Here are quick directions on exporting a video in Adobe Premiere Pro to a compatible format (H.264/MP4) for playing on computers, tablets, smartphones and can also be used for uploading to YouTube and Vimeo.

Be sure to SAVE your Premiere Pro project before starting this process.

STEP 1 – Select the Sequence

Select the Sequence you want to export in the Timeline panel.

You’ll notice the border around the selected sequence panel turns to orange when selected.

Premiere Pro CS6 Timeline

STEP 2 – Export Media Settings

Select FileExportMedia… from the menubar.

Premiere Pro CS6 - How to get to export menu

STEP 3A – Export Settings | Format

On the right in the Export Settings window, Format: select H.264.  H.264 will create an MP4 video file that is playable on most computers, tablets, and smartphones.

Premiere Pro Export H.264 Format

STEP 3B – Export Settings | Presets

From the Presets dropdown, move your mouse to the bottom of the giant list of options and click on the black upside-down triangle to move down the list to the Vimeo & YouTube options.

Adobe Premiere Pro H.264 Presets

Based on your sequence settings, choose the best output.

[CLICK TO VIEW] Adobe Media Encoder H.264 Presets for YouTube and Vimeo.
[CLICK TO VIEW] Adobe Media Encoder H.264 Presets for YouTube and Vimeo.

STEP 3C – Export Settings | Output Name

Click on the Output Name to give the file a custom name and setup the save location on your hard drive.

Premiere Pro defaults to the last location an export was saved.  ALWAYS click on the Output Name to double check the save location, so you’re not left searching for the file later.

Premiere Pro Output Name

STEP 3D – Export Settings | Export or Queue

It is recommended that you only export a video when you are done with all your work and are not going to perform any more tasks on your computer.  The export process requires a lot of computer memory and it is recommended to close all other programs while this tasks is running.

OPTION 1 | EXPORT – Click the Export button at the bottom to start exporting the file.

OPTION 2 | QUEUE – If you know you want to keep working and export the file later, select Queue to send the export job to the Adobe Media Encoder program.  The Adobe Media Encoder allows you to export a batch of videos at a later time.

Premiere Pro Export and Queue Buttons

STEP 4 – Play Before You Upload

Before uploading the video to YouTube or Vimeo, be sure to play it on your computer to ensure the final product is of the highest quality you expect for your viewing audience.

Troubleshooting Tips

  • Computer is slow or freezes when exporting.
    • Turn off all programs except for Premiere Pro.
      You might even try turning off some of those little programs that are running down by your clock that you know you don’t need running like Google Drive and Dropbox.  Be careful not to turn off your sound card or your video driver software! 
    • Shut down your computer and then restart it.
      When you restart your computer, turn off any background programs that you can think of or that you’re capable of turning off to free up memory.  Then start Premiere Pro.

If you have any questions or additional tips on exporting video in Adobe Premiere Pro, please leave a comment below.


  1. The update for Premeire Pro now has a 4K option for quality rendering. I shot with a gopro at 2.7k and 4k, would saving it in that format affect uploading it to Vimeo? Also, what bitrate do I need for uploading to Vimeo?

  2. I.m having an error code # 36 when I try to upload an exported video from Premiere Pro to my connected external hard drive. It states that some data cannot be read or written? If anyone has a solution for this, please let me know. Thanks, Colleen

  3. Oh my god, thank you. I was going nuts trying to figure out why my audio wouldn't export. I ended up just starting the export from scratch with this tutorial and it works fine now. I'll come here first from now on instead of spending hours digging through craptastic forums. :)

  4. Hi Jerrad, I wonder if you can help me? I am a first time PP CC user and I made a movie which included some HD video clips and high quality still images along with a sound track. I want it to be played back on an iPad.
    I have exported it using a number of different settings ranging from the Ipad 1080 setting toYOUtube 1080 hd. When I play back the exported files in quicktime the picture is tiny and hardly viewable. I made the same movie using iMovie using the identical source material and that movie when exported, played in the full screen. Given the difference in sophistication of the programs I can only assume I am making the wrong export choices.
    Appreciate any guidance you can give me.

    • Hey Thom! Check the Project Settings in Premiere to see if you have DV or HDV set. If it's DV, you'll need to change it to HDV. Also, you'll need to change your Sequence settings for each sequence to match the HD footage. Let me know if this helps or not.

      • Hello Jerrad, am seeking ur help, i want to make motion graphics like that of CNN, BBC and many other tvs. I want to create a 3D text(kib entertainment) with a sound and moving in a 3D environment. Thanks

    • Hey John! Make sure on the Format option that you choose "H.264" and not "H.264 Blu-ray." If you did choose H.264 and you still only have 15 or so presets, you may need to reinstall the software to fix the issue.

  5. There are no programs running in the background. My computer freezes or slows every time I attempt to export, about halfway through. It’s never done this before. I have to manually shut down my computer every time. This is getting really frustrating.

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