How to Add YouTube Captions

In this video, I'll show you how to add YouTube captions (also known as YouTube Subtitles) to your videos. I'll also show you how to download the automatically generated subtitle file, so you can fix up anything that hasn't been automatically transcribed well and re-upload the fixed file.

It's super easy and only takes a few minutes.

Contents of this video:

0:23 How to add YouTube captions
2:01 What to do if you don't have a video transcript
2:18 How to download YouTube subtitles

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How to add YouTube Captions – Transcript

How to add YouTube captions is what this video is all about, so let’s get started!
From anywhere in YouTube, go up to your profile picture in the top right of your screen, then go down and click on YouTube studio.
Then we’re going to go to the YouTube studio menu on the left hand side and click on Subtitles.
All the videos that you’ve published will be listed – just choose the video that you want to add captions to and click on the down arrow in the languages column.
Every video should have two subtitle entries, the first row is an automatically generated entry with the subtitles that YouTube has worked out for your video. The second row is for Creator published subtitles and this is where we’re going to add our captions.
In the subtitles column, click on the blue link that says ‘ADD’.
There are actually three different ways to upload subtitles in this editor, if you already have a subtitle file – then you can upload it straight away.
The second way is to upload a text file, without timings, and get YouTube to sync it up with your video.
The third way is to go through your video bit by bit, type in what you hear, then move it on to the next bit. That takes AGES and there are much faster free options available for getting videos transcribed.
OK, to add captions to MY videos, I use the second option. All I do is go to wherever my video script is, or my transcribed text, copy everything, paste it into the box, and click on the blue button to set my timings.
Now what’s going to happen is that YouTube will go through and sync the text with my spoken words and add the timings.
The final step is to approve the new subtitles, and to do that we need to go to the Drafts tab in our YouTube studio Subtitles area. Click on the down arrow, and you’ll notice that under the subtitles column it says ‘Draft by Creator’. Click on the three dots and then click edit.
Playing this video will show you how it looks with its shiny new subtitles, and if you want you can edit the timings or the words if you notice any significant mistakes.
When you’re happy with the timings, click on the Publish button.
If we go back to the main subtitles page and click the down arrow, you can see that there is a set of subtitles published by the video creator
What should you do if you don’t already have a transcript for your video?
Well, you could use a free service like to transcribe it, then upload the text using the process I just showed you, or you can download the automatically generated subtitles from YouTube, fix up any mistakes, and re-upload them as a subtitles file.
To download your subtitle file, in the subtitle editor you just go to the automatically generated subtitle, click the three dots next to it, and go to ‘download’. Choose a format – I normally go with .srt – and download the file.
Then, you can use a text editor to go through and make any changes that are necessary. When you’re done, save the file, go back into the YouTube Studio Subtitles area and click the add button to upload the subtitle file.
Pretty straight forward isn’t it? If you learned something about adding YouTube captions in this video, make sure you give it a thumbs up, and if you’re a YouTube Creator and you’re trying to grow your channel, you’ll want to subscribe to this channel so you can see more videos like this one, as soon as they go live.
Blue skies!