How to Add Subtitles to VLC Media Player

Watching videos with subtitles is becoming more and more popular, not only for people with hearing disabilities but also for language learners or anyone who wants to watch movies or TV shows in a foreign language.

If you're a VLC Media Player user, you're in luck because this versatile media player has a built-in subtitle feature that lets you add captions to your videos with ease. With this feature, you can watch your favorite videos with subtitles, whether they are downloaded or streaming, and in any language you prefer.

In this beginners tutorial, we'll guide you through the process of adding subtitles to VLC Media Player, so you can enjoy your favorite videos with ease and without any hassle.

How to add subtitles to VLC videos

There are several ways to add and hardcode subtitles to VLC videos, depending on the source of the subtitle file and the level of customization you require. VLC player is an open-source video player avaliable for Mac, Windows, and Linux devices (like ubuntu). There are plenty of hotkeys and support for open subtitles and sub-tracks. The easiest method is to use VLC's built-in subtitle downloader, which automatically searches for subtitles from various subtitle databases and downloads them for you.

However, this method may not always yield the best results, especially if the video file is rare or the subtitles are not available in the language you require. In such cases, you may need to download subtitles manually and add them to VLC. Additionally, if you want to customize your subtitles' appearance, you can tweak the subtitle settings in VLC to adjust the font, size, and color. In this section, we'll explore different methods of adding subtitles to VLC videos, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs.

1. Embed subtitles within your videos

Simon Says is an automated transcription and captioning service that can help you add burned-in captions to your videos quickly and easily. The process is simple and can be done entirely online, making it an ideal solution for those who need to add captions to their videos quickly or don't have the time or resources to create captions manually.

To get started, you'll need to create a free account on Simon Says and upload your video file. Once the file is uploaded, you'll be prompted to select the language of the video and the type of captions you want to create. For burned-in captions, you'll want to select the "Transcribe & Burned-in Subtitles" option.

After selecting the option, Simon Says will transcribe your video and create captions that match the audio. The process is quick and typically takes only a few minutes, depending on the length of your video. Once the captions are generated, you'll be able to preview them and make any necessary edits or changes.

When you're satisfied with the captions, you can select the "Burn-in" option and choose your preferred caption style, font, size, and position. Simon Says will then process your video with the captions burned in, creating a new video file that includes the captions.

Finally, you can download the new video file and open it in VLC Media Player. The captions will appear on the screen automatically, allowing your viewers to follow along with the video's content. Burned-in captions are an effective way to ensure that everyone can access your video content, including those with hearing impairments or who are in noisy environments. With Simon Says, adding burned-in captions to your videos is a quick and easy process that anyone can do.

2. Use the sidecar captions file in VLC Media Player

VLC Media Player is a popular and versatile media player that offers a range of features to enhance your viewing experience, including the ability to open sidebar captions. Sidebar captions are a convenient option for those who want to view captions alongside the video content without obstructing the view. Here's how to open sidebar captions in VLC Media Player:

First, make sure that you have a subtitle file that corresponds to your video. Subtitle files are typically in the format of .srt or .sub and can be downloaded from various online sources.

Next, open VLC Media Player and load the video file you want to watch. Once the video is loaded, click on the "Subtitle" option in the top subtitle menu bar and select "Subtitle Track."

A drop-down menu will appear, and you'll need to select "Open Subtitle File." This will open a file explorer window, where you can navigate to the location of your subtitle file and select it.

Once you've selected the subtitle file, VLC will automatically load and display the captions in the sidebar. If you can't see the sidebar, click on "View" in the top menu bar and select "Show Subtitle."

You can adjust the size and position of the sidebar by clicking and dragging the edges or corners of the window. You can also change the font, color, and background of the subtitles by clicking on "Tools" in the top menu bar and selecting "Preferences." In the Preferences window, select "Subtitles/OSD" and choose your preferred settings.

If you want to turn off the captions, simply click on the "Subtitle" option in the top menu bar and select "Disable."

Opening sidebar captions in VLC Media Player is a simple process that can greatly enhance your viewing experience. By following these steps, you can easily add subtitles to your video and customize the way they're displayed on the screen. Whether you're watching a foreign film or need captions for accessibility reasons, VLC Media Player makes it easy to view captions in a way that works best for you.

3. Use an addon

If you're looking for a quick and easy way to add subtitles to your videos, using an plugin like VLsub in VLC Media Player is a great option. VLsub is a popular subtitle addon for VLC that allows you to search and download subtitles directly within the media player. Here's how to use VLsub to add subtitles to your videos:

  • First, open VLC Media Player and load the video you want to watch with subtitles.
  • Next, click on the "View" option in the top menu bar and select "VLsub."
  • In the VLsub window that appears, enter the name of the movie or TV show you're watching in the "Title" field, and select the language you want the subtitles to be in from the drop-down menu.
  • Click "Search by name" to search for the subtitle file. VLsub will automatically search online subtitle databases for a match and display the available results.
  • Select the subtitle file that matches your video file from the list of results and click "Download selection."
  • Once the subtitle file is downloaded, VLC will automatically load and display the subtitles along with the video.
  • If you can't find a suitable subtitle file using the "Search by name" option, you can also search by using the "Search by hash" option. This option matches the unique fingerprint of your video file to a database of subtitle files, ensuring that you get the most accurate and synced subtitles for your video.

Using an addon like VLsub in VLC Media Player is a simple and effective way to add subtitles to your videos. By following these steps, you can quickly and easily search for and download subtitles within the media player, without having to search for subtitle files manually online. With VLC Media Player and VLsub, you can enjoy your favorite movies and TV shows with subtitles in your preferred language, making them accessible to a wider audience.

What caption formats does VLC support?

VLC Media Player is a highly versatile media player that supports a wide range of video and audio file formats, as well as a variety of caption formats. Captions are a great way to make videos more accessible to viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as those who don't speak the language of the video. Here are some of the caption formats that VLC supports:

  1. SubRip Subtitle (.srt): This is the most common subtitle format and is supported by virtually all video players. SRT files contain text and timing information, which is used to display the subtitles at the right time during playback.
  2. Advanced SubStation Alpha (.ass): This format is commonly used for anime and other animated content. ASS files support a range of features, including different fonts, colors, and styles, as well as karaoke effects and typesetting.
  3. WebVTT (.vtt): This format is commonly used for web videos and is supported by HTML5 video players. VTT files contain text and timing information, and can also support style and formatting options.
  4. MicroDVD Subtitle (.sub): This is an older subtitle format that is not commonly used anymore, but is still supported by VLC. Sub files contain text and timing information, as well as basic formatting options.
  5. MPL2 Subtitle (.mpl): This format is commonly used for DVD subtitles and is supported by some older video players. MPL files contain text and timing information, as well as basic formatting options.

By supporting a wide range of caption formats, VLC Media Player makes it easy to add subtitles to your videos, no matter what format they are in. Whether you're watching a movie, TV show, or web video, VLC can handle all your caption needs, ensuring that everyone can enjoy your content.


Adding subtitles to your videos in VLC Media Player can greatly enhance their accessibility and reach. Whether you choose to use the built-in features of VLC subtitles, an addon like VLsub, or a third-party service like Simon Says, there are many ways to add subtitles to your videos with ease.

Things like YouTube videos are greatly enhanced with subtitles and software such as VLC. With the variety of caption formats supported by VLC, you can be sure that your subtitles will look great and be accessible to a wide range of viewers.

If you're looking for a fast and efficient way to add burned-in captions to your videos, we highly recommend using Simon Says. This powerful and intuitive transcription tool can save you time and hassle by automatically adding captions to your videos before you even open them in VLC. Try out Simon Says and see how easy it is to add subtitles to your videos!

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