How to add and edit YouTube subtitles to your videos in 4 different ways

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How to add and edit YouTube subtitles to your videos in 4 different ways
There's a handful of different ways to add subtitles to your YouTube videos. 10'000 Hours/Getty Images
  • You can add subtitles to your YouTube videos a few different ways, like uploading a pre-written file or using auto-sync.
  • For some videos uploaded to YouTube, captions will automatically generate.
  • If you choose to manually add captions, there are keyboard shortcuts to help you speed things up.

When you make YouTube videos, it's important to consider your audience, including viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing. Adding subtitles and captions is one way to make your videos more accessible so more people can watch and enjoy your content.

Here's what you need to know to add subtitles and captions to your YouTube videos.

Quick tip: You can view subtitles on a video you're watching on YouTube by clicking the "CC" button at the bottom of the video.

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How to add subtitles on YouTube Studio

There are several options for adding subtitles: uploading a pre-written file, using auto-sync, typing them out manually, or using auto-translate.

Upload a pre-written file

Uploading a file that contains what is said in the video is one way to add captions to a video.

Quick tip: For this to work, you have to have the right file type. For example, a SubRip, SubViewer, or LRC will work, when properly formatted.

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1. Sign in to your YouTube Studio account.

2. Select Subtitles, located in the left sidebar.

How to add and edit YouTube subtitles to your videos in 4 different ways
Click "Subtitles" on the left. Devon Delfino

3. Click the video that you'd like to edit.

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4. Select Add Language and select your preferred language.

5. Under Subtitles, click Add.

How to add and edit YouTube subtitles to your videos in 4 different ways
Click "Add." Devon Delfino

6. Select Upload file.

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How to add and edit YouTube subtitles to your videos in 4 different ways
Click "Upload file." Devon Delfino

7. Choose either With timing or Without timing, before selecting Continue.

How to add and edit YouTube subtitles to your videos in 4 different ways
Select an option and hit "Continue." Devon Delfino

8. Choose the file you want to upload.

9. Hit Save Draft or Publish.

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How to add and edit YouTube subtitles to your videos in 4 different ways
Either save your draft or hit "Publish." Devon Delfino

Auto-sync

Auto-sync lets you type out your transcript all at once, and then the transcript is automatically synced to the timing of your video.

1. Go into YouTube Studio and select Subtitles in the left sidebar.

2. Select your video from the list and then click Add, located under subtitles.

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3. Choose Auto-sync in the pop-up menu.

How to add and edit YouTube subtitles to your videos in 4 different ways
Click "Auto-sync." Devon Delfino

4. Type in the entire transcript of your video in the text box to the left, or click the three dots next to Edit Timings and choose Upload file.

How to add and edit YouTube subtitles to your videos in 4 different ways
If you don't want to type in your transcript, you can instead upload a file containing your transcript. Devon Delfino

Important: The transcript you use must be in a language supported by YouTube speech recognition technology and the audio quality must be good.

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5. Once you've added the text or uploaded your file, select Edit Timings.

How to add and edit YouTube subtitles to your videos in 4 different ways
Click "Edit Timings." Devon Delfino

6. Click Save and Close.

Type manually

1. Log into your YouTube Studio account.

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2. Choose Subtitles in the left sidebar.

3. Select your desired video.

4. Click Add, under Subtitles.

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5. Select Type manually.

How to add and edit YouTube subtitles to your videos in 4 different ways
Click "Type manually." Devon Delfino

6. Play the video and enter your captions or subtitles, adjusting the timestamps as necessary. You should add text tags like [applause] or [thunder] to help give viewers necessary context.

How to add and edit YouTube subtitles to your videos in 4 different ways
Type your text in the box on the left. Devon Delfino

7. Select Publish when ready.

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Using keyboard shortcuts while adding your captions can speed up the process:

  • Shift + left arrow: Go back 1 second.
  • Shift + right arrow: Go forward 1 second.
  • Shift + space: Pause or play your video.
  • Shift + enter: Add a new line.
  • Shift + down arrow: Edit the next subtitle.
  • Shift + up arrow: Edit the previous subtitle.
  • Enter: Add a subtitle.

Auto-translate

YouTube adds automatic captions to certain long-form videos and shorts. Just be aware that this feature is limited to 13 languages.

Automatic captions are also being rolled out for live streams. However, that's limited to English-language streams from those who have over 1,000 subscribers.

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Once generated, you can still review auto-captions and make any necessary changes:

1. Log into your account and go into the YouTube Studio.

2. Choose Subtitles in the left sidebar.

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3. Select the video you want to review.

4. Under Subtitles, click the three dots next to the video you want to review or edit.

5. Review the auto-captions, and Edit or Remove parts of the auto-captions, as desired.

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If you're seeing a lot of errors in your auto-captions, there are several key reasons why that could be happening, which you can watch out for when making future videos:

  • Captions aren't available yet because there's complex audio in your video.
  • The language in the video uses a language that isn't supported for auto-captions.
  • The video is too long for auto-captions.
  • There's poor sound quality, or YouTube isn't recognizing the speech.
  • A long period of silence at the beginning of the video is preventing auto-captions from working.
  • There are multiple speakers in the video, with overlapping speech.
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