Captioning Videos

Last modified 2/15/2022

All videos produced should have captions available including all spoken words and important sound effects.

Screenshot of video with captions.

Video captions are text versions of all the dialogue and important audio cues synchronized with a video. Without captions, those who are deaf, hard of hearing, or cannot hear the audio may have difficulty accessing your content. When creating captions for your video be sure to use correct spelling and punctuation. You have two types of captioning options available: closed captions or open captions.

  • Closed captions can be turned on and off at the will of the viewer. Closed captions are the preferred type of captions because this type allows people the option to choose whether or not to view the captions. YouTube, Facebook, and Vimeo video players have closed captioning options available. The closed captioning icon (CC) typically appears in the video player controls when closed captions are available.

Screenshot of video player controls with Closed Captioning Icon.

  • Open captions are burned into the video and will always show on the video screen. Though open captions are not ideal, use this type if closed captioning is not available.

Common Captioning File types

  • .srt – SubRip file (Facebook, Amara, YouTube, Vimeo)
  • .vtt – Webvtt (Office 365, Vimeo)
  • .txt – text file (YouTube)

Captioning Checklist

  • Use one or two lines of text
  • Limit  lines to 32  characters  or less, including spaces.
  • Caption the speaker's exact wording, including slang and grammatical errors
  • Caption sound effects that contribute to video's content
  • Use both upper and lowercase letters
  • Synchronize captions
  • Ensure high contrast between the text and background

In My Own Words

Meet Jordan who relies on captioning for videos.

Resources for Captioning