Chances are that you have tried to watch a film or video at one time or another,  but couldn’t understand what was said. Maybe it wasn’t in your native language, or the actors just didn’t speak clearly, or maybe you have hearing problems. Sometimes we all really need those subtitles. So what do we do when there aren’t any available?  Today, I will show you how to import subtitles for VLC Media Player.

VLC Media Player is a free open source media player for any platform (Windows, Apple, Linux, Etc.). It plays almost any existing video format and is easy to use. We’ve talked about how to download and install in previous articles. Click here to learn more about it.

Subtitle files usually come in .srt format. There are numerous ways of getting those files but just searching for them on Google will work most of the time.  Check out sites like moviesubtitles.org . Beware of malware though! If you don’t trust a website, just click away.  You should also always check if the file you’ve downloaded is actually a subtitle file with the .srt extension. To check the file type in Windows, open the File Explorer, browse to the file and look at the right side of it. If it says: “SRT file” under “Type” it is definitely a subtitle.

If you don’t see the view below,  go to: right click > view > details.

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Make sure your subtitles are in the right language before you download! It might seem like a useless point to make but I forgot this a few times and ended up having to do everything all over again because I don’t speak Chinese. So now you’re all set up, let’s actually import the files to VLC Media Player. There are three ways this can be done. The first one is renaming the subtitle file and placing it in the same folder as the video file. To do this, first copy (right click > copy) and paste (right click > paste) the subtitles next to your video file.

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Now change the name of the subtitle file to the name of the video file. This way, VLC will automatically detect the subtitles and use them without you having to manually select them. To do this, press right click and select “Rename”. Then simply enter the name of your video.

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Now simply open your video with VLC Media Player and your subtitles will automatically play!

Even though this method is very handy, there might be situations where it doesn’t work or where you don’t want to do it this way. In those cases you can manually import the subtitles to your video. Open the video with VLC Media Player then go to the menu bar at the top of the window and open Subtitle > Add Subtitle File.

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Browse to your subtitle, open it and you are done! You may want to select your new subtitle track in Subtitle > Sub Track if VLC didn’t do this automatically already.

One last way in which you can import subtitles is by directly dragging them from the File Explorer into VLC Media Player. To do this, open both the File Explorer and VLC Media Player, click and hold the subtitle file, move your cursor over to VLC Media Player and release your mouse.

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Note that if the subtitles are out of sync, you might have downloaded the subtitles for a different version of the movie. If this happens you can edit the synchronization of the subtitles. Go to Tools > Track Synchronization and tweak the “Subtitle Track Synchronization” until you’re happy with the result.

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This should be enough to get you started using subtitles.

~ Thijs Heijmer