resume playback positions..it’s called “Resume Media V3” on addons.videolan.org….doesn’t get any easier than that.

    • David Spector

      “doesn’t get any easier than that.”

      It isn’t easy at all, and it doesn’t really work.

      * Installation, after download, requires several steps of directory creation and file moving.

      * This addon sometimes crashes VLC so the user must force-close it. This problem is reported in the product forum and acknowledged by the creator, who doesn’t know how to fix it.

      * Since the addon must be manually activated before it will work, double-clicking on a file always starts running it at the beginning.

      So, for me and maybe most users, the addon just does not work.

      I’m going back to writing the current playback position in a file, then on reload doing a manual reposition. Argh!

      The proper fix cannot be done in a LUA addon, but requires fixing VLC itself. Sometimes product authors have a blind spot, and this seems to be the case here. VLC will probably never have an automatic save and restore of the current file positions. Too bad, because VLC is reliable, customizable, and functional in all other ways.

  • Martin

    If you dont mind a using a Beta release the new VLC v3 nightly builds have a resume function. Works a treat 🙂 http://nightlies.videolan.org/

    • Jim

      Hey Martin… where’s that function located at? I’ve downloaded the latest and been looking for that function like crazy and can’t find it anywhere.

      • Martin

        Hi Jim, Go to VLC > Preferences > Interface tab and just over half way down see Continue Playback > Set to Always. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f033c3a6ff57fe045d7158e019dd52b3f93f8490b3479079d3929e57b0f2d348.png

        • Jim

          Nice… but which version exactly do you have? Here’s the one I have currently…

          • Jim

            And here’s what my screen looks like…

          • Jim

            Oh, and I’m using the 64bit version. Is that the same you’re using?

          • Martin

            Hi Jim, Sorry I should have mentioned. I’m using the Apple OSX version. I would expect the windows version has the same feature (it usually has more). You are using the latest Beta version?

          • Marshall Eubanks

            You’re half right. The difference is simply that this feature is, and has been for some time, available in regular (non-beta) Mac versions of VLC for some times. It’s still missing on Windows. Not sure why.

  • babylongreece

    “”This eBook has already been downloaded thousands of times (not an exaggeration) and there’s a reason for that: it’s awesome. (sorry had to brag a little). I also threw in 2 bonus sections. Don’t wait any longer: get my Google Chrome eBook now before I take it down…””

    Already it still up. When will it be taken down. “This eBook has already been downloaded thousands of times (not an exaggeration)”

  • David Spector

    I’m currently evaluating SMPlayer for my use. It seems as reliable as VLC, but also remembers how and at what position you were playing a video or playlist when SMPlayer last closed. I like it a lot. It is easy to make the keyboard and mouse do what you want in SMPlayer. It includes an addon to browse YouTube videos using the same great interface. SMPlayer is to VLC what VLC is to Windows Media Player.

  • Koyangi

    AAHHH, THANK YOU so much, I had all but completely forgotten about SMPlayer! I used to love it because I could take frame by frame screenshots for gifs and when I had switched to a new laptop after a year of having no computer at all, I forgot what the program was called. Now that I’ve gotten into listening to audiobooks I’ve searched high and low for a player that could remember where I’d left off.

  • Koyangi

    Thank you so much for reminding me of SMPlayer, I’ve been looking high and low for a program that could play my audiobooks and remember where I left off!

  • Rob Jewitt

    Is this a Windows thing? It does remember positions on the Mac build and I was a bit alarmed when I tried it to no avail on a new a Windows 10 pc

    • LethalLunatic

      It will remember the “position” after you open the video file. but tere is already a resume feature mechanism in VLC so this is pretty useless imho.

  • Дайана Жан Павлова

    I’d just like to mention that I had to read this post alongside a dictionary. And I’ve majored English philology. So many words you use I’ve never heard before. It’s uncanny!

  • rimkashox

    Use Kodi my friends, it was designed for exactly this kind of coolness.

  • Matt321

    Still nothing. VideoLan join the ranks of developers who are too far up their a** to ever make sensible and trivially simple changes, additions or improvements – but will quite probably eventually do some pointless changes to remove functionality to save a few pixels on the border or whatever, or turn the whole image into coded shortcuts (which is so much simpler of course, accidentally like a crappy version of a book)…