I'm trying to transcribe a video in Irish Sign Language. That means lots of pausing and playing, and frequently jumping back five seconds. Using the mouse to achieve this is a complete and utter pain. Unfortunately, I'm using the school's Mac computers, which have QuickTime only.

VLC Media Player on Windows or Ubuntu will take the space bar to pause or play, and the left arrow key to jump back a bit. Can I do anything similar with QuickTime?


1 Answer 1


Yes, there are certainly ways of achieving this result on QuickTime Player. Here are two ways:

  1. You can use the spacebar to play/pause the video as long as your
    active (front) window is QuickTime Player and not another software, perhaps the one that you use to transcribe.
  2. If you use the left and right arrow keys, you can jump backward and forwards a frame - keep it pressed to speed things up. When used in combination with the Command Key, you can achieve x2 speed rewind/forward, then hit the spacebar to stop at the desired point in the video.

I have to admit that this method requires a little bit of fast keyboard action (compared to other apps) but that is something one can get used to. There is a full list of shortcuts that you can look at in case there is anything else you might find useful. Perhaps slowing the video down is an option.
Anyway, let me know how you make out.

  • I'm actually transcribing with pen and paper. Thank you for this. I'll double-check next time I'm in the computer lab (my home computing is done on Ubuntu).
    – TRiG
    Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 21:34
  • @TimothyGreen What's the latest? Were you able to test this out or is there anything you would like me to clarify?
    – ProGrammer
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 8:51
  • 1
    The videos are made accessible through a website. They play in Safari. Downloading them results in something that Quick Time cannot play (even when I make Safari save it as a video file instead of its preferred bizarre webarchive format). I've started using VLC on my own laptop instead. I find Apple quite user-hostile much of the time.
    – TRiG
    Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 11:06
  • 2
    Update: I've managed to download the videos such that they play in QuickTime, not Safari. It now works. A three-second jump-back would be preferable. The frame-by-frame jumps are okay in class, but forbidden in exam conditions, as we're not allowed to use slow-speed to help us catch signs we missed.
    – TRiG
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 9:57

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