This guide will walk you through the process of adding subtitles or captions to your Facebook videos. Video content is a growing part of the Facebook experience and one which businesses should be taking advantage of.

In the first quarter of 2017, 93% of all videos took place with the sound off. Facebook found that adding captions to videos increases the watch time by an average of 12%. So it’s important to add captions to any videos that feature spoken word to make sure people can engage with your video and not simply scroll onto the next.

There are various different ways to add captions and we’ll walk you through some of the simplest in this guide. You can select from Steps 4, 5 and 6 depending on which method you choose.

People have had varying success with these techniques, and it’s far from being a slick system. For example, we’ve noticed ourselves that Facebook sometimes doesn’t allow us to upload a subtitle file. However, hopefully between the methods we’ve highlighted below you’ll find something that works for you. If not, you can always drop Facebook support a line.

OK, ready? Let’s begin…

Subtitles are held in a files separate to the video itself. They’re called SubRip files and have the extension .srt. Think of them as layers that sit on top of the video that the person watching can turn on or off. You can add more than one caption (or .srt) file to each video to offer different language options.

So, first we’ll need to create our subtitle file.

For Mac:

  1. Open your video in your preferred player
  2. Open TextEdit, Mac’s standard simple text editor
  3. Go to File > New
  4. Click Format > Make plain text

TextEdit_MakePlainText

For PC:

  1. Open Notepad, start a new document

If it’s your first time it might be worth doing a short test using just the first few lines of text, before spending time transcribing everything in case there’s a problem. Watch through your video and type out all the spoken words.

Start a new line for each section or sentence. Keep the sections short, a maximum of 32 characters across two lines is ideal, shorter if possible. Don’t give the viewer too much to read, or not enough time to read it. You’ll quickly get a sense of this when you play it back yourself.

Make a note of the timings

Watch through the video again and make a note of the start and end timings you want for each caption in this format:

00:00:00,000 (Hours:Minutes:Seconds,Milliseconds)

Don’t worry if you can’t see a millisecond counter on your video player. Getting the caption to come in at the nearest second is normally good enough, but you can always tweak the timings if you think it’s needed.

The third element you need is the number of each section. These just run in sequence from 1 upwards.

Now you can piece the three elements together, like so…

1
00:00:02,000 –> 00:00:06,000
This is how you create a SubRip file

2
00:00:07,000 –> 00:00:12,000
It’s easy when you know how

3
00:00:14,000 –> 00:00:18,500
Just follow the step by step instructions

NB: Make sure to follow the formatting exactly as above and that there aren’t spaces before or after any of the lines, as this can confuse things.

When you’re happy with your .srt click File > Save

You’ll need to give your file a name in a specific format:

Filename.en_GB.srt

This indicates the language (en = English) and country (GB=Great Britain). If you want different languages and countries you can find other country codes here.

For Mac:

  1. Make sure the file type is Unicode (UTF-8)
  2. Uncheck the Hide extension and If no extension is provided, use “txt” boxes at the bottom
  3. If it asks, make sure to use the .srt file ending

Facebook Captions TextEdit Filename

For PC:

  1. Under Save as type select All Files

You can repeat this process for multiple languages, changing the file name each time.

Now you’ve got your subtitle / .srt file ready, let’s look at how to upload it.

  • Go to your Facebook business page and click Share a Photo or Video then Upload Photos/Video

  • Find your video file and click Open. It should start uploading now.

  • Give it a title, click on the Captions tab, then the Upload SRT file button.

Upload your .srt file

  • Select the .srt file you’ve just created and click Open

  • If applicable set the default language
  • Then click Publish

The method varies slightly depending on whether you’re editing your profile/page directly, or via the Facebook Business Manager.

Using a profile or page

Look for the three dots on the top right of your video screen, then click Edit video

Edit Facebook Video via Page

 

Using Facebook Business Manager

Go to Video Manager and look for the sheet of paper and pen icon and click Edit video

 

  • Click on the Captions tab, then the Upload SRT file button.
  • Select the file you’ve already created and hit Open
  • Then click Publish

For some users and videos, where the spoken words are particularly clear Facebook will offer an option to generate captions semi-automatically.

If this is the case you can upload your video as usual and instead of uploading an .srt file you can click the Generate button. Facebook auto detects the words and timings.

The results will need tweaking as it won’t understand everything (especially names) but it might make life easier. Just change the start and end points and type in the text.

Then hit Save To Video.

You may need to adjust your video settings to control how and when your subtitles will appear. Click here to edit your video settings.

We recommend turning Always show captions to On. You can also change the text and background colour and size, by clicking Edit in the Captions display section.