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VLC Subtitles: 3 Quick Steps to Add Captions to VLC Media Player Videos

Andrew Russo
Andrew Russo
Posted in Zoom Sep 4 · 7 Sep, 2022
VLC Subtitles: 3 Quick Steps to Add Captions to VLC Media Player Videos

How to add VLC subtitles and captions to VLC media player videos? Media players have become essential in every computer in the world, may it be personal, work, or the computers you can keep in your pocket. However, not all media players have the same features, and enthusiasts have their own preferences to certain media players depending on the features it carries with it.

One such media player that is loved by quite a lot – if not all – of the people in the world is the one developed by VideoLAN Organization: VLC Media Player. What’s great about this media player is that aside from being open source, it is completely free and available across multiple platforms.

The media player can play a lot of multimedia files, including files, discs, webcams, devices, and even streams!

What’s more is that it can play different file types or codecs without the need for codec packs, including MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MKV, MP3, and even H.264. Almost anyone with a computer can use it, as it is available on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Unix, iOS, and Android.

It is a very versatile media player, and in just a couple of clicks, you can add VLC subtitles to different videos like movies.

In this article, we will be talking about how you can add VLC subtitles to a movie or a video of your choice. We’ll try to keep it as simple as how the media player makes adding VLC subtitles simple, so read on to know more!

VLC Subtitles

Why Add Subtitles?

A lot of movies these days are focused greatly on sound, most especially the sound effects.

People have become more and more aware and critical of the sounds that come in a movie, and directors and producers are aware of that.

For that reason, they tend to amplify the volume of the sound effects. And while that enhances the experience of watching the movie, there is a downside to it.

 One of the sacrifices this makes is masking the dialogue between characters – dialogue that can be very crucial to the story.

If not the sound effects, then the voice filters that producers use could make it hard to understand whenever a certain character is speaking, which can really ruin the experience in a movie.

That is why subtitles can be a crucial aspect in a movie, as it helps the audience keep track of the storyline. 

 Another reason why subtitles can be very crucial is because not everyone has proper hearing. A lot of people suffer from some form of hearing loss. In fact, the WHO estimates that around 5% of the world’s population has some form of hearing illness, which impedes their ability to hear sounds as much as others with normal hearing.

 Lastly, some people simply prefer to watch a movie or a video with subtitles, because for them, it makes understanding and keeping up with the movie much easier than without. This is most especially true when watching fast-paced movies like action films, as the dialogue can also tend to be fast and hard to pace with just based on sound, so in order to stay on track, people watch movies with subtitles.

 For these reasons and more, VLC subtitles are very easy to add on the well-loved media player. In just a couple of few and easy steps, users are able to add VLC subtitles to movies and videos whenever they feel like it in just a matter of seconds. These steps are very hassle-free, and anyone who has access to the internet can do it if they just took the time to learn.

 So without further ado, let’s dive in and see how you can add VLC subtitles to any movie or video you like!

VLC Subtitles

Step 1: Downloading VLC Subtitles

Before you can actually add VLC subtitles to your video, you need to have the file first. A lot of movie files tend to contain only the movie alone, which means that even if you progress to the next steps, you still won’t be able to get subtitles.

Subtitles are created through coding, and the code often has its own file separate from the video file. If you can’t find a subtitle file within the folder, then you will have to download it yourself.

 However, this isn’t something you should be afraid of, as downloading subtitles has been made accessible and easy thanks to the internet. There are sites you can download VLC subtitles files from, most of which you can find by typing in the title of the video followed by the word subtitles in your preferred search engine. 

 If you’d rather play it safe, there are sites you can go to that will provide you a review of the actual websites you can download VLC subtitles from. A word of precaution though: just like any other download, there are risks to adding these files on your computer, as they may contain harmful data intended to ruin your computer or hard drive. So be very careful before you hit the download button.

VLC Subtitles: Supported Formats

Now that you’ve found a website you can download subtitles from, you also have to consider whether the file type is compatible with or supported by the VLC media player or not, as only supported files will actually work.

You’ll be able to tell that the site you’re downloading from is good because it shows you the file types you are about to download, so double check with VLC media player if the file type is supported or not.

 To make things simpler for you, here is a list of the supported subtitle formats on VLC media player:

1.     *.idx (VOBSub)

2.     *.usf (Universal Subtitle)

3.     *.svcd (Super Video CD)

4.     *.srt (SubRip)

5.     *.ssa (Sub Station Alpha)

6.     *.smi (SAMI)

7.     *.rt (RealText/Smil)

8.     *.psb (PowerDivX)

9.     *.txt (ML2/VPlayer)

10. *.pjs (Phoenix Subtitle)

11. *.aqt (AQTitle)

12. *.dks (DKS)

13. *.mpl (ML2)

14. *.cvd (Chaoji VCD)

15. *.jss (JACOSub)

16. *.ttxt (MPEG-4 Timed Text)

17. *.txt (ML2/VPlayer)

The asterisk denotes the file name, and can usually be anything depending on the code author. The most common file type you’ll encounter is .srt or the SubRip format, as it is what most people prefer too. 

Step 2: Preparing the Subtitles

Now that you have the file for your VLC subtitles downloaded, you have to prepare them in order to see them on your video. This step is actually pretty easy, especially if you’ve already downloaded the file to a path or location which you can easily find.  

The first thing you have to do is to locate the subtitle file, which you’ll most likely find in your “Downloads” folder if you got it online. Afterwards, you have to copy the file and relocate it to the same location as the video. It helps to create a folder that already contains the movie so the next time you try to incorporate the subtitles, it won’t be hard to find the file anymore. 

Once you’ve successfully copied the subtitle file into the same folder the video is in, it’s best to rename the file to make it have the same name as the video. You can easily do this by selecting the file and clicking the right button or pressing the touchpad with two fingers, then pressing the “Rename” button on the drop down menu. 

Step 3: Incorporating Subtitles

Now that your subtitle file is prepared in the same folder as the video you wish to watch, it’s time to actually see the subtitles on the video. The first thing you have to do is to open the video file on the VLC media player. If it isn’t your default yet, then you can just select the video, press the right button on your mouse, and select the option “Open with” from the drop down menu.

 From there, you’ll have the option to play the video using the VLC media player. Once the video starts to play, click the “Subtitles” option on the toolbar at the top of the media player, or you can right click on the video to open a drop down menu, which will show you the “Subtitles” option as well.

Clicking on this option will open a second drop down menu, showing you two options. Select the Sub Track option or the Subtitles Track option on Mac OS.

Selecting the Sub Track option prompts the VLC media player to open another drop down menu, which will show you a list of different options. After you select the Track 1 option, you’ll already be able to see the subtitles appear on your video, which is often at the bottom.

Other Methods

Sometimes, the VLC media player will have a hard time detecting subtitle files even if it is already located in the same folder as your video. However, solving this is pretty easy, and is pretty much the same as the third step mentioned above. To do so, you have to open the “Subtitles” option again in the tool bar or the pop-up menu from right clicking on the video.

Instead of selecting the Sub Track option, you have to select the “Add Subtitle File” option. From there, the VLC media player will open a file explorer window. For this method, you have to know the location of the file, otherwise you won’t be able to add subtitles to your video.

Once you’ve located the subtitle file, select and press open. You’ll be automatically redirected to the video once it’s been selected, and the subtitles will automatically appear on the video.

VLC Subtitles

Disabling Subtitles

Sometimes, you’ll find that you don’t actually need the subtitles, or that the subtitles are getting in the way of you enjoying the video as a whole.

For this reason, the VLC media player also provides you the option of removing the subtitles if you wish to change your mind in the middle of the video. Just like adding subtitles to your video, it’s also very simple to do!

 All you have to do is open the drop down menu from the “Subtitles” option again. From there, you have to hover over the “Sub Track” or “Subtitles Track” option, and it will open a second drop down menu. This menu will show you the subtitle options as well as a “Disable” option. Selecting the disable option will automatically remove the subtitles from your screen, so it won’t be bothering you any further.


To some people, subtitles are an essential aspect of watching any video, especially when it’s to understand the dialogue that is happening. Having no subtitles can be a very bad experience to some people, so the best media players want to give them that option to enhance their watching experience. What’s even better is when they make the option easy and accessible for everyone.

Adding VLC subtitles is an example of ease and accessibility, making the VLC media one of the most loved media players among many people. If you just follow the steps mentioned above, then you’ll be able to add subtitles to your video in just a matter of seconds!

Order subtitles today!