More than ever before, modern PCs are expected to be capable of multitasking. Windows 10 has various features that support it, including Snap Assist for displaying windows side-by-side and Task View for quickly switching between open apps.
Both can be useful for easy access to video content, but filling almost half your screen with a tiny video window doesn't feel like a productive use of space. Unless you've connected your laptop to an external monitor, using Picture-in-Picture is a way to keep videos playing in a floating window while you focus on the main task at hand.
Picture-in-Picture mode is built directly into Windows 10's Films & TV app, while many modern browsers have similar features available for viewing content on the web. Here's everything you need to know.
How to use Picture in Picture with the Films & TV app
The Films & TV app is the default way many video files now open in Windows 10, and fortunately it has Picture-in-Picture functionality built right into the app. If you don't have the app already, it's a free download from the Microsoft Store. Once that's taken care of, here's how to get started using it:
- Firstly, make sure the file you're trying to open is already downloaded to your device and available in File Explorer. If that's not possible, see our instructions below for using Picture-in-Picture within a web browser
- Locate the video file within File Explorer and double click to open it. It should start playing within the Films & TV app, but right-click and choose 'Open with' if that's not the case
- Hover over the video and you should see a row of controls appear at the bottom of the window. Click the icon that looks like a smaller rectangle within a larger one - it's labelled 'Play in mini view'
- The video will now move to a small window in the top-right of your screen. You can click and drag it anywhere you like, while clicking the same icon again will return you to the regular window
Functionality is more limited here than the main view - you can only rewind 10 seconds or fast forward 30 seconds, for example - but it works well as a Picture-in-Picture mode. Despite its name, the Films & TV app can open .mp4, .mov, .wav. and many more file types - basically any video that's downloaded to local storage should work fine here.
How to use Picture in Picture in Microsoft Edge
If you're looking to use Picture-in-Picture with web-based content (namely YouTube), there's another option built into Windows 10. Microsoft's Edge browser added the feature in March 2020, and it's relatively simple to use.
- Head to the video sharing website of your choice - we'll be using YouTube for the purposes of this tutorial
- Select the video that you'd like to play in Picture-in-Picture
- Once it starts playing, right-click twice on the video and choose 'Picture in picture'
- You'll now see a small window in the bottom-right of the screen with your video, and a message on the main screen saying 'Playing in picture-in-picture'
- This window can be resized and moved anywhere on the screen, and will display over any active window or the desktop. However, there are only controls for play/pause, returning to tab and closing the window completely
How to use Picture in Picture with other browsers
Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox can be easily installed onto your Windows 10 PC, and both have methods which allow you to play videos using Picture-in-Picture. Firefox's feature uses a right-click method similar to Microsoft Edge, while there a number of Chrome browser extensions offering Picture-in-Picture functionality - our top pick is Google's official one. It's highly likely that any modern desktop browser you're using will offer PiP in some capacity.
Got an Apple device? You may also be interested in how to use Picture-in-Picture on iPhone or iPad. We have a separate tutorial on how to watch YouTube in PiP, with the functionality still not natively supported on iOS.