Add a Download Button to YouTube

UPDATE (10-30-2015): Sadly, malware has been added to this extension. Know that if you install it, you will begin to see Offers4U pop up at the bottom of many webpages. So, while I will leave this post up for now, understand that is this price you will pay for the convenience.

You can use websites like KeepVid or SaveFrom to download videos from YouTube and other video sites. You can even add a bookmarklet for some of those websites to your web browser.

I recently installed a download button extension for SaveFrom to my Google Chrome and am finding it very convenient so I thought I would share the steps here.

WARNING: This does require installing an extension from a location outside of the Chrome Web Store so if you aren’t willing to take that risk, this is not for you. I take no responsibility for anything that may happen to your computer by installing this extension. All I can say is that I installed it and my Mac has had no problems. I have NOT tested this on a Chromebook or the Windows OS.

Step 1: Get the extension file. 

Go to and click the INSTALL button. This is going to (eventually) download a file to your computer that you will manually install.

Step 1 part 1

You will get an ominous warning screen. Take it seriously when Chrome gives you this. Sometimes it doesn’t let you bypass the warning but here it does. Click on the link labeled “Details” and you will see the screen below. Click the “visit this site” link and then close the warning at the top of the screen.

Step 1 part 2

If this warning opened up in a new tab for you, you can now just close the tab. If not, you may need to reload the page again and may need to click the “Install” button again as well.

At some point you will see a screen like this one. It shows the steps for installing (which I’m going to explain next) and you can see the file has been downloaded to  my computer.

Step 1 part 3

Step 2: Manually install the extension.

Open up the “Customize” icon and choose Tools > Extensions.

Step 2 part 1

This process requires that Google Chrome be in Developer Mode. To turn on Developer Mode, look to the top right of the Extensions page to see a check box labeled “Developer mode.” If it is not already checked, click the box to set Chrome in Developer Mode.

developer mode

Open up a window on your computer and find the downloaded file. As of the writing of this post, the file is called “helper_last.crx”.

To install the extension, drag the CRX file onto the Extensions window and release.

Step 2 part 2

An alert window will drop down. Click the “Add” button.

Step 2 part 3

You should now see a message that the installation was successful.

Step 2 part 4

Step 3: Adjust extension options.

Find the extension on the Extensions page and click the “Options” link.

step 3

Here you can modify which sites have access to the extension. You could leave the default settings but I don’t use some of these sites and the least amount of access I give an independent extension, the better (IMHO).

Here are the preference options I currently have set.

Step 3 part 2

Step 4: Test the extension.

Go to a website you have given access to the extension. In my case, that would either be YouTube or Vimeo.

Want to find legal downloads on YouTube? Here is a video explaining how to find Creative Commons videos on YouTube.

Need one? Try this video by the talented Kyle Pearce: Solving Linear Equations Visually.

You should now see a green download button under the video. To the right of the download button is a small drop-down menu which allows you to select a different quality for downloading (the higher the number, the better the quality).

Step 4

Why download videos?

There could be any number of reason you may choose to download a video but here are some.

  • YouTube is blocked at school and you want to show a video to your students.
  • You only want to use a portion of the video or want to combine multiple videos.
  • Try removing the audio from the video and have your students create their own narration.

Looking for more ideas for original video projects? Check out some of these links:


One Response to Add a Download Button to YouTube

  1. Would downloading a video from YouTube be considered a violation of the content creators rights? I know of no way content creators can control downloads of their work. There is a creative commons license option available, but I would not think the “standard” YouTube license would authorize downloads.

Leave a reply