How To Make & Manage Music Playlists For VLC Media Player


One of my favourite software apps
by far is VLC Media Player. I love how it plays anything you throw at it and I
particularly like its playlist features too.

If you’re in the flow, work-wise,
there’s nothing worse than having to stop all the time to start a new MP3 album
or one single new song. It is much nicer to be able to preload several albums
into VLC Player all at the same time and let it do its thing.

Today we will look at how to set up
and manage those playlists.

Opening Up VLC

When you open up VLC Player for the
first time, you will see an empty playlist like this.

If you don’t, go to View and either choose Playlist or Docked Playlist. You should now see the playlist view.

As it says in the main window, the
first option is to either drag a media file or folder into the window. This
will take the media files and load them in sequential order.

Yes I like the Backstreet Boys.
Don’t judge me.

Alternatively, you can look at the
options on the left to find media to play. Either media on your computer or
internet media such as podcasts and radio.

There actually is a third way of
loading tracks (but only in Windows). When you install VLC Player, you will get
two new options in the right-click menu, as you can see below.

Choose one and the tracks you
highlighted will automatically get added to the VLC playlist.

The difference between the two is
that “Add to VLC media player’s Playlist
will add the tracks to the end of the playlist and will play when the previous
tracks are finished. “Play with VLC media
” on the other hand overwrites the rest of the playlist and plays the
highlighted tracks immediately.


Sometimes you will want to save
playlists if you have a sweet setup going and you don’t want to keep
reconstructing the same playlists over and over again.

To save your current playlist, just
go to Media–>Save Playlist To File.

By default, VLC Player will try and
save playlists as XSPF format. But I would suggest going instead with M3U
format instead.

Once you have given a name to your
M3U playlist and saved it to your computer, double-click on the playlist and it
will automatically load in VLC player and start playing.

But saved playlists also record the
location of those media files on your computer, as they are basically text
files with the location of each media file. So you can’t move the location of
those files on your computer, or expect that saved playlist to work on another
computer. Otherwise you will get error messages.

If you MUST move the music to
another location, you will need to make a new saved playlist again which points
to the new folder.

Shuffling and

Once you have your playlists all
set up, there’s nothing to stop you from shaking things up a bit and
introducing some randomness into your life.

First, the last three controls at
the bottom of the media player are to do with playlists.

From left to right :

  • The
    first is to toggle the playlist on and off.
  • The
    second is to loop the playlist, so when it is finished, it starts again.
  • The
    third is for VLC Player to randomly choose the next song from the playlist.

If you right-click on a song, the
context menu will also give you sorting options.


Playlists are actually a rather
overlooked feature in many media players. People are content to load one song
or one album at a time, when there is absolutely no need to do it piecemeal
like that.