Editing a video in the Photos app.

Windows 10 has a hidden video editor that works a bit like Windows Movie Maker or Apple iMovie. You can use it to trim videos or create your own home movies and slideshows. You can even have it create videos automatically.

This feature is part of the Photos app. It’s what remains of Windows 10’s “Story Remix” application, which Microsoft announced for the Fall Creators Update back in May, 2017.

How to Trim, Slow, Take Photos of, or Draw On a Video

To edit a video file, open it in the Photos app.

You can do this right from File Explorer by right-clicking the video file, and then selecting Open With > Photos.

The video will open and play in the Photos app. To edit the video, click “Edit & Create” on the toolbar.

You’ll see a variety of video editing tools you can use. Click a tool to use it.

The options in the Edit & Create menu in Photos.

For example, to cut a section out of a video, click “Trim” in the menu.

To use the Trim tool, simply drag the two handles on the playback bar to select the portion of the video you want to keep. You can drag the blue pin icon to view what appears at that section in the video, or click the play button to play back the selected section of video.

When you’re done, click “Save a Copy” to save a copy of the trimmed section of the video. To stop editing without saving your changes, click “Cancel” instead.

The Photos app places the edited video in the same folder as the original with a similar file name. For example, we edited a video named Wildlife.mp4 and received a video file named WildlifeTrim.mp4.

Videos in a folder in File Explorer.

Other tools work similarly. The “Add Slo-mo” tool lets you choose a slower speed, and then apply it to a section of your video file, slowing it down.

Using the Add Slo-mo tool.

The “Save Photos” tool lets you pick a frame of the video and save it as a photo. At the bottom of the window, you’ll see “Previous Frame” and “Next Frame” buttons you can use to pick a specific frame of a video file.

The Save Photos tool.

The “Draw” tool provides tools for drawing on a video. You can use ballpoint pen, pencil, calligraphy pen, and eraser tools, and pick your favorite colors. Anything you draw appears smoothly on the screen during the video—as if you were drawing it—and then fades out and vanishes after a few seconds.

Drawing on a video in Photos.

The “Create a Video With Text” and “Add 3D Effects” options both open the more advanced video project interface, which we’ll cover below.

How to Combine Videos, Add Text, and Apply 3D Effects

To start creating a video project, you can click the “Create a Video With Text” or “Add 3D Effects” tool. You can also click the “Add to a Creation” button at the top left corner with a video open, and then click “New Video with Music.”

You can also get started with a custom video project by launching the Photos app from your Start menu, and then clicking Create > Custom Video With Music on the app’s home page.

Update: Windows 10 now lets you launch the Video Editor from the Start menu, too. Open the Start menu, search for “Video Editor,” and launch the Video Editor shortcut. This shortcut opens the list of “Video Projects” in the Photos app. To quickly make smaller edits on individual videos—for example, to trim an individual video rather than combining multiple videos together—you must open those videos directly in the Photos app from File Explorer.

Launching the Video Editor from the Start menu.

The “Automatic video with music” option also lets you select your own photos or videos. The Photos app automatically combines them into a custom video for you.

You’ll be prompted to add at least one video or photo to create a custom video. You can add photos to get a slideshow or combine photos with a video, if you like.

However, you can also just add one video to edit it, or more than one video to combine them.

Adding videos to a project.

Whichever way you create a custom video project, you’ll end up on a screen with a project library, video preview, and storyboard pane.

A video project in the Photos app.

To add one or more videos (or photos) to your project, drag them from the project library to the storyboard. Click the “Add photos and videos” option under Project library to add more videos to the library. You can then drag them to the storyboard.

Add a video and you’ll see some editing tools in the Storyboard pane. In addition to the standard Trim tool, you can resize a video with Resize, add visual filters with Filters, insert text with Text, apply motion effects with Motion, and insert 3D effects with 3D Effects.

Even if you just want to edit a single video, you can add just that video to your project, use the various editing tools, and then export the video to a new file. Or, if you want to combine videos, you can insert them into the storyboard and edit them together.

Drag a video from the Project Library to the Storyboard.

The editing tools are fairly self-explanatory. The Trim tool works similarly to the Trim tool you see when editing an individual video. The Resize tool can remove black bars from a video, which is important if you’re combining multiple videos with different aspect ratios into a single project.

The Filters tool offers a variety of filters—everything from Sepia to Pixel.

Applying Filters to a video in the Photos app.

The Text tool provides different styles and layouts of animated text that you can place at different locations in the video.

Adding Text to a video in the Photos app.

The Motion tool lets you choose different styles of camera motion for the video or photo.

Using the Motion tool in Windows 10's Photos app.

The 3D Effects tool provides a library of 3D effects you can apply to the video: everything from autumn leaves and winter snowflakes to explosions, fires, and lightning bolts.

Adding 3D Effects to a video in the Photos app.

You can apply one or more 3D effects, and each one has different options you can use to customize it. Some 3D effects must be placed somewhere in the scene, while others apply to the entire scene.

Adding fake rain to a video in the Photos app.

In the Storyboard pane, you can click the speaker icon to select a volume level for each individual video. This is useful if you’re combining multiple videos and one is louder than the others.

Changing the volume level of a video in the Photos app.

Rather than customizing each individual option yourself, the “Themes” option on the top bar of the window lets you choose different themes. This will choose filters, music, and text styles that work together—complete with preview videos that show you how they will look.

Choosing a video project theme.

To apply music to a video, click the “Music” button on the top bar. The Photos app includes a few music options you can choose from. You can also select “Your Music” to insert a custom music file.

Adding music to a video project in Photos.

There’s also an “Aspect Ratio” button on the toolbar. You can use it to switch between different landscape and portrait orientations for your video.

Choosing an orientation for a video in the Photos app.

When you’re done, click “Export or Share” to export your video project to a file.

You can also click the “Add to Cloud” button if you want to upload your video project to Microsoft’s cloud. You can then resume editing it on the Photos app on another PC you’ve signed into with the same Microsoft account. Your video projects will appear under “Video Projects” when you launch the Photos app.

The Photos app exports the video and tells you where it’s saved on your PC. The Photos app placed the video in the Pictures\Exported Videos folder on our PC.

The Photos app explaining where your exported video is saved.

While this isn’t the most powerful video editor you can get on Windows, it’s surprisingly capable, included on all Windows 10 PCs, and can do a lot of the basics with a pretty simple interface. Give it a try the next time you want to edit a video on a Windows PC.

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Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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