In this article, we will show you how to edit your subtitles using the Amara Editor: from applying changes to the entire subtitle set to each individual subtitle cell. Most of your work will be done in the editing panel:


Red arrow pointing to the section of the Amara editor where users create subtitles.

There you will find the Subtitle tools and Timing tools menu which have many time-saving features for applying larger edits to your entire set of subtitle cells.

Undo or redo edits

You can use ⌘ + Z or Ctrl + Z to undo the most recent change. To redo a change that you have undone, use ⌘ + Y or Ctrl + Y. Alternatively, you can click the Undo and Redo options in the dropdown list under the Subtitle Tools menu.

Merge two subtitles:

1.  Hover your mouse over the wrench icon in the bottom left corner of the subtitle and click the Merge with next subtitle icon.

  • Or use the keyboard shortcut to Merge: put your cursor in the first subtitle and press CTRL + SHIFT + ENTER. 

A red arrow points to the subtitle cell menu where the mouse hovers over the merge with next subtitle button.

2.  If you need to add a line break between the lines of merged text, put your cursor at the end of the first line and press SHIFT + ENTER.

3.  Adjust the end time for the subtitle so that the combined text from both subtitles matches the timing of the video.


Split a subtitle

Place your cursor in the subtitle cell at the point where you want to split the text, and use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+ENTER. 

Insert or delete subtitles

Insert subtitle cells

You can use a few different methods for adding more subtitles to the language you are editing.

  1.  While creating subtitles, press the ENTER key to add another subtitle after the current one.

  2. You can also click Add a new subtitle to create a subtitle at the bottom of your set:


Red arrow points to the Add a new subtitle button at the bottom of the Amara subtitle editor.  


  1.  Insert new subtitles above the current subtitle cell.

    • Press ALT + i to insert a cell above the current one.

    • Hover the mouse on the wrench icon in the left side of the subtitle cell. Click the up arrow button to insert a subtitle cell above the current cell:

 Red arrow points to the subtitle cell menu with the insert subtitle above option.

  1.  Insert new subtitles below the current subtitle cell:

    • Press ALT + SHIFT + i keyboard keys to insert a cell below the current one.

    • Hover the mouse on the wrench icon in the left side of the subtitle cell. 

    • Click the down arrow button to insert a subtitle cell below the current cell:


Red arrow points to the subtitle cell menu with the insert subtitle below option.


Delete subtitle cells

You can delete any unwanted subtitles from the language that you are editing or delete empty subtitle cells that are preventing you from syncing, approving, or completing subtitles.


Hover the mouse over the bottom left corner of the subtitle you wish to remove. Hover the mouse over the wrench icon in the bottom left corner of the subtitle cell, then click on the x icon to delete the subtitle:


Red arrow points to the subtitle cell menu with the delete subtitle option.


Or you can click the unwanted subtitle cell and press ALT + DELETE keyboard keys to remove it.


Delete Empty Subtitles

While your subtitle set has blank subtitles, the button in the progression panel on the top left will be gray and you will see a message that says Subtitles can't be blank. Click on the Go to blank subtitles link to go to the first blank subtitle cell so that you can start deleting blank subtitles individually.


You can delete all blank subtitles at one time instead of individually. Click on the Subtitle Tools menu, and click Delete empty subtitles from the dropdown menu.


Using this method, all empty subtitle cells will be deleted in your subtitle set. After you delete all blank subtitles, you should be able to sync, approve, or mark your subtitles as complete.


Erase all subtitle text

When you are editing a subtitle set, you may want to erase and replace the entire text. For example, you might want to redo a poor quality translation created by someone else. You can quickly and easily erase the existing text in just a few clicks.


Click the Subtitle Tools menu above the editing panel and click Clear text from the dropdown menu:


Red arrow points to the Clear text option in the subtitle tools menu in the Amara subtitle editor.


This will remove all the subtitle text, but preserve the existing subtitle boxes and timing. You can type or paste new text into these boxes. 

Subtitle cell information

A subtitle cell is a text entry field in the subtitle editor. Each subtitle cell contains the text that will appear on the video screen. You can add or edit this text by clicking into the cell. 

When a cell is active, the background turns blue. For an active cell, you will see an information flyout on the right of the subtitle that you are editing. This flyout contains information about your subtitle, including character lengths,  number of lines, and start and end times for synchronized subtitles.

If you are preparing subtitles to be used as a transcript use the paragraph mark (¶) to mark where a line break should be in the transcript. Transcript line breaks are used to indicate when a new speaker starts talking. 


Formatting subtitle text

Italicize your text by placing single asterisks (*) before and after the text. Example: "this is *italicized* text" will be displayed as "this is italicized text".


Bold your text by placing double asterisks (**) before and after the text. Example: "this is **boldface** text" will be displayed as "this is boldface text".


If you want to underline subtitles: It is possible to manually edit a DFXP or SSA/ASS (Advanced Substation Alpha) file formats after you download the subtitles to add underlines to subtitles.

Double brackets will no longer be supported in saved subtitle files. If you use double brackets in the Amara Editor they will be dropped from any saved subtitles. 

For example, if you enter double square brackets in a subtitle, like this, "Here is some text in [[double square brackets]]" and save the subtitles, the saved subtitle will read, "Here is some text in double square brackets".   

Position subtitles

By default, all of your subtitles are placed at the bottom of the video screen. But sometimes the video has text on the bottom screen where subtitles normally display. To solve this problem, you can place selected subtitles at the top of the screen. You can click and drag the subtitles into position or right click on the subtitle to choose the position from a dropdown menu.


When downloading subtitles with positioning, use DFXP or VTT format to keep the information about the subtitle position. Other subtitle file formats do not store subtitle position info.


Revert to previous subtitle version

If you have made some edit you do not like, you may want to return to the last saved version and try again.


The most obvious way to abandon changes and restart from a saved version is to click the Exit button and compare revisions. However, an even faster way is to click the Subtitle tools menu above the editing panel and click Revert to last saved version in the dropdown menu:


Red arrow points to the Revert to last saved version option in the subtitle tools menu in the Amara subtitle editor.


When prompted for a confirmation, click the Continue button. This will undo all the changes made since the last save and reload the saved version into the editor.

Edit title and description

If necessary, you can edit the title and description for a video. Click the video title at the top left of the page:

After you edit the title or description, click the Done button to close the dialog box. Make sure that you save your changes before exiting the Amara Editor.

Edit outside of the Amara Editor

If you have to edit a subtitle file directly, use a text editor intended for editing software code, for example: Notepad++ (Windows), BBEdit (Mac), or gedit (Linux).

  • Do not use Windows Notepad or office software like Word or LibreOffice Writer.

  • Files edited with Windows Notepad will often lose line breaks and save with the wrong character encoding (ISO-8859-1 instead of the correct UTF-8).

  • Files edited with text processors may not preserve the correct format, and autocorrections may affect hyphens, quotation marks, or other special punctuation which should remain unaltered for the format to work properly.

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