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Updated by Dan Price on 27th April 2017

YouTube has been pushing upgrades to the site in slow doses (in the form of a nifty, basic editor How To Use The New YouTube Video Editor How To Use The New YouTube Video Editor Read More , for example). Now you can even request auto-captioning of your YouTube videos to reach a larger audience (anyone that speaks a different language, wants to learn English or experiences some kind of hearing impairment).

It’s actually not that hard to manually put subtitles into your videos. It often just takes a bit of time, but soon enough, you’ll be able to translate videos to improve accessibility (especially when subtitles in your language aren’t available on the web), or when you just want to be funny (like some of the English-subtitled Hitler spoofs on the iPad 10 of the Funniest iPad YouTube Spoofs You Have to Watch 10 of the Funniest iPad YouTube Spoofs You Have to Watch Read More ).

Any text editor that you have will be enough to create basic subtitles. For more customized subtitles, you can check out the second section of this article. The footage in the screenshots you see here is from Elephants Dream, the first open-source generated, animated short film ever made.

Making Basic Subtitles In A Text Editor

For this article, we’ll be using the built-in Notepad text editor in Windows to make basic subtitles with no additional color or font customization. Open Notepad and save your file with the .SRT extension and in UTF-8 (especially if you’re inputting special characters).

how to add subtitles

We will go over how to create subtitles in the SubRip (.SRT) format, which follows this easy-to-learn pattern:

00:00:20,000 --> 00:00:24,400
00:00:24,600 --> 00:00:27,800
Why, hello there!
What's your name?

Now input the times of the subtitle/caption start and end. The 00:00:20,000 is in hours:minutes:seconds,milliseconds format. You can usually look at the video with milliseconds in Windows Movie Maker while you have Notepad open as well.

how to add subtitles

Make sure to display both windows for easier work by pressing on both programs in the taskbar while pressing Ctrl and right-clicking on either program tab and selecting Show Windows Side By Side.

Now just place a space between every line. Repeat the steps until you finish all the lines. Remember to save often.

how to make subtitles

After you’re done, you can view the subtitles in any major media player as long as your video and the subtitle have the same names but different file extensions of course and are located in the same folder. This is known as “softsubbing”, which leaves the raw video file intact.

how to make subtitles

You can also upload the SRT files to your videos already on YouTube as captions.

subtitles downloads

Making Better-Looking Subtitles In Aegisub

Maybe you’re interested in more professional-looking subtitles or captions. In the world of open-source anything, Aegisub is a cross-platform subtitle editor that’s chock-full of advanced features for just this task.

Available as a portable application 100 Portable Apps for Your USB Stick for Windows and macOS 100 Portable Apps for Your USB Stick for Windows and macOS Portable apps let you take your favorite software anywhere via a flash drive or cloud storage. Here are 100 of them to cover your every need, from games to image editors. Read More , the program provides seemingly endless options to customize the font, size, color and position of the subtitles. It also lets you more easily visualize where you might put the subtitles.

Start by loading the video (in AVI, MP4, MPG format) you want to subtitle by going to Video > Open Video.

subtitles downloads

If you don’t have the video (but do have the audio and want to move the position of the subtitles, for example), you can use a dummy video and set the closest matching resolution.

How To Make Your Own Subtitles With Any Text Editor & Aegisub 4

You can also load the audio in the video and visualize the timing better (head to Audio > Open Audio From Video).

To change the font, size and color of your subtitles, head to Subtitles in the menu bar and select Styles Manager. In the dialog box that appears, you’ll see two boxes, Storage and Current Script.

movie subtitles

You can select to create a new style to your taste in the Storage section (which ensures you’ll always have this style saved) and copy it to the Current Script box (so you can use it to subtitle the video you opened earlier).

movie subtitles

Then click OK to go back to the main Aegisub window.

In the Audio box, click on the start of the sound clip and right-click at the end of the clip. Press the S key or the space bar to hear the audio clip before inputting your subtitle in the Edit Box (you can also copy and paste the start and end frames as you see them in the video).

movie subtitles

Double-click wherever you want the subtitles to appear in the Video Box to set the position. Sometimes, you may wish to add notes of regional sayings, for example, at the top of your video.

How To Make Your Own Subtitles With Any Text Editor & Aegisub Optimized 9e

Type your subtitle (consulting Google Translate 4 Reasons Why Google Translate Beats The Other Services 4 Reasons Why Google Translate Beats The Other Services Read More if you wish) and press Enter (or hit Commit). Note that to display two lines, you need to use the term


in the Edit Box.

subtitles download

Also, hit Save (Ctrl + S) to save your entire subtitle file (the default file extension is .ASS for Advanced SubStation Alpha.)

Now repeat the above steps until you finish subtitling (remember this combo: click > right-click > space bar > type the subtitle > Enter). Any changes you make, you must remember to save by hitting Commit and saving your whole subtitle file often.

That’s pretty much it. Be warned: Subtitling a whole clip can be very time-consuming. Once you’re done though, it can be rewarding to see your subtitled video in :

Of course, if you’d rather just download these and watch them with your videos, there are some very useful subtitle search engines The 3 Best Subtitle Sites For Your Movies & TV Series The 3 Best Subtitle Sites For Your Movies & TV Series Read More , as well as automatic subtitle-searching-and-downloading software, such as Sublight (for Windows Sublight - A Hassle-Free Subtitles Download and Playback Solution Sublight - A Hassle-Free Subtitles Download and Playback Solution Read More ) and FileBot (cross-platform and open-source).

Do you usually add your own subtitles or do you just prefer to download them?

Image Credit: TungCheung via

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