Do you know how to add captions to YouTube videos? Or, why is captioning so important in YouTube videos?

YouTube enjoys global support, from people who host their videos on its platform to those who walk in to learn, have fun or stay abreast with current happenings. With the growing number of technology users, every need to accommodate even people living with disabilities is necessary.

Due to different individual needs ranging from poor internet to disabilities (including speech and hearing), following a YouTube video may not be all that easy and smooth; this is where captioning comes in. Captions are a welcome development in social media because they allow for better communication between video content developers and viewers.

While watching a YouTube video, captions give viewers two distinct options: to follow the video and audio or follow the captions. These can be done interchangeably, depending on the viewer's discretion. Captions also allow for a wider audience reach because it means more people can easily follow your video.

Haven established that; let's now learn how to add captions to YouTube videos.

Part 1: What is a Caption?

Captions are portions of a transcript text that have been time-coded to automatically synchronize with the audio of a video file, referred to as "caption frames." According to a Nielson poll, an individual spends 6 hours of their online time watching videos daily, 41% of online videos are vague and incomprehensible without captions, and 500 million people watch videos on Facebook daily! And hey, YouTube enjoys a much larger audience. That means that if you want your video ranking high on SEO and showing up to a broader audience, then you should learn how to add captions to YouTube videos. In a video, captions convey narration, dialogue, and any other audio effects, including background music, background noises such as the chirping of a bird, clapping of hands, and any different sound that makes understanding the video simpler. In practice now, for your YouTube videos to term "accessible," those elements must be in your captions.

Furthermore, captions allow videos to be accessible to a larger audience, including the deaf, hard-of-hearing community, and people suffering from attention disorders. They are now more critical than ever due to the evolution in technology, the increase in the use of videos for communication, and the more significant population of people who now subscribe to videos for their different needs. While we use captions and subtitles often interchangeably, they are entirely different. While subtitles include only the narration and dialogue within a video, captions are broader in that they contain and convey the dialogue, narration, and any other audio within the video.

Part 2: Different Ways to Add Captions to YouTube Videos

If you're considering how to add close captioning to a YouTube video, then you're at the right place! There are many different ways to achieve these but bear in mind that you cannot add captions to YouTube videos that are not yours; this means that the YouTube account wherein the video hosted must be yours. Let's now look at some of the ways you can add captions to YouTube videos:

1. YouTube Caption Editor

For most videos uploaded on YouTube using speech recognition technology, YouTube automatically generates captions for them. The prime drawback of this method is that the machine-generated captions are usually inaccurate and require some more corrections. If the errors are minimal, then you can easily make the corrections there on YouTube.

2. Do It Yourself

Here, you can employ the services of tools and applications that allow you to caption your YouTube videos. All you have to do is select one of such tools, download (if it's not available for online use), and follow the steps. It generates a caption file that you can add to your YouTube videos.

3. Outsource

There are technology companies out there that will caption your YouTube videos for free. Examples of such companies include cielo24, Automatic Sync Technologies, 3PlayMedia, etc. Contact them and follow their prompts! Like the option of doing it yourself, this method also generates a caption file with time codes that indicate the start and stop times. The caption file would usually be in WebVVT, SRT, or TTML format, which YouTube supports.

4. Automatic Captioning

YouTube's machine learning algorithm carries out this type of captioning. Due to accents, mispronunciations, background noise, dialect, and other factors, there could be a misrepresentation of the spoken content. As such, video content creators should upload professional captions first. Constantly review and edit automatic captions to ensure you have appropriately transcribed. Currently, automatic captions are available in Vietnamese, Portuguese, Italian, English, Dutch, Korean, Spanish, Turkish, German, and Russian.

Part 3: How to Add Captions to YouTube Videos

Now that we know how to put captions on YouTube, let's consider a step-by-step approach of doing it:

Step 1: Launch YouTube > Log in > From the drop-down menu, select YouTube Studio.

Step 2: From the left side menu, click subtitles, then select the video's title you'd like to caption.

Step 3: From the subtitle menu, hit ADD to open a new dialog box from which you can add a captions file.

Step 4: From the three choices in the dialog box, click Upload a file to open a new dialog box.

Step 5: Select subtitles file. Using the choose file button, locate your captions file, then click Upload at the bottom right corner.

Part 4: Best Way to Add Captions to YouTube Videos

Apart from the above-discussed method of adding close captioning on YouTube, adding them before uploading is another best choice. Whatever the case, hang on! Have you ever heard of Filmii? Filmii is video editing software that provides you with unique, top-notch video editing options, making video creation and editing simpler, faster, hassle-free, and even better. With its over 250 in-built text options like subtitles, lower thirds, titles, corners, etc., this tool is the right stop for adding captions to your YouTube videos. Designers, video creators, and video editors agree that Filmii provides you the best way of adding captions to your YouTube videos.


  • Video cropping, cutting, and other editing options
  • Presets for direct export to different social media sites
  • Multiple filters and overlays
  • Motion effects and stickers
  • Wide variety of in-built text options.

This 3-step guide would teach you how to put captions on YouTube videos:

Step 1: Log in to Filmii

Launch Filmii and click Import File to upload the video you want to caption. Add the clip to the timeline by dragging and dropping the video or right-click the video and choose the Add to Timeline button.

Step 2: Choose the texts option

On the right corner, click on the icon that looks like TI (in capital letters) to select from the different text options.

texts in filmii

To add captions to your YouTube videos, select Subtitles, right-click on it, and hit Apply.

Step 3: Customize the captions

Customize captions from the window right next to the preview window. You can alter the font style, size, color, text opacity, etc. Preview the captioned YouTube video, then click Export at the top of the screen.


So far, we have highlighted what captions are and how to add close captioning on YouTube. We also looked at the different ways of adding captions to YouTube videos. Going further, we considered steps by which you can successfully add captions to any of your YouTube videos. Finally, we discussed the best way to add captions through Filmii and a practical interpretation on how to put captions on YouTube at ease!