In a nutshell

  • YouTube launched a section called YouTube Shorts to compete with Reels, Stories and TikTok
  • You can create your own Short vertical videos in the app up to 60 seconds long
  • They’ve included lots of intuitive tools and features for design and editing

The race between video platforms rages on across the internet. The current sprint revolves around short-form videos. Instagram and Facebook Reels, Snapchat Stories and TikTok have been vying for your attention. The videos are so short; how can you even resist? After beta testing in India and the US, YouTube officially launched its own contender: YouTube Shorts. 

YouTube Shorts are user-generated vertical (portrait view) videos that are less than 60 seconds in duration. Using your smartphone, you can capture a video about whatever you want. Then, with the YouTube tools provided, edit the video to add music, captions, filters and other effects. Once you’re happy with the result, upload it directly in the app and voila! Watch the views stack up.

Create your own YouTube Short

First, you’ll need to have the YouTube app downloaded on your smartphone and be logged into your account. Then, follow these steps:

  1. Open the YouTube app
  2. Tap the + icon on the homepage
  3. Select the option for Create a Short. Be sure to allow access to your phone’s camera/audio
  4. Select the settings and modes you want
  5. Tap the number directly above the red circle button to toggle between 15 and 60 seconds
    • Use the options bar on the right for:
    • Flip: for camera or selfie mode
    • Speed: to speed up or slow down the video capture
    • Timer: allows you to set up to autostart recording
    • Circles: gives you options for filters
    • Wand: adds photo retouching
    • Person: allows you to change the background
    • Ghost: creates alignment for smoother transitions between clips
    • Flash: turns the camera flash on or off
    • Use your camera in the vertical position only
  6. Begin recording by tapping the red circle
  7. Tap the red square to stop recording
  8. When you’re finished recording, tap the white checkmark button
  9. Design and edit your video (see more in sections below)
  10. Add details and caption for your video (see more below)
  11. When you’re satisfied, tap the blue finish button, Upload Short

Editing and polishing within the app

Once you’ve finished recording and confirmed with the checkmark button, you’ll have plenty of options for customizing your new Short. Here are some of the features you’ll find to help you polish and finalize your content.


After all of the frustrations YouTubers face related to copyright infringements for music use in videos, we’re grateful for this option. When you tap into the Sound section, you’ll find a massive library of music clips to choose from. Songs are categorized by genre. You can browse the collections or search for specific titles. If you want to save some songs for later, add them to the Favorites tab. 

Text and Timeline

In the Text section, you can adjust the size, color, font and placement of words that overlay your video. Use this to add context, reaction or information for the audience’s benefit. Once you’ve created texts, tap into the Timeline section to customize further. This allows you to choose the exact moment your messages appear and disappear during the Short.


Although there are filter options for the video creation, you’ll find filters in the edit area as well. Choose just the perfect lighting or hue filter to give it the perfectly polished ⁠— or deliberately unpolished ⁠— look you’re trying to capture.

Add details

When you’ve completed the edits, tap the NEXT button at the top of the screen. This will land you into the final set of options. Add a caption and change the account you’re posting from ⁠— if needed. The Visibility options include making your video public or not. It also has options for scheduling exactly when your video goes live. Use the Select Audience option to add age restrictions for your Short and designate whether it’s intended for adults or children.

Can you create Shorts on a desktop?

The overall concept is intended for native uploads in the app, as described above. However, you can capture video with your phone or other cameras and turn it into a Short from your computer. It’s a more involved process, but there are definitely some good reasons why you might want to do this. For example, if your content is more professional, you may need to do professional-level editing on a desktop before uploading it to YouTube. After that, the process is fairly similar to uploading long-form videos. You can find a good step-by-step guide from Drost Video (97k subscribers) to help take the guesswork out of it.

Keep it short

While YouTube may be a little late to join the short-form video race, it’s clear that they’ve been watching and learning as TikTok, Reels and Stories have developed. They can emulate what works, skip what doesn’t work and add new concepts where they choose. For example, YouTube Shorts has set up a designated fund, similar to TikTok’s creator fund. They use this money to compensate and encourage creators. They’ve also designed a music library to help curb copyright infringements — and the costs of managing that. Recently, YouTube added a new feature that allows users to splice in clips from existing long-form videos. Unlike videos on some other platforms, your Shorts won’t disappear.