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CodeFactor Docker License: GPL v3 PyPI version

youtube2zim allows you to create a ZIM file from a Youtube Channel/Username or one-or-more Playlists.

It downloads the video (webm or mp4 extension – optionnaly recompress them in lower-quality, smaller size), the thumbnails, the subtitles and the authors' profile pictures ; then, it create a static HTML files folder of it before creating a ZIM off of it.


  • ffmpeg for video transcoding (only used with --lower-quality).
  • curl and unzip to install Javascript dependencies. See if you want to do it manually.


Here comes a few different ways to install youtube2zim.


youtube2zim is a Python3 software. If you are not using the Docker image, you are advised to use it in a virtualenv to avoid installing software dependences on your system.

virtualenv -p python3 ./ # Create virtualenv
source bin/activate      # Activate the virtualenv
pip3 install youtube2zim # Install dependencies
youtube2zim --help       # Display youtube2zim help

At the end, call deactivate to quit the virtual environment.

See pyproject.toml for the list of python dependencies.


docker run -v my_dir:/output youtube2zim --help

Globally (on GNU/Linux)

sudo pip3 install -U youtube2zim


youtube2zim uses Youtube API v3 to fetch data from Youtube. You thus need to provide an API_KEY to use the scraper.

To get an API:

  1. Connect to Google Developers Console
  2. Create a new Project then Select it.
  3. When asked, choose Create Credentials and select the API Key type. (Credentials page)
youtube2zim --api-key "<your-api-key>" --type user --id "Vsauce" --name "vsauce"


  • Your API_KEY is subject to usage quotas (10,000 requests/day) so use --only_test_branding when adjusting parameters and branding to not waste your quota.
  • If you encounter issues reading ZIM files created using this scraper, please take a look at the Compatibility Matrix before opening a ticket.


youtube2zim produces a single ZIM file for a youtube request (channel, user, playlist).

youtube2zim-playlists allows you to ** automatically create one ZIM file per playlist** of a given channel or user instead.

This script is a wrapper around youtube2zim and is bundled with the main package.

The difference between a channel and a user is due to Youtube legacy. Some old users have to be searched as a user, while more recent ones have to be searched as a channel. Try your best bet, and if it fails try the ohter type.


youtube2zim-playlists --help

Sample usage:

youtube2zim-playlists --indiv-playlists --api-key XXX --type user --id Vsauce --playlists-name="vsauce_en_playlist-{playlist_id}"

Those are the required arguments for youtube2zim-playlists but you can also pass any regular youtube2zim argument. Those will be forwarded to youtube2zim (which will be run independently for each playlist).


  • --title and --description are mutually exclusive with --playlists-title and --playlists-description.
  • If using --title or --description, all your playlists ZIMs will have the same, static metadata. This is rarely wanted.
  • --playlists-title and --playlists-description allows you to dynamically customize them via some playlist-related variables:
    • {title}: the playlist title
    • {description}: the playlist description
    • {slug}: slugified version of the playlist title
    • {playlist_id}: playlist ID on youtube
    • {creator_id}: playlist's owner channel/user ID.
    • {creator_name}: playlist's owner channel/user name.
  • You can omit them and youtube2zim will auto-generate those.
  • you must specify --playlists-name (supports variables listed above).
  • --playlists-name is used to set the Name metadata of the ZIM (should be unique) and if not set separately, the output file name for the ZIM.
  • --metadata-from allows to specify a path or URL to a JSON file specifying custom static metadata for individual playlists. Format:
    "<playlist-id>": {
        "name": "",
        "zim-file": "",
        "title": "",
        "description": "",
        "tags": "",
        "creator": "",
        "profile": "",
        "banner": ""

All fields are optional and taken from command-line/default if not found. <playlist-id> represents the Youtube Playlist ID.

If you feel the need for setting additional details in this file, chances are you should run youtube2zim independently for that playlist (still possible!)


Before contributing be sure to check out the guidelines.


GPLv3 or later, see LICENSE for more details.