Subtitle formats can seem pretty complicated. If you create subtitles on Amara, or are ordering subtitles from Amara On Demand, it is sometimes easier to just choose whatever format seems the most popular or widely supported, instead of the one that is right for what you plan to do with the subtitles.

To help you make the best decision, we compiled our recommendations for the best subtitle file formats to use based on your needs below, along with some Quick Tips.


Supported Subtitle Formats for Import/Export with Amara:

  • SRT 

  • SSA (SubStation Alpha)

  • TTML (Timed Text Markup Language)

  • SBV (YouTube format)

  • DFXP (Distribution Format Exchange Profile)

  • VTT (Web Video Text Track)

  • TXT (untimed text transcript)



What will you do with this video after adding subtitles?

Hosting Platform

Best Format

Tips

YouTube

WebVTT

All your formatting will show on YT

Vimeo

WebVTT

All your formatting will show on Vimeo

Facebook

Unformatted SRT

Does not allow:
Positioning, special characters, or text formatting
Make sure you don’t use any of those when making subtitles on Amara

Kaltura

DFXP

If you use a custom video player, make sure captions are enabled

Brightcove

WebVTT

All your formatting will show on Brightcove


If you’re using a different hosting site, check the support documentation for that site to see which subtitling formats they support. 





Media Player

Best Format

Tips

YouTubeVLC 

Sub Station Alpha or WebVTT

Share if you have any

Windows Media Player

SRT


Usually the only format supported on basic media players

other common media players 

SRT


Usually the only format supported on basic media players




Editing Tool

Best Format

Final Cut Pro 

ITT

Premiere Pro CC

SCC or a Final Cut Pro XML export

ffmpeg

Sub Station Alpha

MacCaption 

WebVTT or ITT

Sony Vegas, Lightworks

check software support documentation


Note: For Sony Vegas and Lightworks: 

  • Many video editors only support manually creating title cards.

  • We recommend adding the subtitles with a different video editor on a separate step, or checking with the software’s support and community for recent features or unofficial addons.






Using other subtitling editing tools might erase some of the work you did on Amara. For example, editing subtitles in the YouTube editor gets rid of any top-positioning you might have done to subtitles made on Amara.


Always use a programming text editor like Notepad++, TextEdit (MacOS) or gedit (Linux). Opening a subtitle file with a standard text editor like Windows Notepad or a word processor with autocorrections like Office Word can alter formatting and render the file unusable


When downloading subtitles, make sure to save them directly to disk rather than let the browser open them with the default application.





Set up automatic subtitle export from Amara: