Both captions and subtitles allow your videos to reach a wider audience. Subtitles provide viewers with a video’s dialogue in written form. They are designed for viewers who do not understand the language being spoken in the video. Captions include subtitles plus a written description of what is occurring in a video. They are designed for viewers who are unable to hear or who have difficulty hearing the audio in a video.
To learn how to troubleshoot issues with captions or subtitles, visit Troubleshoot caption or subtitle-related issues.
In this article, learn how to:
- Turn on captions or subtitles while viewing a video
- Add captions or subtitles to your video
- Customize caption appearance
- Configure default availability of automatic closed captions on new uploads
- Enable and disable automatic closed captions on individual videos
- View a video's transcript
- Download a video's transcript
- Locate the video by keyword search
- Edit a video’s transcript
Turn on captions or subtitles while viewing a video
To turn on (or turn off) captions or subtitles while viewing a video, click the CC button in the player's bottom toolbar. In the menu that appears, select the caption or subtitle track you’d like to see.
We use Helvetica Neue with bold styling for captioning and subtitle display in the Vimeo player. The size of the font is responsive, meaning it will adjust per the size of your browser window.
⚠️Note: Video creators upload captions and subtitles to their videos. If you do not see your language, it probably means that the video has not yet been transcribed or translated. Feel free to contact the video creator directly to inquire.
Add captions or subtitles to your video
To add captions or subtitles to your video by uploading your file, follow these steps:
- Navigate to your Library and open the desired video.
- Select the [CC] button to the right of the player to open the transcript.
- Click Settings from within the Closed captions menu (to the right of Transcript).
- Click the “+” button to the right of My Uploads, then specify the language and file type.
Click Choose File and upload the file from your computer.
Once the file is uploaded, you’ll need to toggle it on to activate it. To replace, delete, download, or edit the file, click on the options menu (⋯) next to the file name and select the corresponding option from the menu.
If you don’t already have captions or subtitles for your video, you can purchase them through one of the trusted providers listed below. These same providers are also listed on the Settings tab.
Vimeo supports the following captions and subtitles file formats: SRT, WebVTT, DFXP/TTML, SCC, and SAMI files, but we recommend using WebVTT whenever possible. We also recommend encoding your caption files in UTF-8 format. Otherwise, captions that contain special characters may not display correctly during playback.
Customize caption appearance
If you have captions or subtitles enabled as a viewer, you can access the Customize menu within CC settings to edit font size, font color, font edge styling, background color, and background opacity. Creators can also access this functionality by leveraging WebVTT standards in the caption or subtitle files during upload.
To edit the caption and subtitle appearance, first, click the [CC] button below the player and then select Customize. The Font, Background, and Window menus each contain customizable settings. Make sure you have captions/subtitles turned on to see the changes as you make them.
It is important to note that the owner of the video cannot set a default on the appearance of the captions, customizing will be the viewer’s preference and the owner will not have control over it.
You may also choose to Reset customizations to revert the subtitles or captions to the classic presentation.
Configure default availability of automatic closed captions on new uploads
Vimeo offers automatic closed captioning to all paid members for videos uploaded after May 25, 2022. This means that all videos will be automatically transcribed by our system during the upload process. If your video was uploaded before May 25, 2022, re-uploading your video will generate automatic closed captions.
⚠️Note: Auto CC is available in English, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, and Korean. If your account is set to one of these preferred languages, your videos will be eligible for automatic captioning.
The ability for viewers to see your videos' automatic closed captions is enabled on all uploaded videos by default as long as their preferred language is set to one of the languages listed above. To turn this off:
- Navigate to the Upload defaults section of your account settings.
- By default, “Allow viewers to enable automatically generated captions” will be checked. Uncheck the box to turn this off.
- Click Save.
- Your videos will still be transcribed on the backend, but the captions will not be available to your viewers on future uploads unless you enable them on a specific video (read below).
⚠️Note: Automatically generated captions are labeled as "Autogenerated” to clarify to viewers and distinguish between manually uploaded captions.
Enable and disable automatic closed captions on individual videos
If you want to change whether or not an individual video displays automatic closed captioning, you can adjust this setting by following these steps:
- Go to your Library and select the video.
- Click on the cc icon on the panel below.
- Enable or disable automatic closed captions.
⚠️Note: Automatic closed captions are only available in English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. English is available for all users, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish are for Pro/Standard membership and above only. If you would like to offer additional languages to your audience, you’ll need to upload separate subtitle or caption files. Automatic captions can only be generated for videos that are less than or equal to 8 hours. Also, automatic captions only apply to videos uploaded after introducing this feature.
View a video's transcript
You can view the transcript of a video that has Auto CC enabled by following these steps:
- Navigate to the video's video settings page or public or clip page.
Click the [CC] button in the menu to the right of the player. The captions panel will open, where you’ll be able to follow along with the video’s transcript.
- Click on any segment of the transcript to navigate to that point in the video.
- If you leave the panel open while your video plays, the system will auto-scroll through each line of text and highlight it when it appears in the player so that you can follow along.
Download a video's transcript
You can also download the transcript of a video that has Auto CC enabled.
- Navigate to the video's video settings page or public or clip page.
- Click the [CC] button in the menu to the right of the player. The captions panel will open.
- Select the Settings header in the caption panel.
- Select the Download button next to the auto-generated captions label. It is indicated by an arrow pointing down.
Locate the video by keyword search
If you recall the topic of a video that has Auto CC enabled but don’t remember the title, you can search for it in your Video Library using keywords from the transcript that Auto CC creates. When you select a video from the search results, you’ll be taken to the video’s settings page and the transcript panel will open automatically.
Edit a video’s transcript
You can edit your video’s most recent transcript directly on the clip page by following these steps:
- Click the [CC] button in the menu to the right of the player to open the transcript.
- Click the pencil icon to enable the transcript editor.
- Locate the text you want to edit by scrolling down the transcript or clicking through the video.
- Once you have found a line of text to edit, click on the text box and make any necessary changes.
- Save your changes once you’re done editing by clicking the Confirm button.
⚠️Note: If you have an Enterprise plan, you may contact your account manager to create a custom dictionary of terms for our software to automatically transcribe. This can reduce the amount of time it takes to edit your transcripts.
💡Tip: You cannot edit the timestamp on your video through Edit Transcript. To edit timestamps, download the file and edit it using a text editor.