In this article, we will show you the many ways you can edit your subtitles using the Amara Editor: from making changes to the entire subtitle set to each individual subtitle cell. A set of subtitles is made up of all of the subtitle cells shown in the bottom middle section of the editor:


Screenshot of Amara Editor with middle editing panel highlighted with subtitle cells filled in.

There are many useful keyboard controls in the Amara Editor. The most common controls are shown in the top left corner. Click on the more commands >> link to view the full list.

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. Alternately, you can click the Undo and Redo options in the dropdown menu under the wrench icon.

Merge two subtitles:

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

Wrench icon menu displaying the Merge with next subtitle button.

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

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 subtitle cells

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


  1.  While creating subtitles, press 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:


Add a new subtitle button highlighted at the bottom of the editing panel in 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-hand part of the subtitle cell. Click the up arrow button to insert a subtitle cell above the current cell:


Insert subtitle above option in the subtitle cell hover menu in the Amara Editor.

  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-hand part of the subtitle cell. 

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


Insert subtitle below option in the subtitle cell hover menu in the Amara Editor.


Delete subtitle cells

You can delete any unwanted subtitles from the language 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. The Wrench Icon will appear. Hover the mouse over the Wrench Icon then click on the x icon to delete the subtitle:


Cursor hovers over the delete subtitle option in the subtitle cell hover menu in the Amara Editor


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 right will be gray and you will see a message that says "Subtitles can't be blank". The Subtitles can't be blank message is a clickable link. When you click on it, you are brought 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 (Wrench Icon), 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.


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 Wrench icon above the editing panel and click Clear text from the dropdown:


Cursor hovers over the clear text option in the subtitle tools menu in the Amara 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.


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. Here is an example of  subtitles turned into a transcript.


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 bracket 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".  



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.


Here are a couple of quick video guides for positioning:


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 Wrench icon above the editing panel and click Revert to last saved version in the dropdown menu:


Cursor hovers over the revert to last saved version option under the subtitle tools menu in the Amara 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.


If you have to edit a subtitle file directly, use a text editor intended for editing software code, e.g.: 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, etc. which should remain unaltered for the format to work properly.

Thank you for your contributions to support an inclusive and accessible media ecosystem!

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