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How to use Chrome Picture-in-Picture mode for local videos

Chrome added a neat Picture-in-Picture mode in one of its recent updates. It’s supposed to work on any and all web based video players but for websites it doesn’t work on, Google has an extension you can install to fix the problem. The Chrome Picture-in-Picture mode is great because it allows you to drag a video player outside of Chrome and not many desktop video players let you do that. The good news is, you can use Chrome Picture-in-Picture mode for local videos as well.

Chrome Picture-in-Picture for local videos

Open File Explorer, or Finder if you’re on a Mac, and navigate to the local video you want to watch in Chrome.

What you need to do is copy the complete path to the video. On Windows 10, hold down the Shift key and right-click the video file. From the context menu, select Copy as path.

On macOS, navigate to the file in Finder and right-click it. Once the context menu appears, hold down the Option key and you will see an option to copy [File Name] as path. Select it to copy the file’s complete path to the clipboard.

Open a new Chrome tab and enter the file path in the URL bar. If you’re on Windows 10, the path will include double-quotes around it which you need to remove before you tap Enter.

When you tap Enter, the video will start playing automatically. At the bottom right of the video player, you will see a more options button. Click it and from the menu, select Picture-in-Picture.

As with web media players, you can drag the picture-in-picture player for the local video to any edge of the screen and you can resize it. It also has play/pause controls. If you close the PIP player, it will not close the tab that you had the video open it. The video will return to the tab but will not start playing in it automatically.

Limitations

While this is a neat trick, especially if you need a good app to play video that can be pinned to any part of your screen, it has its limitations. The obvious limitation is video formats. Chrome is a web browser, not a video player so while it may support common video formats like MP4 and MPEG, it may not necessarily support the more obscure ones.

When testing this out, Chrome managed to play an MKV video but this is a tricky format for most video players. If the video playback is choppy for this, or any other format, there’s little you can do about it other than to use a different app.

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