The Amara Editor has many wonderful features that work together to make subtitling easier. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, there is a lot to know and to learn about this subtitling platform. 


Screenshot of Amara Editor divided into sections


Click the headings below to learn more about the different parts of the Amara Editor:



Detail screenshot of Help Panel in Amara Editor


    1. View/Edit Video Information


You can view and edit the video title and description in a pop-up by clicking the pencil icon. Edits will be displayed on the Amara site.



    2. Keyboard Shortcuts


This panel has clickable buttons that show the most frequently used keyboard shortcuts with descriptions of the actions they perform.


Common keyboard shortcuts:

- Tab key makes the video Play / Pause

 - Shift + Tab makes the video skip back 2 seconds

 - Shift + Enter inserts a line break inside a subtitle



    3. Playback Mode


This menu allows you to set the playback mode. You can choose between automatically pausing the video. But be careful! If you change the playback mode, you might not be able to use the same keyboard shortcuts.



    4. Subtitling Guidelines


Click this link to find Amara's subtitling guidelines or the instructions and style guide for the team which subtitles the video. The guidelines will appear in a pop-up.



Screenshot of video player in Amara Editor




This panel displays the video with your subtitles overlayed on it. The video player has a play/pause button, a clickable timeline, and volume control. You can click and drag subtitles to change their position in the video player, which will be preserved if you export the subtitles


Progress panel with 4 numbered items



    1. Save Draft Button


This button saves a new version of the language you are working on. Make sure you always save your work before pausing your work, closing the editor, or switching to the Beta editor!


The “Save draft” button is hidden when you are editing subtitles after they are marked as complete. A "Update Subtitles" button in the Progress Summary.


Note: This button will not end your editing session. After saving a draft, you can continue working on them in the Amara Editor.



    2. Beta Editor Button


Click this button to switch to the Beta editor. Please make sure you save any important changes before switching!






    3. Exit Button




This button enables you to close the editor immediately without saving any changes. Use it if you were just testing the editor or if you have changed your mind about editing these subtitles. If you have made any changes you care about, make sure you save them before exiting!






    4. Progress Summary




This summary guides you through the process of subtitle creation, from typing the first line to checking the complete set. It will remind you when something important is missing and allow you to mark your subtitles as complete when you are done.









Detail screenshot of timeline in Amara Editor


This bar displays the start and end times for each subtitle in the language you are editing. You can drag the vertical edges of subtitle bubbles on the timeline to change the time when a subtitle appears on the screen or gets hidden. The vertical red line marks where you currently are in the video.




Special feature: Timeline Right-Click

You can hide the timeline or shift your subtitles by right-clicking on your timeline and choosing from the menu.


Detail screenshot of the timeline right-click menu



Clicking either shift option will open the same dialog boxes you can access from the Timing Tools (clock icon) menu. Once you hide the timeline, you will have to open Timing Tools and click "Show Timeline" to show it again.




Detail screenshot of typing panel in Amara Editor


The bottom middle panel under the video player is where you type your subtitles. You can add, insert, or delete as many subtitle cells as you need and type text inside them.



    1. Subtitle Tools Menu




Delete empty subtitles:

Select this option to delete all empty subtitles in your subtitle set instead of deleting each individually. 


Clear Text:

Erases all the text from the subtitles in the editing (middle) panel, without deleting subtitle entry cells or timing. You can only clear text from the version you are currently editing. Earlier versions of these subtitles will not be affected.


Revert to Last Saved Version:

Discards all edits since the last time you saved your subtitle draft and loads the last saved version into the editor. This action is irreversible. When you confirm your choice to revert to the last saved version you cannot recover the edits you have discarded.


Upload Subtitles:

Opens a pop-up window where you can select a subtitle file to upload. You can choose files in DFXP, SRT, SSA, SBV, TXT, or VTT format to upload into the Amara Editor. If you have any unsaved changes in the subtitle editor prior to uploading, those changes will be discarded and permanently lost.


Hide / Show Warnings:

Hides or shows the red exclamation marks and related warning messages in subtitles that violate subtitling guidelines. Review subtitling guidelines (the maximum character number per line, subtitle duration, or reading speed) by clicking Subtitling Guidelines in the Keyboard Controls panel (top left) in the Amara Editor.


Show Tutorial:

Shows the tutorial overlay which labels the important areas of the Amara Editor, including the subtitling guidelines, timeline, and submit button. Click anywhere on the page to close the tutorial.




2. Timing Tools Menu




Copy Timing:

Copies start and end times from the reference subtitles (left panel) and applies them to the subtitles you are editing (middle panel). See our article on the copy timing feature.


Hide or Show Timeline:

Hides or shows the timeline below the video player. You can use the timeline to add or modify timing for your subtitles. If you do not want to view or use the timeline, you can hide it at any time.  In syncing mode, hiding the timeline switches you to typing mode. See our article about the switching between modes in the Editor.


Clear Timing:

Erases all the start and end times of the subtitles you are editing in the middle panel. You can only erase timing for the unsaved version in the Amara Editor. Earlier versions of the subtitles are not affected. See our clear timing article to learn more.


Shift subs forward:

Shifts subtitles forward in time. Clicking this option opens a dialog box that asks you to input the start time and shift time. You can shift all of your subtitles or choose a time to start the shift. Enter the amount of time you want to shift your subtitles and click “Shift.”


Note: Subtitles can only be shifted within the duration time of the video. Shift amounts must be positive.


Shift subs backward:

Deletes subtitles in a time range and shifts all subtitles that come afterwards. Clicking this option opens a dialog box that asks you to input the start time and shift time. Subtitles are shifted backward by the duration between the start and end of the time range.



3. Active Subtitle Cell with the Cell Menu


The active subtitle cell is the one currently selected (the one you type into). Subtitle cells contain subtitle text and the start times when the text first appears on the screen. 


Subtitle cells have different background colors depending on their status:

- White: active cell, with text

- Yellow: active cell, no text 

- Gray: inactive, subtitle not currently shown on video

- Blue: inactive, subtitle currently shown on the video


Each cell has a wrench icon in the bottom left corner, which becomes visible when you hover the mouse over the cell; hovering the mouse over the wrench icon expands the cell menu. See our article about subtitle cells.



4. Subtitle Information Flyout


While you are typing in a subtitle box, a flyout on the right hand shows you the information about the subtitle. It shows a count of characters per line. If the subtitle is synced, it also includes start and end time as well as the number of characters for each video second. This information helps you keep your subtitles easy to read on video screen and compliant with your preferred subtitling guidelines.



Detail screenshot of notes panel in Amara Editor


1. Team Note Log


This panel to the right of the typing panel enables collaborators who work on the same videos to exchange notes with each other. If you have a comment or question about a specific subtitle cell, you can insert a timestamp by typing it or by hovering over the subtitle cell and clicking on the clock icon.


2. Team Note Entry Field


Type the text of your note here and click “Post New Note” to post your message.