These Are the Best Video Dimensions for YouTube Shorts

What's the perfect aspect ratio for YouTube Shorts? Can you make square videos and still get featured on the Shorts shelf in the YouTube app? Keep reading to find out.


So far, there are two undeniable truths about making a YouTube Short. For YouTube to recognize a video as such, it needs to be less than 60 seconds long and in a vertical format.

But how vertical is vertical? Which aspect ratio will YouTube accept?

How to Get the Right Size for YouTube Shorts

Here are the basic technical requirements to make a Short:

  • Aspect ratio: 9:16 (creates the vertical format)
  • Resolution: 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels (standard length by width ratio for vertical content)

Can You Make a Square YouTube Short?

There's a tiny caveat to YouTube's rule around vertical videos. Apparently, YouTube Shorts don't have to be vertical as long as they're at least square. That means you can create Shorts with a 1:1 aspect ratio and dimensions of 1080 pixels by 1080 pixels. Those videos will look like perfect squares – so technically not vertical at all – but YouTube will categorize them as Shorts.

Check out the square format versus the vertical format below. When a YouTube Short is square (left), you'll see black bars above and below the video frame. That extra bit of artificial "length" is what helps the video qualify (probably) as a YouTube Short. Vertical videos (right) fill the enter mobile screen.

Of course, we tested all of this on the vidIQ Shorts channel to be safe.

We know square videos can become YouTube Shorts because:

  • Our test video (a square) made it to the Shorts shelf, which only displays YouTube Shorts.
  • A large percentage of video views came from the YouTube Shorts traffic source.

Here's the test video we used to confirm the results:

Even still, there are advantages and disadvantages to making square YouTube Shorts.

  • Con: The video will have an unsightly black bar at the top and bottom of the frame.
  • Pro: Square videos leave the bottom of the screen empty, and viewers can easily see your channel name, the video's title, and the subscribe button.

YouTube Shorts: Can They Be ‘Wider’ Than Perfect Squares?

For our next YouTube Shorts test, we wanted to see if we could make one wider than a square. So we uploaded a video that was just 10 pixels wider than it was tall, and as we expected, the video didn't appear in our featured Shorts section. That's an area YouTube auto-populates, so the results are clear: Our video was not a YouTube Short.

Now we know the widest YouTube Short you can make is a square video. If the video is wider than it is tall, it won't be considered a YouTube Short.

Here’s another rule to follow: Don’t make a video skinnier than what you’d shoot on a smartphone. We created a video with a resolution of 360 pixels by 1920 pixels, and while people can view it on YouTube, it didn’t make it to the Shorts shelf.

To see all of our YouTube Shorts testing – and view what might be the skinniest video on Earth – check out the explainer below:

The most important thing to know? Shooting a vertical video with your phone (as intended) is the easiest way to make YouTube Shorts. You will automatically use the correct aspect ratio and completely avoid the "technical" stuff.

Need a deeper tutorial? Check out our beginner's guide for creating short, vertical videos on YouTube.