How to Add Captions and Subtitles to QuickTime Player Videos and Movies

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Captions are a simple way to make video content more accessible to people by allowing viewing without sound. This can be especially beneficial to people with hearing loss or who prefer not to listen to the audio. Videos can also be subtitled in multiple languages, giving video creators access to an international audience.

The process to add captions is a bit complex and varies based on which platform you use, such as iMovie, Handbrake, or QuickTime, Apple’s most popular multimedia player. Below, we’ve outlined step-by-step instructions on how to open and add captions to QuickTime movies, including how to use an iPad to open Sidecar subtitles.

Can I Add Captions or Subtitles in Quicktime?

Yes, you can add closed captions to QuickTime videos. Here’s how.

The first step is to create a caption file for your video content, either by transcribing the content yourself or by submitting it to, which provides affordable video captioning and subtitling services in multiple foreign languages.

What file format does QuickTime Accept for Closed Captions?

It is important to note that caption files must be saved in QT format to add them to your video using QuickTime. This is a custom text format that includes the time stamp and captions text file.

QuickTime does not accept SRT or SubRip file that many platforms, such as Facebook and Vimeo, support. If you use a captioning service, the data can be saved in the correct format so you can easily upload the caption file without additional formatting.

Once you have your caption file, follow the steps below to add your new captions to your video in QuickTime.

How to Add Captions and Subtitles Your Videos in QuickTime

The most common method to add captions to your QuickTime video is to embed them in your video, so they show in sync with the video itself, often at the top or the bottom of the screen.

  1. Order a caption file from here by uploading your video file to Rev will deliver your caption file quickly, usually within 12 hours.
  2. Open your video file in QuickTime.
  3. Download your QT file from Rev once it is finished, then right-click and select “Open with QuickTime.”
  4. Copy the captions by pressing “Edit > Select All” then “Copy > Paste.”
  5. Head back to your QuickTime Video and make sure your video is set to start at the beginning. This will ensure your captions will sync with your video correctly.
  6. Click “Edit > Add to Movie.”
  7. Tap “Save.”

Your video now has subtitles!

Rather have a professional service add subtitles to your videos?

Rev now offers burned-in captions (open captions). Just check the “burned-in captions” box at checkout and you’ll receive a video with permanent, hard-coded captions added straight to your videos. Also available for foreign language subtitles!

open captions

What Caption Formats Can I Open in Quicktime?

There are two ways to open QuickTime closed captions: as embedded captions that stream at the top or bottom of the screen or using an iPad as an extension of your Mac desktop using Sidecar. This displays the captions on a second screen.

The instructions below walk you through both options.

How do you turn on subtitles in Quicktime on a Mac?

There are three ways to turn on subtitles while watching a video in QuickTime.

  1. Select “View > Subtitles,” and then select your language of choice.
  2. In Playback control, click the subtitles button, which looks like this:
  3. If you have a newer Mac with a touch bar, then press and hold the subtitles button.

Open a Sidecar Captions File in QuickTime

Sidecar caption files allow you to use an iPad as an extension of your desktop to display captions on a separate screen, as illustrated below:

To use this option, both devices must be signed into the same iCloud account and located within 10 meters of each other. Your MacBook must use macOS Catalina, and your iPad must use iPadOS 13. Models using an earlier OS will not have the required capabilities.

To open Sidecar captions, follow these steps:

  1. On your Mac, select Apple Menu, then “System Preferences.”
  2. Click “Sidecar” (Note that not all Apple products support this option.)
  3. Select whether you want the captions to display on the right or left side of the screen
  4. Click the Airplay icon located on the menu bar of your Mac computer.
  5. Follow the prompts to connect your iPad and Mac

Your iPad should now work as an extension of your Mac, allowing you to move windows between the two screens.

Regardless of what video format you use, captions make it easier for viewers around the world to watch and enjoy your video content, regardless of what language they speak or their hearing ability. Captions can also improve SEO, which can increase traffic to your video.