How to add or change a thumbnail on a YouTube video

Updated: 08/31/2020 by Computer Hope
YouTube

Adding a thumbnail to a video allows other users to get a quick understanding about the video. To add a thumbnail to your YouTube video, choose one of the options below, and then follow the instructions.

Create a thumbnail using a YouTube suggestion

By default, when you upload a video to YouTube, three animated thumbnails are generated, each of which contains some part of your video. To use one of these options, or change an existing selection, follow the steps below.

  1. Go to the YouTube website, and click YouTube sign in in the upper-right corner (if you're not already signed in to your YouTube account).
  2. In the upper-right corner of the screen, click your profile image.

YouTube profile icon

  1. In the menu, click YouTube Studio.

YouTube Studio selector

  1. On the left side of the screen, click the Videos tab.

YouTube Studio Videos selector.

  1. Locate the video you'd like to add a thumbnail, and click it.
  2. Make sure that the Details tab on the left side of the screen is selected.

Details selector

  1. In the center of the next page, you'll see three small screens. Each has a small clip from your video that can be used as an animated thumbnail.

YouTube thumbnail select.

  1. After you've made your selection, click the YouTube save changes button. button located in the upper-right corner of the window.

Create a custom thumbnail

If you're not interested in using one of the three-second GIF thumbnails that are automatically created by YouTube, you can create a custom one.

  1. Go to the YouTube website, and click YouTube sign in in the upper-right corner (if you're not already signed in to your YouTube account).
  2. In the upper-right corner of the screen, click your profile image.

YouTube profile icon

  1. In the menu, click YouTube Studio.

YouTube Studio selector

  1. On the left side of the screen, click the Videos tab.

YouTube Studio Videos selector.

  1. Locate the video you'd like to add a thumbnail, and click it.
  2. Make sure that the Details tab on the left side of the screen is selected.

Details selector

  1. In the center of the next page, you'll see three small screens. Click the "Upload thumbnail" box to the left of them.

Upload thumbnail selector

  1. Browse to the photo you'd like to use, then click Open.
  2. Verify your new image or GIF is selected, and click the Save changes button on YouTube. button located in the upper-right corner.