Start a new topic

How to make YouTube subtitles Italic?

Hi there!

I love Amara, and have been trying their editor for quite a while, with good results. I only have one question that really bugs me: How on Earth do you make YouTube understand that some lines have to be Italic

In one of my clips, there is a song, important to the plot. 

This is what Amara on Demand Handbook has to say:

Caption plot-relevant lyrics

Plot relevant lyrics should be captioned in italics and with musical eighth notes at the start and end of each subtitle.

♪ *Tell me dear Billy,* ♪

So, that's what I did. The problem is, no matter what format I use, or if I use the synchronization, the formatting is not being recognized.

After consulting this page from Google, I have tried every file format there is, with the help from Subtitle Edit. The converted subtitles play just fine, with formatting on each and every player I have... But not on Youtube.

I attach an example of how it looks on YouTube, despite correct formatting of the subtitles.

Has anyone else experienced this? How did you solve it (if you did)?

Many thanks in advance!

Best regards,

Tobias Henricsson


1 person has this problem

Thank you for your clear description of the issue, and of the steps you have already undertaken to work around it, Tobias.

I'm as baffled as you are. YouTube is meant to support italics in subtitles, in theory, but it apparently does not, presently. I've also tried now to add italics tags within the native YouTube subtitle editing tool, and it did not work either: the tags appeared as such, and didn't create italics.

So I suppose the issue could be raised on the YouTube support forum, though you might not get a reply, at least not very soon.

One thing, though: the Amara on Demand Handbook you mention is for Amara video pages added to the On Demand paying system, and these differ from those of the Amara system that's open to all users. So if the issue occurs for you in an On Demand video page, you might wish to create a ticket - via - giving the same indications that you gave here, and the URL of the On Demand Amara video page (in the "URL (link to video, feed or webpage)" box).

Sorry I can't be of more help.


Claude Almansi


Thank you for your reply, and your help!

I bet they will re-enable it if you purchase YouTube Red... ;-)

I don't know if I mentioned it, but someone on the web said that italics show on the "regular" video page, but not in the captions' preview window. Still no luck for me, though...

Oh well, I guess I have to wait and see... As usual with these big companies.

Anyway, thanks for your help!



Thank you for your re-reply, Tobias. I also saw the forum post about italics showing on the regular video page and not in preview: that's what made me try - in vain - from the YouTube caption editor, actually.

Like you, I'm rather resigned. My hope, though, is that YouTube techies have temporarily shrunk options because are working on an update that will offer even more features for captioning and similar. It would be great if they added the possibility to have a text audio description track that would be read aloud by browsers, pausing the video if needed.




I was able to get italics to work in my YouTube video by replacing my video's srt file with a vtt file that I converted here:

Simple SubRip to WebVTT converter

I don't know why it worked, since the code entries for <i></i> from the srt file wasn't replaced by other/different code in the vtt file (such as [i][/i] or something similar), and the subtitle listing in the YouTube subtitle editing page removed the <i></i> tags altogether. But it worked. Phew.

I hope it works for you :)

Thank you,  Bret! 

Actually you can download subtitles from Amara as a VTT file. 

Maybe the explanation is that SRT doesn't support formatting : so formatting indications added in  Amara appear as text html tags in the SRT file, and on Youtube when the file is uploaded there.  

Whereas VTT does support them, so when the VTT file is uploaded there, the formatting indications do what they are meant to do instead of appearing as texts in the subtitles? 

Just a hypothesis. 

how to do

Please try format your Amara subtitles then download them as VTT and upload them to YouTube.

In order to get your video descriptions italicized on YouTube, you need to use a fancy text generator. You can either use this one here or use an underscore, i.e., _ on both sides of the text. As a standard practice, wrap only a single word or phrase with the underscores to keep the content readable. Alternatively, you can also try replacing your video's SRT file with a VTT file that you converted. among us

Thank you for this useful completion of my former answer. 



it's also my question.

Hi Griselda Eunice

  • Italicize your subtitles in Amara,
  • download them as .vtt file, 
  • upload the .vtt file to the youtube video, 

-> the italicized subtitles will remain italicized in the youtube video..

Please see also the previous answers to this topic.

You're not alone in your frustration, Tobias. Many folks who use Amara for subtitle creation run into the same issue with italicized lyrics not showing up on YouTube. Here's what we can try:

1. Double-check formatting:

Ensure your subtitles are in a supported format like .vtt, .srt, or .txt.

Within the .vtt file, confirm that the lyrics you want italicized are wrapped in <i> and </i> tags.

Make sure these tags are placed after the timestamps and before the actual lyrics.

2. Consider alternative formatting:

Try using <em> and </em> tags instead of <i> and </i>.

Use the underline tag <u> if italics are crucial to the plot but YouTube isn't cooperating.

You can also add the "NOTE" tag before the italicized line stating "Song lyrics, italicized."

3. File conversion and cleaning:

Use Subtitle Edit for a thorough cleaning of the subtitle file. Ensure no hidden characters or encoding issues remain.

Convert the file to a different format and upload it again. Sometimes, format-specific glitches can occur.

4. Contact Amara:

Reach out to Amara support directly. They might have specific insights or suggest advanced solutions.

Let them know your exact file format, Amara version, and YouTube upload process. The more details you provide, the better they can assist.

5. Explore browser extensions:

Consider browser extensions like "Return YouTube Dislikes" or "Enhance for YouTube." Some offer subtitle formatting options that might work even if YouTube struggles.

Remember: While YouTube strives to optimize subtitle display, limitations exist. Sometimes, creative workaround solutions are necessary.

Additionally, you can mention your experience in the YouTube Help Center. If multiple users report the same issue, it might prompt them to investigate further.

Keep trying, Tobias! With persistence and exploration, you'll find a way to make those impactful lyrics shine on YouTube.

only up

Thank you for sharing your experience and the detailed steps you've taken to address the formatting challenge. Your dedication to getting the subtitles just right is commendable.

I appreciate your insights into using Amara and Subtitle Edit and the efforts you've made to ensure correct formatting. It's unfortunate that YouTube is not recognizing the formatting as expected.

If anyone else has encountered a similar situation and found a solution, please feel free to share your insights.

Thanks again, and best of luck with resolving this matter.

Best regards,
Ricky Martin 

Login or Signup to post a comment