DIY Captioning

Why caption video?

  • Required for accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
  • For anyone in noisy situations, when the audio quality is poor, or where noise isn't allowed
  • Make your video text searchable by search engines
  • Increase comprehension, especially for people with English as a second language

How to caption video

Upload the video to YouTube 

The video has to be in your YouTube.

If it's not your video, see download video. Be aware of copyright issues!

Download the automatic captions

Thanks to Market Duru, which has an instructional video at

  1. In your YouTube, choose Video Manager.

  2. In the Edit pulldown menu, choose Captions.

    in the edit menu next to the video, choose Captions

  3. Click on English machine transcription, then Download. The name of the file will be captions.svb.

    click the Download button to download the automatic captions/li>

Edit the captions

  1. Open the captions.sbv file in Notepad.

    an example of a downloaded automatic captions file

  2.  Remove the timestamps and correct the captions. Put linebreaks so that there are no more than about 10 words per line.

    corrected caption text with timestamps removed

Get the correct timestamps

Go to

  1. Paste in the URL of your YouTube video.

  2. Paste in the edited captions in your captions.svb file.

  3. Click Play to start the video, and click Add timestamps by clicking a when you hear each line.

  4. When you’re done, you’ll see your captions file with timestamps added.

    paste your corrected captions into the field

Upload your corrected captions to the video

  1. Copy and paste into a Notepad file.

  2. Save it as a .sub file (not caption.sub.txt).

    do a Save As and give the file a .mpeg4 extension

  3. Go back to your video in YouTube and choose Add new captions.

    choose Add new captions

  4. Upload your corrected captions file.

    upload your captions file

  5. Disable the automatic captions by clicking the green button next to English so that it is no longer green and highlighted. Make sure the button next to your captions is green and highlighted.

    disable the machine transcription

  6. Enjoy your video with captions!