How to use the Download Flash and Video add-on for Firefox

January 27, 2011

I wanted to download some quilting videos from YouTube so that I always had them available whenever I needed to remind myself how to do a particular technique. Searching on YouTube in the hope of finding something I viewed 3 months ago was getting painful — I was tired of trying to remember a video’s name or presenter, even if I knew in general what the content was about. It was time to find some software that would allow me to download a YouTube video and save it to my computer.

The problem was, when I did a Google search, there were many applications out there that profess to do just that. But what was a good one? Off to Twitter, where I asked my followers for a recommendation. Within minutes @mikestarrwriter got back to me recommending ‘Download Flash and Video’ add-on for Firefox (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/download-flash-and-video/). I checked out the reviews, then decided to install it.

It works well, BUT there’s NO documentation. Nothing to tell you how it works and what to do when it doesn’t work (as happens occasionally). So here’s the ‘missing manual’ for the Download Flash and Video add-on for Firefox.

  1. After you’ve installed the add-on and restarted Firefox, you’ll see a small gray down arrow icon in the menu bar.
  2. Go to YouTube and find a video you want to download.
  3. Start the video.
  4. Watch the icon. When it changes to a blue arrow with a movie ‘clapperboard’ icon (typically 1 to 10 seconds after the video starts), the file is ready to download. You can pause the video at this stage — it will still download.
  5. Click the blue arrow/clapperboard icon in the menu bar to see the options.
  6. Select the video size and format from the drop-down list. If I don’t want high definition, I’ll just choose 720p MP4 (MP4 plays fine in Windows Media Player).
  7. The video will now download to the folder where your Firefox downloads are saved (as set in the Firefox menu: Options > Options > General).

[Steps updated September 2013; link last checked September 2013]


  1. OMG!!!! Totally Helpful!!!!!


  3. Thanks! Unfortunately it doesn’t work for PBS!

  4. Unfortunately it’s GRAY on my firefox :(
    I’ve tried restarting, refreshing etc. nothing :(

  5. can u close the video when it starts downloading?

  6. Hi Roderick

    Why don’t you try it? I’m pretty sure you can pause it, but I don’t know about closing the webpage while it’s downloading — I suspect that might kill the process.

    If you try it, I’d appreciate it if you could share your findings here.


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