How to Add Captions and Subtitles in Windows Media Player

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Despite its age, Windows Media Player still boasts immense popularity even today. While great for displaying media, adding closed captions can prove to be a more complex feat. Fortunately, this simple guide will take you through the different ways to add captions and foreign subtitles to your videos.

Before you proceed with this tutorial, ensure that you have your closed caption or subtitle file ready. If you don’t already have one, that’s fine. Just head over to Rev where you can order quality captions and subtitles. Which file type you should order, depends on the method you’ll be using. For closed captions and subtitles, .SRT files will be best. However, for encoded captions and subtitles, .SMT files can also be used.

Adding a Sidecar File to Windows Media Player 

With this method, your captions or foreign subtitles won’t be hardcoded into the video. Instead, they will simply be overlaid on top. Hence, viewers can choose whether to have them on or not. However, in cases where your audience may not be able to toggle them, this may not be the best choice.

1. Prepare Video and Caption Files

Prior to importing your files, ensure they both have the same name and are saved in the same location on your device. Otherwise, Windows Media Player won’t be able to automatically detect the caption file. This is important because there is no way to manually add captions or subtitles.

2. Import Video

First, locate the video file on your device and right click on it. This should prompt a menu to appear. From the menu, select Open with  and then choose Windows Media Player. Once inside the player, ensure that it’s in Library Mode using CTRL + F1. If you leave the player in Skins Mode, your captions may not display as few of the skins support closed captions or foreign subtitles. 

3. Enable Captions 

Next, select Tools from the menu bar. Thereupon, choose Options from the generated dropdown menu. Afterwards, a dialogue box with several tabs will appear. Click on the Security tab and check the box Show local captions when present. Finally, select the Okay button.

4. Turn On Captions 

To display the captions, right click anywhere in the player window. This will prompt a dropdown menu from which you should select Lyrics, captions and subtitles. Then, choose On if available from the subsequent menu. You should now be able to see your closed captions or foreign subtitles.

Encoding Captions into the Video for Windows Media Player

Using this method, your captions will be encoded into your video thus making them appear all the time. Although, viewers won’t be able to toggle them on and off, everyone will be able to see them regardless of their set up. 

1. Download Handbrake

In order to encode your captions, you’ll need to use Handbrake, an open source video transcoder. Go to their official website to download Handbrake.

2. Import Video File

After you have installed Handbrake, launch the software. Next, select Source from the top left corner. This will allow you to select the video you want captioned, from your device.

3. Import Caption File 

Once you have imported your video, you can add your caption file. First, click on the Subtitles tab under Output Settings. As soon as you’ve done this, the Track dropdown menu will appear. From this menu, select Add external SRT. Then, click on your desired .SRT or .SMT file.

4. Encode Caption File

When the caption file has loaded, set its language and check the Burned In option. If you leave this box unchecked, your captions and video won’t be rendered as a single track.

5. Export to Windows Media Player

Near the bottom, specify both an export name and location for the finished project. Renaming your file is a good idea as it will ensure you don’t accidently overwrite the original video. Next, adjust the settings under the Audio and Video tabs. Once you’ve finished, click on the green start button in the top left. Subsequently, the video will start encoding. When finished, it will open in Windows Media Player for you to enjoy.

Whew. finally done! You should now be able to open closed caption and foreign subtitle files in Windows Media Player. Although it seems like a lot of work, it doesn’t have to be. With Rev, you can quickly order quality closed captions and subtitles, as well as burned-in captions and subtitles from $1.25/minute.