I have downloaded youtube-dl and the video download is complete, but when I search for the video, I can't seem to find it.

Can anyone help?

  • Have you tried downloading the videos in the "/home/user/Videos" folder, I think dash can be configured to check it out. Maybe it won't appear in Dash until you actually play it once. – userDepth May 4 '16 at 1:15

There are really two questions here:

1. Why does youtube-dl not feature in Dash?

This is because youtube-dl is run from a Terminal window only and does not come with icons, desktop files and the like. It is simply run from any Terminal window as follows:

youtube-dl [options] url [url...]

Details of the command line options can be easily seen by running the following command:

youtube-dl -h

Experiment a little to make youtube-dl work as you wish.

2. Where does Youtube-dl download YouTube files?

By default youtube-dl will download the files in the current working directory of the Terminal that you have opened. Usually this is your $HOME environment, but not always. This behavior can be modified in either of two ways:

  1. Use the -o option with youtube-dl to manually give a location for the downloaded files:

    youtube-dl -o "~/Desktop/%(title)s.%(ext)s" 'youtube file url'

    and of course substitute your actual url for 'youtube file url'. This example sends the completed download to your Desktop.

  2. Create a configuration file for youtube-dl as follows:

    touch ~/.config/youtube-dl.conf

    Then set a default download location in this file:

    --output "~/Desktop/%(title)s.%(ext)s"

    With this in place all downloaded files will automatically go to your Desktop.


  • 1
    This worked for me, except in the first example, you need quotes around the path. The shell threw me this error without them: sh: 1: Syntax error: "(" unexpected – felwithe May 1 '17 at 15:55

By default youtube-dl downloads files in the same directory from where you run the command. Mostly it's your home directory. If your name is Tom, then it is /home/Tom. To force it to download elsewhere you should use -o option; and to select quality of video, there is -f option. But how would you know the variety of quality of files. That is achieved by -F option. So combine all these in one shell script, make it executable and put it in a bin directory. And life becomes easy going.

I have written one script for my own use. It works fine. You don't have to worry where all those downloaded files are going. I've chosen ~/Videos directory for downloading YT videos; you can choose any other. Also replace 'Tom' by your name. Here is the script:

tput clear
tput cup 05 10
echo "Give the YouTube URL: \c"
# Here you paste the YT-video-URL by ctrl+shift+V
read answer
# The follwing command will display a list of video quality options to choose from
youtube-dl -F $answer
# Here you give the number shown in first column as per your choice
echo "Select Quality (Choose a number): \c"
read qual
# If you don't want to download and quit the shell, give 99
if [ $qual -ne 99 ]
youtube-dl -f $qual -o "/home/Tom/Videos/%(title)s.%(ext)s" $answer
exit 0

If you run youtube-dl like this:

youtube-dl -o "/home/vasa1/Downloads/%(title)s" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnvK2TIhYns

The video should be in /home/vasa1/Downloads. Of course you need to put your username in place of vasa1.


by default youtube-dl downloads it's files on your home directory to access your downloaded filed please open the terminal change the directory to your home directory user:~$ cd /home/user Notice: user is your user name


Ubuntu 14 fix of official installation procedure

Create directory here:

sudo mkdir /opt/youtube-dl

Move youtube-dl from installation place:

sudo mv /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl /opt/youtube-dl

Make symlink:

pushd /usr/local/bin/ && sudo ln -s /opt/youtube-dl/youtube-dl

Test symlink:

ls -la youtube-dl 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 26 Oct 16 20:41 youtube-dl -> /opt/youtube-dl/youtube-dl


Test file:

ls -la /opt/youtube-dl/youtube-dl

-rwxrwxrwx 1 root root 639567 Oct 15 12:42 /opt/youtube-dl/youtube-dl

Fix permissions:

sudo chmod 755 /opt/youtube-dl/youtube-dl

Remove old cache:

sudo rm -r /home/<user>/.cache/youtube-dl/

e'voila! youtube-dl without having a need for a sudo in front of it


In case you want to run youtube-dl in python script, simply use -o will no effect.

Instead you need to use outtmpl keyword, e.g.:

youtube_dl.YoutubeDL( params={'-c': '', '--no-mtime': '', 'outtmpl': './%(uploader)s/%(title)s-%(upload_date)s-%(id)s.%(ext)s'} ).download([url])

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.