Skip to content

How to Edit Videos on Windows 11 (with Photos)

Hey there! Do you have some great raw video footage that you want to turn into polished, professional-looking videos? If so, then this guide is for you. I‘ll walk you step-by-step through how to edit videos directly on your Windows 11 PC using free built-in tools.

A Quick Crash Course on Video Editing

Before we dive in, let me quickly explain some video editing basics so you have a good foundation.

When editing a video, there are 5 main stages:

Importing – This is how you bring your video clips into the editing software.

Organizing – Here you assemble clips on the timeline and arrange them in the order you want.

Editing – This is where you trim clips, split, merge, rearrange, and enhance the video.

Adding elements – Here you can insert titles, graphics, effects, color correction, animations to boost your video.

Exporting – The final step where you output the finished video in a shareable format.

You‘ll also typically find these tools in video editors:

Timeline – Displays clips sequentially and allows you to trim, split, merge, or reorder them.

Editing Tools – Used to cut, split, crop, merge clips. Also add transitions, text, filters, etc.

Effects – Special visual and audio effects like fade, zoom, color correction.

Transitions – Cool animated effects between clips like fading, swiping, sliding.

Text – For adding titles, credits, captions, subtitles.

Filters – Used to stylize the look of clips, like black & white, vintage, blur.

Animations – Make objects like text and images move.

Audio – Tools to adjust audio levels, add music, record voiceovers.

Now that you know what video editing involves, let‘s see how you can edit videos right on your Windows 11 PC!

How to Use the Photos App Video Editor

Windows 11 actually comes with a built-in Photos app that allows you to edit videos. It lets you trim, split, join clips, apply some filters and do other basic edits.

Here‘s how to use it:

Step 1: Import Your Videos

First, launch the Photos app and click Import > From a USB device (or wherever your videos are). Select the clips you want to edit and hit Open to bring them into Photos.

Step 2: Open the Video Editor

Double click a video to open it. Then click the Edit button at the top right to launch the editor.

This opens up the timeline view where you can see all your clips and start editing.

Step 3: Trim the Video

You can shorten a clip by removing unwanted sections from the start or end:

  • Move the playhead to the start point where you want the clip to begin.

  • Click the Trim button in the toolbar.

  • Move the playhead to the end point where you want the clip to stop.

  • Click Trim again.

The trimmed bits will be removed, leaving you with a shorter clip – pretty cool!

Step 4: Split Clips

You can also split a long video into multiple segments:

  • Move the playhead to where you want to split the clip.
  • Click the Split button to slice it at that frame.

You can now delete or rearrange either part of the split video.

Step 5: Apply Filters

To spice up your video, you can apply filters like Black & White, Vintage, Blur and more:

  • Select a clip on the timeline.
  • Click Filters and pick one you like.

It will instantly apply to that clip. The free Photos app only has a few basic filters though.

Step 6: Export the Completed Video

Once done with editing, click Export in the top right corner. Choose a name and location to export – it‘ll save as an MP4 file ready to share!

And that‘s really all there is to it! The Windows 11 Photos app makes basic video editing super easy. But if you need more advanced software, keep reading.

Advanced Editors for Windows

While Photos works for quick edits, you may want pro-level software with more tools. Here are some great free video editors for Windows I recommend checking out:

DaVinci Resolve

DaVinci Resolve is used professionally but also great for amateurs. The free version packs a full timeline editor with trimming, transitions, titles, audio editing and color correction.

Key Features:

  • Advanced color grading tools
  • Multi-cam editing
  • 4K support
  • Tons of visual effects
  • Pro-level audio mastering

According to experts, it‘s one of the most powerful free editors around.


Lightworks is free, cross-platform, and has a straightforward editor that‘s easy to use once you get the hang of it.

Key Features:

  • Fast, flexible timeline
  • Decent built-in effects
  • Supports various formats
  • Keyboard focused editing

Over 5 million people use Lightworks, including pro video editors.


Shotcut has a simple interface but is packed with pro features. It‘s open source, completely free, and works on Windows, Mac and Linux.

Key Features:

  • Support for 4K, 8K
  • Advanced audio filters
  • Hundreds of video/audio effects
  • Screen recording
  • Support for webcams

Shotcut is a bit harder to learn but extremely capable for advanced editing.

HitFilm Express

Mainly focused on visual effects, HitFilm Express still has a capable editor and tons of effects even in the free version.

Key Features:

  • Multiple video/audio tracks
  • Chroma key green screen editing
  • 3D compositing
  • Transitions, filters, presets
  • Audio and color correction

The pro version is paid but the free Express edition is still excellent.

So those are some top-notch free video editors to try out on your Windows PC. Find one that fits your needs and level of experience!

Tips for Smooth Video Editing on Windows

Here are some tips to ensure your video editing workflow is fast and headache-free on Windows:

  • Update your GPU drivers – Outdated drivers can slow things down.
  • Close unnecessary programs – Free up system resources for your editor.
  • Use proxy media – For 4K or high res files, proxies cut down on lag.
  • Lower preview quality – Edit with lower previews, export in full quality.
  • Use an SSD drive – Video files will load way faster.
  • Tweak app preferences – Turn off auto-save or snap-to-grid for better performance.
  • Render previews – For complex timelines, render clip previews.
  • Learn keyboard shortcuts – Work faster by cutting down on mousing around.

Following these tips will help you avoid common issues like choppy playback, slow exports, and app crashes!

Let‘s Recap

Phew, that was a lot of information! Let‘s recap what we learned:

  • You can edit videos directly in Windows 11 using the built-in Photos app for basic edits like trimming, splitting, and filters.

  • For advanced editing, free apps like DaVinci Resolve, Lightworks, and HitFilm Express offer professional tools.

  • Stick to best practices like updating drivers, closing other programs, and using proxies for smooth editing.

  • With the right software and some practice, you‘ll go from raw footage to sweet edited videos in no time!

I hope this guide gave you what you need to start editing fantastic videos on your Windows 11 PC. Just let me know if you have any other questions!