How to add subtitles and captions to a video?

Ryan Knott

Marketing Content Strategist

How to Add Captions or Subtitles to a Video

Table of contents

Having captions is crucial to a great video. Whether you’re making tutorial videos or even your very own green screen marketing videos, it’s time to make captioning a key part of your video workflow.

While adding captions and subtitles goes a little beyond the basics of video creation, doing so has never been easier – these days you can even turn screenshots into videos in just a few clicks! Adding subtitles is also what will make a video stand out and ensure your audience gets the most out of your content.

Although it might be an additional step you’re not used to in the video creation process, captions and subtitles make your videos accessible to a larger audience, give you a better ROI, and get more people to start watching your videos.

Whether you do it yourself before exporting, pay for a service, or use an auto-transcription tool, it’s super simple to make sure your audience has easy access to your great content!

Let’s get started.

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How to add subtitles to a video


Most video editors, including Camtasia, have captioning capabilities and fortunately for you, captions and subtitles are super-easy to create. In this guide, we’ll take a look at four ways you can add them to your videos, both manually and automatically.

Option 1: Add subtitles and captions to a video with Audiate

With TechSmith’s Audiate, adding subtitles to a video has never been easier. What’s Audiate, you ask? It’s the audio editing tool that turns your recordings into text, allowing you to make expert edits with precision. 

With Audiate you can record and import audio to get an immediate transcription. But this isn’t any old transcript, this is a transcript where you can edit not just the words, but the actual audio as well — and then turn the final transcript into captions for your video. 

Yes, it’s exactly as awesome as it sounds, and here’s how you do it: 

First off, you’ll want to open Audiate and import your audio, or record it if you haven’t done so already. 

To import, click File and then Import Audio. Then, all you have to do is choose the audio file you wish to import and click Open. Depending on the length of your voiceover, Audiate could take anywhere between a few seconds to a couple of minutes to transcribe your audio file. 

Alternatively, to record your voiceover, first, choose an audio input device (such as a microphone) in the Settings menu before clicking the Record button. When you’re done, click the Stop button.

Add subtitles to a video recording your voiceover

Once you’ve got your transcription open, you can make edits to your voiceover, just as you would a text document. For starters, you can delete words and sentences simply by highlighting them and hitting the Delete or Backspace button on your keyboard.

Add subtitles to a video and edit your voiceover

You can also delete any hesitations in your audio, such as ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’. Audiate will display these hesitations as little purple dots and you can delete them individually, or all at once by going to Edit and clicking on Delete All Hesitations. 

Add subtitles to a video and delete hesitations in your voiceover

If at any point you notice that Audiate wasn’t quite accurate in transcribing a word, you can edit the transcript without editing the audio. First, select the word that needs changing, Right-Click, and select one of the alternative suggestions. 

If the suggestions aren’t quite right either, you can click on Custom Word to add your own.

Add subtitles to a video using custom words

If Audiate accidentally turned one word into two, then you can fix that in just a couple of clicks. First, select the series of consecutive words, Right-Click, and select Combine into Custom Word. 

Combine into custom word and add subtitles to your video

After you’ve written the correct word, click OK to replace the mistake. We told you it was easy! 

Use the replacement word function to add subtitles to your video

Once you’ve perfected your transcript, go to File and click on Export Script. This will create an SRT file that you can then import into Camtasia, ready to be used as captions. 

Export the script to easily add subtitles to your video

Now to actually add captions to your video, you’ll need to head back to Camtasia and import your SRT file. To do this, open your video in Camtasia, click on File, go to the Import menu, and click on Captions.

Import subtitles to Camtasia

If you recorded your voiceover directly into Audiate, you’ll need to import the audio file as well. But don’t worry, as Camtasia makes it really easy to synchronize audio and video sources

You might need to spend a little bit of time adjusting the timing of your captions to ensure they’re aligned with your audio, but this is pretty straightforward and shouldn’t take too long.

Option 2: Add subtitles to a video with Camtasia

Manually add subtitles

In Camtasia, you can add subtitles to your videos by going to Audio Effects in the side panel, there you’ll see the option to add Captions.

Manually add subtitles with Camtasia

Click the Captions square/thumbnail and drag it down to your audio track, which is also the video track in the example screenshots. The Captions track will then automatically show you the waveform and split the captions (or subtitles) into four-second increments.

Manually add subtitles to Camtasia using the waveform

Each four-second caption is completely adjustable, so you can stretch them out and shorten them to ensure that each caption or subtitle is in sync with your audio. When it comes to actually typing and adding them, all you have to do is click on the first four-second increment and start transcribing the audio. It really is that simple!

Add subtitles with Camtasia

Next, go through the entire video clicking on each subtitle that you want to add. 

Another nice option about this is maybe you’re not the fastest typer and you want to be able to try and keep up with what your speaker saying, but it just goes by too fast.

To add subtitles throughout your video, just click through each four-second increment, and transcribe the audio for each subtitle you want to add.

How to add subtitles with Camtasia

Camtasia makes it easy to ensure you never miss a beat. Whenever you click the caption you want to add, you’ll be given the option to listen to the same clip repeatedly until you’ve finished writing the subtitles. To do this, click the Play button surrounded by looping arrows.

This is a great way to add subtitles for anyone who isn’t a super-speedy typer as it makes it easy to keep up with the person speaking in your video.

As you continue adding subtitles throughout your video, remember to adjust the duration of each caption to make sure you don’t have a subtitle on-screen any longer than it needs to be. 

And just like that, you can make and add subtitles to your videos in Camtasia. 

When you’re done, you can go to Share and click on Export Captions. This will open the window for you to save your subtitles. It’s good practice to name it the same as your video. 

Finally, you might also want to spend some time learning about the different video file formats, as some (but not all) video file types can store subtitles as well as visual and audio data. 

Automatically add subtitles

Note: The second way that you can add subtitles inside Camtasia is only available on the Windows version. 

Over here in Camtasia’s side tab, go to More, then Captions.

Add captions to a video with Camtasia

This brings up this big open window on the left and you can either import your script if it’s already written out, or click Add Captions.

How to add captions and subtitles to a video with Camtasia

Once you’ve done that, stretch the Caption track as far as the audio goes on the timeline, and click in the text box.

Add subtitles and captions to a video with Camtasia

If you already have a script, you can simply paste it right into this window.

Learn how to create subtitles automatically with Camtasia

To modify subtitles choose Sync Captions, this will allow the video to play as you tell it what words are said in the video.

Synchronise captions and subtitles to your video with Camtasia

If you already have a written script, this is a great way to add subtitles, and one that can save you a ton of time.

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Option 3: Add subtitles to a video with YouTube

One of the most obvious ways to add subtitles involves using the world’s largest video platform — YouTube! 

Once you make a YouTube video, upload your video file and head over to the YouTube studio editor. From there you can go to the subtitles panel and choose to add new subtitles or closed captions. 

For this example, we’ve already added two different languages but now we’re going to look at adding English subtitles as well.

Add and manage subtitles to a video

To add English subtitles (or subtitles for any supported language), you can either search for English in the language search bar or make a selection from the dropdown menu.

Choose the subtitles language of a video

The first option, ‘Upload a file’ allows you to add premade subtitles by uploading an SRT file or subtitle file. Then the ‘Transcribe and auto-sync’ option allows you to manually add your subtitles by typing along as your subject speaks.

Finally, the ‘Create new subtitles or CC’ allows you to see YouTube’s auto-transcription and edit what they’ve already done.

How to add subtitles to a youtube video

If you’ve already created a subtitle file, click ‘Upload a file’.

Add subtitles to a youtube video

Once you’ve chosen and uploaded your file, you might notice that Youtube has already auto-transcribed your subtitles in the background. While YouTube’s transcription is usually pretty close, it’s better to use your own in order to guarantee their accuracy. 

Learn how to add subtitles to a video with youtube and check their accuracy

And if you want to edit it you can go through and click on any one of them to make changes. 

It’s that simple. 

If you choose to use YouTube’s auto transcription it’s very simple to go in and make any edits you need to once it’s finished.

Add subtitles to your videos now!

Download a free trial of Camtasia to seamlessly add subtitles to your video.

Download Now
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Captions vs subtitles, what’s the difference?

While the terms “subtitles” and “captions” are often used interchangeably, there are some differences.

What are video captions?

Captions convey dialogue and/or narration plus any other audio effects that may be present in a video.

This includes when (and what type of) music is playing and any background noises such as loud crashes, cars honking, or dogs barking that may be integral to understanding what’s happening on the screen.

In fact, to meet accessibility standards, captions must include those elements.

Use Camtasia to add subtitles to your videos

One of the most widely-known uses for captions — closed captioning — is a way for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to be able to access and understand the audio portions of a video.

What are video subtitles?

Subtitles convey only the dialogue or narration happening in a video.

Subtitles used for translating one language to another would likely also include translations of any foreign language text shown on the screen.

What are video subtitles

Benefits of adding subtitles and captions to your videos

While there are many advantages of adding subtitles to your videos, one of the greatest benefits is how it makes your content accessible to a larger and more diverse audience. 

For example, for people with impaired hearing, subtitles ensure they can understand and enjoy your video content. Even for those who aren’t hearing impaired, subtitles can significantly improve comprehension, which is especially true when there’s background noise in the recording.

Another benefit of adding subtitles is that they can boost your video’s SEO. Search engines rely on metadata when trying to understand the content of a video, this includes titles, descriptions, and — you guessed it — subtitles. By adding subtitles, you’re providing search engines with more information, which increases the likelihood of your video ranking higher in search results.

Subtitles can also help to increase engagement with your video. In noisy environments or public places, viewers might be unable to turn up the volume of their device to hear the video’s audio. However, with subtitles, they can easily follow and engage with your content, no matter where they are.

If you found this guide helpful, you might also enjoy learning how to record the perfect live streaming video, how to fix blurry video, and how to make a video template.

Add subtitles to your videos now!

Download a free trial of Camtasia to seamlessly add subtitles to your video.

Download Now
Camtasia icon

What type of videos need subtitles?

The way people consume media has changed a lot and it’s important not to make any assumptions about who your audience are, where they are, or the device they’re using. For every video you create, there is always a chance that it will be viewed on desktop computers and handheld devices, in home offices, cafes, and on public transport. 

As you can’t predict where you’re audience will be watching from or what device they’ll be using, you need to prepare for all possibilities, and adding subtitles to all your videos is one of the best ways to do exactly that. 

By ensuring your videos can be enjoyed by everyone, you’ll be increasing the chances of your content being both discovered and engaged with. 

Subtitles for social media

On many social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, videos will — by default — play without any sound. Many users will even watch a social media video without turning up the volume on their device. As such, having subtitles on your video is essential to capturing a viewer’s attention and ensuring your content is accessible. 

Subtitles can also be translated into different languages and help non-native speakers better understand your video and digest the information you’re trying to convey. 

As a side note, you might also want to learn how to rotate a video before uploading it to social media, as some platforms will only play video content vertically. 

Subtitles for education

Subtitles are equally important when it comes to creating educational videos. By making it easier to follow and understand what’s happening on screen, reinforcing key concepts, and improving knowledge retention, subtitles can enrich a pupil’s learning experience

Furthermore, students who might struggle to follow spoken lectures can read along with the text, ensuring that they don’t miss any important information. Subtitles can also be translated into different languages, making educational videos more inclusive and accessible for international students.

Subtitles for business

Subtitles in business videos can increase engagement and retention among employees and customers, making the content more memorable and impactful. Whether it’s a video for internal communication or technical communication, including subtitles in your business videos will ensure your message is accessible to everyone, no matter where they are, or what device they’re watching on. 

Subtitles can also help reinforce key points and ideas, making it more likely that the information will be remembered and acted on. Adding subtitles to business videos is a simple and effective way to ensure that messages are communicated clearly and effectively to all audiences across a range of formats and platforms.

Add subtitles to videos, FAQs

How to add subtitles to a video on iPhone?

With TechSmith’s Capture app, available in the App Store, you can easily record your iPhone screen and import media from Photos. From there, your videos can be quickly transferred to Camtasia to add subtitles.

How to add subtitles to a video in iMovie?

iMovie doesn’t have a straightforward function to add subtitles to a video, but you can use “Titles” to function as subtitles. To do this, to the “Titles”, choose a title you like and drag it to where it needs to appear in the Timeline Viewer. You’ll need to write and synchronize each subtitle manually, but iMovie does let you adjust the font, size, color, and position.

How to add subtitles to a video in VLC?

The easiest way to add subtitles to a video in VLC is to go to the “Subtitles” menu and choose “Add Subtitle File”. You can then select your subtitle file and adjust the subtitle delay and synchronization as needed.

Can you create video subtitles automatically?

Yes! Here’s how to add subtitles to a video automatically with Camtasia. Simply use the “Speech-to-Text” function (currently only available on Windows), which generates subtitles by transcribing the audio in your video. Once the subtitles have been created, you can edit and customize them as needed.

How to add subtitles to a video premiere pro?

To add subtitles to a video in Premiere Pro, you can use the “Captions” feature and create a new caption track. You can then input and customize your subtitles, adjusting the font, size, color, and position as desired.