Adding captions or subtitles to Facebook videos not only ensures that your videos are more accessible, but is also a useful way to make sure your videos can be understood with the sound off. After all, as of 2016, 85% of Facebook videos were watched on mute.

Facebook Video Captions

But figuring out how to add video captions on Facebook can be tricky. We’ve put together a guide to walk you through it, including how to use Facebook’s auto-captioning feature, and how to create and upload your own caption files.

Automatically adding captions to Facebook videos

The good news is, if you’re posting a video to a Business page, Facebook will automatically generate captions for you. Here’s how to set them up:

Step 1: Upload your video as a draft.

Either drag your video to the “Write something…” section of the page or click the “Share a photo or video” icon to upload a video file from your computer.

In the popup your video will begin to upload to Facebook. Here you can also add the copy for your video where it says “Say something about your video…”. This copy will be displayed alongside you video post in the Facebook feed.

In the drop down next to the Publish button, select Save Draft for now. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to schedule your video later. In the meantime, the video will be a draft, accessible by clicking Publishing Tools > Posts > Drafts.

Upload video as draft Facebook

Step 2: Edit your video.

Once you’ve saved your video as a draft, click on the Edit Video button when the popup about your video processing pops up.

Facebook processing video

Step 3: Generate captions.

After you click “Edit Video,” you’ll see several tabs. Click on the one that says “Captions.” Here you’ll have the option to upload an SRT File (which we’ll get to later). But if you want to automatically generate captions, click the Generate button.

Facebook generate captions

Note: Don’t see the Generate button? This may be because you’re video is still processing. To find out if this is the case, go to Publishing Tools > Video Library to see if your video is there or if it’s still processing. If it’s still processing, come back to auto-add captions later!

Step 4: Review your captions.

One you click Generate Facebook will automatically generate the captions, but you’ll want to review them before saving them to your video, just to make sure Facebook’s caption auto-generator got it right.

Review Facebook captions

Play the video to watch your video with Facebook’s recommended captions. If you need to edit a caption, you can edit any of the captions on the right side of the popup window. Scroll down to find the caption you want to edit and click the text to edit it. Each caption can be played back with the section of the video associated with it so you can confirm the caption is just right, as illustrated in the video below.

When you’re happy with your captions click Save To Video. Your captions will be saved and will show up on your video when it’s played on mute. For text and titles that you want to show up on your video all the time, use Animoto’s text feature. Check out tips for using text in marketing videos on the Animoto blog.

Adding captions to a Facebook video with an SRT file

If you’re trying to add captions to a video uploaded to your own personal Facebook profile, or to a Facebook Group, auto-captioning won’t be an option. However, you can still add captions to your video by uploading an SRT file.

Understanding SRT code

Creating an SRT file can be intimidating, but it’s simple once you get the hang of it! Each caption is comprised of three lines of code. We’ll break it down for you:

Sample code:

1
00:00:18,000 –> 00:00:20,000
This sauce here, Pirate’s Lantern, is made by two brothers

Breaking down the code:

1 = Indicates the sequence in which the caption should appear. If it’s 1, then this would be the first caption in the video. It’s important to keep this number sequential.

00:00:18,000 –> 00:00:20,000 = Indicates at what point in time the caption should appear during your video. This is broken down from hours to hundredths of a second.

This sauce here, Pirate’s Lantern, is made by two brothers = This is what you want the caption to read.

Check out the video below and then continue below to see what the code for this video’s captions would look like. As you can see, the first caption doesn’t actually start until the 18-second mark. Too watch this video with captions, click to view on Facebook and make sure to watch with the sound muted.

Here’s the code:

1
00:00:18,000 –> 00:00:20,000
This sauce here, Pirate’s Lantern, is made by two brothers

2
00:00:20,000 –> 00:00:22,000
who are from Barbados, but who now live here in Brooklyn.

3
00:00:39,000 –> 00:00:43,000
In the Caribbean you often see hot sauce packaged, like this.

4
00:00:43,000 –> 00:00:48,000
You see these bottles here are in a flask shape

Creating an SRT file

Step 1: Open a text editor.

Once you’ve got all of your code written, you’ll want to open a rich text edit software like TextEdit, NotePad++, Atom, or your software of choice.

Step 2: Write your code.

Write your code as per the explanation above. Here are some tips for getting your code just right:

  • Don’t put too much text for one caption. Break it up to keep it digestible.
  • To figure out the time to put down for your video, take a look at the time indicated on the video player.
  • Listen to the clip a few times to hear everything that was said.
  • Leave a space between each caption code when creating your SRT file.
  • You don’t need to have a caption for every second or minute of the video, just when someone is speaking or there is a voice-over.
  • Don’t include any unnecessary symbols in the copy, like dashes. These can confuse the code. Commas and periods are fine.

Step 3: Save your file.

Next, you’ll need to save your file. When you save it, you’ll need to save it as a “Plain Text” file with the following SubRip (.srt) naming conventions:

filename.[languagecode]_[country code].srt

You determine your file name. For the language and country code, enter the proper information based on the country and language you are targeting with your video. For instance, for the United States and english, your file name will be filename.en_US.srt. Click here to find out the proper naming conventions for your country and language.

When you’re done naming your file, save and you’re ready to upload to Facebook. Note: It’s important that your file type end in .srt and not .txt. Even if .srt isn’t listed as a recommended file extension in the text edit software you’re using, you can manually type it in.

Step 4: Upload your file to Facebook.

To add your file, upload your video to Facebook as we did above, click to Edit Video, and navigate to the “Captions” tab. Then, simply click to Upload SRT File and upload the file you created. Set the default language to the one you’ve written your captions in and Save. You’re all set and your captions will show up when your video is played on mute.

Troubleshooting

What if my captions aren’t appearing on Facebook videos?

More often than not, this is the result of a small error in the code. Review to make you’ve numbered all of your captions in the correct sequential order, the times are all correct, and there are line breaks between each caption in your text file. You may also double check the file name to make sure it uses the correct filename.[languagecode]_[country code].srt naming conventions.

Can I caption old videos?

Yes. Facebook will automatically generate captions for videos you upload on Business pages. Go to Publishing Tools > Video Library > Hover over any video and click Edit Video > Captions > Generate. You can also go in and edit old videos to upload an SRT file.

We’d love to hear about your experience with Facebook captions. Do you auto-caption, create SRT files, or simply use text in your videos to make videos to make sure they’re accessible before you upload? Share a note in the comments below. And happy captioning!