How To Create A Youtube Thumbnail Fast

Updated on September 15, 2021

YouTube has made it simple for content creators to upload and promote videos by allowing them to create their own thumbnails within the website's interface.

Here are some steps you can take to design your own thumbnail quickly and easily.

1) Find or create an image that represents your video. It needs to be the right shape, the same aspect ratio as a YouTube thumbnail (16:9), and should portray whatever it is you would like people to see about your video when they hover over it with their mouse.

Make sure you know what kind of audience you're catering towards and represent that audience with these tropes. For example, if you're making a Minecraft tutorial, having a Minecraft character in your image will attract more attention from Minecraft players. Also keep in mind that YouTube automatically adds a border to your image, which can be up to 1 pixel wide. You may want to make room for this border by shifting the contents of your image 1 or 2 pixels away from the edges.

The recommended dimensions for a YouTube thumbnail are 1280×720px (width x height), but videos will appear best when their thumbnails are sized down, so feel free to add Full HD or higher resolution thumbnails as long as they are not heavier than 2MB.

2) Another fast way to create a thumbnail is screenshotting one of your moments and optimizing the thumbnail for clicks. For example, you can watch Mr. Beast's thumbnails and get inspired by them.

3) Upload your new video with its newly created thumbnail to YouTube by following these steps:

  1. Log into YouTube using either a Google account or a standard YouTube account.
  2. Find your new video using the search bar above the "Upload" button and click on it to open its page.
  3. Upload your image as an "Custom thumbnail". You can do this by clicking on "Attach custom thumbnail" underneath the thumbnail that is already there and dragging and dropping your edited image onto the gray box that pops up, clicking "OK", and then pressing "Upload Video" at the bottom right of the screen.
  4. This will only work if you have not yet added any tags or annotations to your video. If you've done either of those things, you'll first need to edit some other aspect of your video such as description before uploading another customized thumbnail.
  5. Once your thumbnail is added, you can set it as default for this video by clicking "Set as Default" underneath the thumbnail. This will remove the current default thumbnail and replace it with whatever custom version you have uploaded.

If you want to learn more about how to create catchy thumbnails, you can find our article about 10 Tips For Catchy Thumbnails.

If these steps are too complicated, YouTube also offers the option of using an image editing website like Pixlr or Canva to overlay text onto otherwise static images. You can then save these edited screenshots directly to your desktop or Google Drive, edit them in Photoshop or GIMP, and upload them as thumbnails whenever required.

If text editing isn't something you're interested in doing, however, there are also third-party applications on the web that allow you to create thumbnails without first having an image file on hand.

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