Is it possible to do the following things with VLC?

  • Make the playback window stay always on top
  • Make the playback window transparent when another window has the focus?

This would allow watching videos while doing other things such as checking emails since you could still access other windows (assuming the player is not maximized).

  • 1
    I'm not sure how you would use the area under a window after making it 'always on top' without using hot-key-mouse combination clicks (ctrl+left, etc.).
    – tyblu
    Jan 16, 2012 at 1:13
  • 2
    Not sure what OS you're talking about, but if you're using Ubuntu and have compiz installed, you can easily change the transparency of any window. Personally, I'd have VLC playing in the background and make any windows sitting on top of it transparent so that I can use them but still see the video. (Ok, on second thoughts, I'd use a second monitor....) Jan 16, 2012 at 1:30
  • 1
    A solution that sticks the mouse "behind" the video output has not yet been found. Maybe something like a transparent screen overlay detached from the VLC window might achieve this somehow... Sep 21, 2012 at 9:20
  • ...although as @aaamos stated, an alternative might be making every other window transparent. But that would still require some "keep VLC right behind the current window" mechanism. Another nice feature would be the window only turning transparent when the mouse approaches it Sep 21, 2012 at 9:41
  • I was also having the same issue. I was able to fix using this - bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/xserver-xorg-video-intel/+bug/… Jan 27, 2017 at 14:50

4 Answers 4


To make the playback window always on top select Video -> Always On Top from the menu. (Mac Video -> "Float on Top")

I don't see a way to change the transparency when VLC goes out of focus without using a window manager that has this capability. You can change the transparency in VLC manually though.

To make the playback window transparent:

  • Tools -> Preferences
  • Show All Settings -> Click the plus next to Interface -> Main Interface
  • Change the Interface Module to Qt Interface
  • Click the plus next to Main Interface -> Qt
  • Change the Window Opacity to the desired amount
  • Close and reopen VLC for the change to take effect
  • 1
    This still works! On OSX go to Main Interface -> macosx and at the bottom there is a slider for "Opaqueness". The opacity of the whole window is affected, which I like. You need to restart VLC for it to take effect. Nov 26, 2014 at 16:40
  • transparency worked but click through doesnt seems to work Mar 18, 2022 at 8:10

I've adapted an AutoHotKey script from here which will do what you ask (on Windows - I don't know if there's an AutoHotKey for Linux).

When the script is run, it finds a window with "VLC media player" in the title and makes it 60% transparent and 'unclickable'. To exit the script and reactivate VLC, right click the green H in the taskbar and choose Exit.

If you trust me, a (decompilable) compiled version of this which sets one running VLC instance to 60% transparency and unclickable is here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/to4wrlmnuym9kjb/TransparentVLC.exe

If you don't trust me, want to adapt it for use with Media Player Classic (it's just better =), or just want to learn, install AutoHotKey and run this script: https://www.dropbox.com/s/exj00fpssx761lc/TransparentVLC.ahk

If my links are broken, the AHK code follows:

WinSet_Click_Through - Makes a window unclickable. Written by Wicked & SKAN.
I - ID of the window to set as unclickable.
T - The transparency to set the window. Leaving it blank will set it to 254. It can also be set On or Off. Any numbers lower then 0 or greater then 254 will simply be changed to 254.
If the window ID doesn't exist, it returns 0.

WinSet_Click_Through(I, T="254") {
   IfWinExist, % "ahk_id " I
      If (T == "Off")
         WinSet, AlwaysOnTop, Off, % "ahk_id " I
         WinSet, Transparent, Off, % "ahk_id " I
         WinSet, ExStyle, -0x20, % "ahk_id " I
         WinSet, AlwaysOnTop, On, % "ahk_id " I
         If(T < 0 || T > 254 || T == "On")
            T := 254
         WinSet, Transparent, % T, % "ahk_id " I
         WinSet, ExStyle, +0x20, % "ahk_id " I
      Return 0
#SingleInstance force
;app code starts here
;get window ID for a VLC instance
ID := WinExist("VLC media player")

;set it to 60% transparent and unclickable
WinSet_Click_Through(ID, 0.6 * 255)

;wait until the user quits, then show window again
OnExit, AppEnd

;set it back to clickable
WinSet_Click_Through(ID, "Off")
  • Looks great! I haven't found the time to test it yet, but I'll just trust you did, for now :-7 Sep 27, 2012 at 10:08

On OSX, when you set Opaqueness in the Interface > macosx, it's sufficient to enter fullscreen and exit fullscreen for the changes to take effect.

  • Worked great for me and didn't have to install any new software.
    – Dan
    Oct 5, 2016 at 2:26

One or more of the Skrommel applications might do the job :

WinWarden - Automatically control how to display a window.
TransOther - Make all windows but the active one transparent.
OnTop - Puts a window on top of all others.

Another possibility is the free Eusing Auto Window Manager which can set VLC to always on-top and transparent.

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