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How to Force Closed Captions on YouTube

Daniel Chang
Daniel Chang
Posted in Zoom Mar 25 · 26 Mar, 2022
How to Force Closed Captions on YouTube

YouTube is the world’s most prominent video streaming and social media platform. People use YouTube for everything from news updates to learning new skills and enjoying some downtime.

With such a wide variety of uses and a vast, diverse community of viewers, closed captioning is a handy and necessary feature. But what can you do if captions are not available for a particular video? Learn how to force YouTube closed captions below.

Make YouTube Force Closed Captions

Closed captioning (sometimes mistakenly referred to as subtitles) is the text transcription of whatever video you watch. You often see closed captioning in movies and television shows, and more recently, on YouTube videos. 

Closed captioning is essential for many people and in various circumstances. If you need to keep things quiet or want some help hearing that dialog, captions can help you focus on the content in any situation.

There are several options available to both YouTube viewers and creators when it comes to caption display. Follow these steps to get started.

How To Force Captions on YouTube as a Viewer

The first step to enabling captions as a viewer is to log in to your YouTube account. This initial step may seem obvious, but considering the myriad of devices that stream YouTube, you might need to sign in on some of them.

Once logged in, click on any video to begin playing it. While the video is playing, click or tap on the Settings ⚙︎ icon and select Subtitles/CC. Pick your preferred language from the list to begin displaying captions. Your choice will persist across the YouTube platform. 

Keep in mind that YouTube captions may not always be accurate. When creators have not published captions for a video, YouTube will automatically generate captions using speech recognition software. While artificial intelligence improves, we recommend not relying on auto-generated captioning for mission-critical applications. In such cases, human-verified captions are the best choice.

How To Force Captions on YouTube as a Creator

Views are the lifeblood of YouTube creators, and you want as many people as possible to watch your content. With that in mind, your videos need to be accessible. Closed captions are essential for people with hearing difficulties to enjoy your material and open a new viewer demographic to your channel.

As a YouTube creator, captioning is a two-fold process, requiring some time to think about the captions’ context and content. While some people only think about word-for-word transcriptions of what’s said, closed captions are more than simple conversions. Textual cues should accurately convey audible non-verbal sounds such as sirens, doorbells, barking, etc. You typically need to write these yourself, as speech-recognition software will skip these sounds. For professional videos requiring high-quality captioning, you should consider a professional caption transcription service such as GoTranscript.

Once you have your caption text, follow these steps to force captions on your video.

  1. Visit and locate the video you want to caption

  2. Click the Edit Video ✎ icon

  3. Click Subtitles in the left-hand column

  4. YouTube will try to autodetect the video’s language and auto-generate subtitles. You will either need to edit the default text by clicking Duplicate and Edit or click the Add Language button to add captions in another language.

The next step involves carefully synchronizing the spoken dialog with the written text using video time-codes. If you opt to use a professional captioning service, they will handle this for you; copy and paste the finished text into the box. Otherwise, you will need to painstakingly time each line of dialog one by one.

When you are finished, click the Save button and wait for YouTube to process the captions.

The final step is to set the captions to show up whenever people watch your video. This step is crucial because it provides a seamless viewing experience, making your video friendly to the hearing impaired.

From the Edit Video Details screen, scroll down and click the Show more link. Find the Tags list and add the following tag:


The tag should be all lowercase with no spaces. When you have added the tag, click Save. Now your captions will show whenever someone watches your video, regardless of what device they use or their settings.

In Summary

YouTube is the most popular video streaming platform on the planet. With such a diverse crowd, millions of viewers rely on captions for various reasons.

Make your videos more friendly and accessible with our premier closed captioning service. Our captioning experts will give your transcript exceptional care with fine attention to detail, ensuring that your video will read as great as it sounds.