Most of us don’t consider ourselves teachers or trainers, but at some point, nearly all of us will have to show a colleague or a customer how to do something.
A training video or an instructional video — which are similar, but not the same — are both great ways to guide someone through a process, teach new skills, or train someone on a new system. But sometimes, merely showing someone what to do and how to do it isn’t enough.
Adding text to a video can add more clarity, help identify what you’re trying to show, and inject life into your explanation.
But how exactly do you add text to video? Well, the good news is, it’s incredibly easy. And the other good news is we’re going to show you how to add text to a video in this post.
Here’s what we’ll cover in this post:
- Five reasons to add text to a video
- How to add text to videos in five easy steps
- How to go beyond basic text
- How lower-thirds can help add clarity to your videos
Note: This post is not about how to add captions or subtitles to a video. However, you can learn how to add captions or subtitles to a video, by clicking here.
Why add text to video?
Video has proven to be an incredible learning tool because it provides everything your viewers need to see on one screen. You can literally show people what you know, so why would you need to add text?
Well, there are a lot of reasons, such as:
- Show your video’s title
- Identify something or someone on the screen
- Provide more context as to what’s being shown
- Draw attention to a detail that might go unnoticed
- Show a series of steps
We could go on, but these reasons alone should be more than enough to show how important it can be to add text to videos, and the role it plays in ensuring your audience get the information they need.
To be clear, when we talk about adding text to a video, we mean adding dynamic text that’s actually part of the video. You could add a static image of text onto the screen, but it’s much easier and more efficient to do it right in your video editor.
By using your video editing software to add text when you’re actually editing your video, you’ll be making it much easier to update and edit the text in the future.
How to add text to a video
One of the best things about TechSmith’s Camtasia is that, unlike other video editing tools, it’s super quick and easy to add text to a video — and we’ll prove it to you!
Step 1: Choose annotations
With Camtasia open, head to the Annotations tab in the menu on the left-hand side of the editing suite.
Step 2: Pick your style
Next, choose the style of annotation you want to add and drag it to the Timeline where you want it to appear.
Step 3: Place the Playhead
Place the Playhead over the area on the Timeline where your annotation appears.
Step 4: Position your text box
On the Canvas, click and drag your text box to the position where you want it on the screen, and use the handles to make it bigger or smaller as needed.
Step 5: Add your text
Double-click in the text box and add your text.
That’s it. That’s how to add text to a video in Camtasia. It really is that simple.
And to make your life even easier, this works regardless of whether you created your video in Camtasia or imported it from another source.
Beyond the basics: How to enhance your text for greater impact
If basic text is all you need, that’s great, but if you’d like to learn how to customize and animate the text in your videos then let us enlighten you further.
Camtasia offers a ton of ways to enhance your text and help it have an even greater impact. For example, instead of plain text, you can use annotations such as arrows, speech bubbles, and shapes as well as a wide range of effects.
Want to change the font, size, color, or other properties of your text? With your text box selected, click the Properties button to open the Properties panel. This is where you can change all of the attributes and settings that determine how your text looks.
You can make all kinds of changes, including the ones mentioned above. You can even select a theme if you have one, change your text’s alignment, and more.
Next, you can click on the Film icon to change things like the size of your text box, its opacity, rotation, and positioning. The rotation and position properties are particularly useful if you want to start animating your text — but let’s keep things simple for now.
You can also change most of these visual properties directly on the canvas as well. All you need to do is click and drag any of the several anchor points in and around the text box.
You can also adjust the length of time that your text appears in the video by dragging the edges of the clip on the Timeline. Simply click and drag it to where you want it to be.
If you did want to make your text come alive with a little added motion, you can do that too!
This is where Camtasia’s Behaviors — which are dynamic sequences of animation — come in. These can be great for drawing attention to your message while adding some flare. To get started, click on the Behaviors tab in the menu. This will open up the wide variety of different Behaviors that are available.
You can preview what each Behavior does by hovering your cursor over them. When you find one you want to use, click and drag it to the Timeline and drop it on the text or clip you want to animate. Simple!
When you add your text to the Timeline, it will appear suddenly and disappear just as suddenly when its time is up. Transitions help soften this and add elegance to how your text appears on the screen.
To add a transition, click on the Transitions tab in the menu to see the available transitions. Just like Behaviors, you can hover over each one to see what it looks like in action.
When you find a transition you like, drag and drop it onto your text on the Timeline. Transitions can be applied to both ends of a clip at once, or separately.
One of our favorite transitions is Fade. It’s subtle and does a nice job of softening the appearance and disappearance of your text without distracting the viewer.
Whatever transition you choose, we’d suggest using the same one throughout your video. Using different transitions can give your video an amateur or unpolished look.
Lower thirds from TechSmith Assets for Camtasia
Camtasia comes bundled with a cool selection of free assets, such as intros and outros, music, icons, and loads more.
As well as the usual assets, Camtasia also comes with a nice selection of lower thirds. Also called chyrons, these are the combinations of text and graphics often used to identify people speaking on screen. If you’ve ever watched a TV news broadcast, then you’ll have seen a lower third in action.
While you can certainly use plain text instead of a lower third, using one of these from the vast TechSmith Assets Library will add style and finesse to your video.
To insert a lower third into your video, go to the Media tab in the left-side menu and click on the Library icon, which looks like three books standing next to each other. Scroll down to the Titles folder and click on it. This is where you’ll find Title assets, including lower thirds.
Next, select the one you want and click and drag it to where you want it to appear on the canvas. You can also drag it directly to the timeline, which will make itl appear on the lower-left of the canvas by default.
But don’t worry, you can customize these as much as you want by opening the Properties pane.
Snagit can do it, too
Adding text to video isn’t exclusive to Camtasia. With TechSmith’s Snagit, you can use the Create Video from Images feature, which creates videos from a series of screenshots or other images.
You can then add annotations (including text and other callouts) as you record your video. It’s not the same process, but for basic videos, the results can be just as impactful.
Keep accessibility in mind
As with any content, whenever possible, videos should be accessible to people with disabilities or who may use accessibility tools.
While a person who is blind or visually impaired may not be able to see your video, they may be able to learn through the audio portion of the video along with an audio description. That description should include anything that is only presented visually, including any text that appears on the screen.
While a video without text can be impactful, interesting, and effective, adding text can enhance understanding and bring more clarity. In fact, nearly all videos can be improved with some added text — even if it’s just to highlight the title of your video.
Fortunately, we’ve made it super easy to add professional-looking text and effects using Camtasia. But that’s not all, with Camtasia you can change the speed of a video, add music to your footage, and even seamlessly sync audio and video sources. If you don’t have Camtasia already, you can download and try Camtasia for free, without needing to hand over your credit card details. So what are you waiting for?