Video Tips

How to Add Captions to Videos for Beginners (For FREE!)

Eliza Talvola


How to Add Captions to Videos for Beginners (For free!)

So you just finished your video but you think something is missing. Captions can be your secret weapon for unlocking wider engagement and making your content accessible to everyone. Whether you're a beginner or a pro looking for a quick solution, we’ll show you how to add captions to your videos step by step.

Why add captions to your videos

Adding captions to your videos has benefits for both you and your viewers. And they’re easy to add! Here are some of the benefits you can reap by captioning your videos.

  • Boost accessibility, reach, and inclusivity: Captions make your videos more accessible to viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing. Plus, if your video has background noise or unclear audio, captions ensure that your audience won't miss a beat.
  • Make videos easy to watch while muted: Not everyone can watch videos with sound on. Captions enable viewers in noisy environments (like on public transportation) or those who prefer watching silently to follow along. Those are views you might have missed out on otherwise!
  • Improves viewer retention: Studies show that captions can increase watch time by boosting focus and comprehension.
  • Increase SEO potential: Caption transcripts can be added to your video description and indexed by search engines, making your videos more discoverable. Just make sure your keywords are mentioned throughout!

How to add captions to a video in Animoto (free)

(Optional) First step: Transcribe your video

If you have a video with a lot of audio, creating a transcript could save you some time! Use a tool like to automatically create a transcript from your video. Then, you can just copy and paste them into your video to turn them into captions.

Pro tip: Add keywords to your transcript and attach it to your video description to increase your video’s search value.

1. Start a video project

First things first, create or upload your video clip to Animoto. It’s a free and user-friendly tool that makes video creation easy from start to finish, including adding captions.

Use a free video template to get started with text styles, colors, and animations already in place. Or, start from scratch to make a video that’s 100% unique to you.

2. Add your text boxes

How to add captions to a video in Animoto: Add text boxes

Now it’s time to add your text. Click the “T” button to add a text box. Shrink your text down so a full sentence can fit. Then, copy and paste the first part or first sentence of your caption. Remember that captions usually display sentence by sentence so that your audience can read it as you go.

Choose a text style with a background highlight and contrasting text color to ensure that it is fully legible. We recommend starting with size 32 font and adjusting from there.

Then, place your text boxes wherever they are least intrusive, like the bottom of your video, or on a plain background. Repeat these steps and layer your text boxes on top of each other in the same spot so your viewer always knows where to look. It’s going to seem a bit messy but don’t worry, we’ll adjust the display timing and clean it up in the next step.

3. Time your text sentence by sentence

How to add captions to your video by timing your text boxes

Now that your text boxes are in place, it’s time to sync them with your audio. Click on your text box and select the “Adjust timeline layer” button that looks like a stopwatch. Your timeline view will open at the bottom of your workspace. Each text box has its own line in the timeline.

To sync your audio and captions, first press play on your video. Listen to hear each sentence said aloud, and pause when that sentence, or the words that correspond with your first text box, are said. Your playhead will mark the point where your first text box should end.

To trim your text box, drag and drop the right buffer all the way to your playhead, AKA the exact moment that sentence ends. Now your text will line up with this sentence!

Click on the next text box in your video timeline. Then, drag and drop the left bumper and align it with the end of your first text box. These sentences will appear in sequential order, one right after the other. To trim your second sentence, repeat the step above and click play on your video. Click stop to mark the exact moment when this second sentence ends, and drag the right buffer to that point.

How to add captions to your videos: A tutorial

Click the arrows at the top of the timeline view to switch between blocks. Then, repeat these steps until you have added captions to your entire video.

Preview your video as you go to ensure that everything is in sync, et voila! You have an accessible, engaging, and professional video.

Get started with Animoto for FREE

Explore our Animoto's other free editing tools to add extra elements, switch up the colors, and create a professional video that you're proud of.

To get started, choose one of the templates below or dig into our full template library to start off with colors, animations, music, and media already in place for you.