Quick Youtube Playlist

How to create a user-generated Youtube Playlist using Google Forms

As a teacher, One of the things that I like to do is have students submit Youtube videos for various assignments. Sometimes, after they’ve submitted the links I like to add them all to a playlist so they can see each other’s submissions. The problem I run into with this is that there’s no way for students to directly add submissions to a playlist, so I’ve usually had to do this by adding them myself – one by one.

Now, if there’s anything I hate, it is doing a repetitive task on a computer that can be automated. I DESPISE wasting my time doing the same thing over and over. In this case, I used to have to go to each submission in our LMS, copy the link, open it in a new tab, and then add it to the playlist. It drove me bonkers. So naturally, I set out to find a better way; and now that I’ve found a workaround I’m going to share it with you!

This solution can be used in any scenario where you want to collect Youtube Videos into a playlist using Google Forms. Whatever your form looks like, you’ll want to have a field for students to submit a link. Next you’ll want to open up the Sheet where the submissions are being sent, and we’re going to add two columns.

Step 1

This solution utilizes an Array Formula which is a handy way to make the formula contained within apply to all future entries to the sheet. In the image below, you can see that my Youtube links are contained in column C. In column D, row 2 (avoiding the header row) I’ve added the following:

=ArrayFormula(Right(C2:C, 11))

The formula Right() will take the number of characters specified from the right of the target cell. In this case, we are taking the last 11 characters from the link cells. Why? Well, Youtube videos all have a unique 11-character identifier at the end of the link.

Step 2

Our next step is to take all of the cells and put them into a comma-separated list. To do this we will run another array formula to pull the data from our previous column.


CONCATENATE is one of my favorite Sheets/Excel tools as it will put pieces of data from a list of cells in a way that we define. In this case, it is going to put a comma between each cell’s data.

The other part of this is TRANSPOSE, which will take our vertical column of data and read it across. The result is a nice simple list of our 11 character identifiers separated by a comma.

Step 3

Our final step is to make this into a playlist. Youtube thankfully will allow you to create a playlist by adding a list of unique video identifiers to the end of a predefined link. All you have to do is take the link below and change the ID1, ID2, etc, with a list of identifiers separated by commas.


So now, all you need to do is copy the data from step two, and add it to the end of this link after the equals sign! Viola! Instant playlist.

Final Thoughts

I should be forthcoming about one thing I don’t like: the only problem with this is I can’t save the playlist to my account. It will simply be listed as an untitled and unsavable playlist. Frustrating? Yes. The end of the world? No. For me, the time saved by not having to individually copy and paste URLs and add them one by one to a playlist is immeasurable. I can easily just post the link with a label in my LMS to share it with students and still achieve the same desired effect of sharing a playlist with them.

I hope this is helpful to you! Please leave a comment if you find this helpful, or share how this might be useful in your classroom!

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