How to Add Captions in iMovie

iMovie is a powerful video editing tool. Among many other things, it allows users to add subtitles and captions. This is a good option to have, especially if you plan on uploading your videos to the web. Let’s see how to add captions on macOS and iOS.

How to Add Captions in iMovie


In this section, we’ll take a look at how to add captions on a Mac.

Step 1

First, launch iMovie on your Mac and load the video you would like to add captions to. To add the video clip, click on the Import button. However, if it is not available, you should click on the Media button and then select the Import button.

Next, select the device where the video is located. You will see the list of all available media on the chosen disk or device. Select the one you’d like to import.

Step 2

Select the loaded video and drag it down to the timeline. You will see that iMovie has highlighted keyframes throughout the clip. You will also see a continuous audio line below them. It could be helpful in determining the duration of the captions.

Step 3

Click on the Titles button in the Main menu. iMovie will then show you a list of available title options.

Lower Title, Soft Bar, and Standard Lower Third should work well. For the purposes of this article, we’ll go with the Standard Lower Third option.

Grab the option you want, drag it down to the timeline, and place it right above the clip.

Step 4

In this step, you should type the text of your first caption in the preview window in the upper-right section of the window.

You should see one or more transparent text boxes on the clip; all will have “title text here” sample texts written in all caps. In our case, we have two boxes in the lower portion of the screen. Click one and type in the text of the caption.

You can delete any individual text box. We will delete the upper one and use only the lower one. Single-line captions are easier to follow and people can read them faster.

Step 5

Once you write out the first chunk of text, you should adjust its duration and starting point. To adjust the starting point of the caption, you should grab the caption bar and move it left or right to find the right spot.

To adjust the duration, grab the right edge of the caption bar and drag it left or right. You will notice that the duration stamp in the left corner changes as you shrink or expand the bar.

Step 6

To create the next caption, right-click on the first caption you created and pick the Copy option. Right-click next to the first caption bar and pick Paste.

The new caption is identical to the previous one, so go back to the Preview screen and delete the text that remained from the first caption. Write out the next chunk of text.

Next, position the new caption appropriately. Use the right edge of the caption to shrink or extend its duration.

Repeat this step as many times as necessary. However, you should format your first caption the way you want the captions to look throughout the clip.

Step 7

Let’s look at the formatting options. iMovie lets you do various things and adjust many captions options. However, you can’t change the fade in/fade out effect.

First, you should choose the font. Click on the Font drop-down menu located above the Preview window and pick your favorite from the list.

The font selector window allows you to pick the size and typeface, as well. For example, we have picked Calibri. Typeface is medium and the font size is 11. There’s another way to pick the font size – through the font size drop-down menu.

Next, you should choose the text alignment. There are four default options available in iMovie – left, center, right, and justify.

If you click on the B button located right of the alignment options, you can bold the captions text. If you click on the I button, you can italicize the text. Finally, the O button outlines the letters.

Step 8

In this step, we’ll take a look at the color of the text. As all advanced movie suites with captions ability, iMovie lets you change the caption color. To do that, you should click on the white square next to the B I O set of buttons.

iMovie will then open the color menu. You can click anywhere on the circle to pick the color. You can also adjust the slider below it if you want gray or black subtitles.


If you have iMovie on your iPhone or iPad, you can also add captions. The process is a lot simpler and there are fewer options. Here’s a quick rundown.

add captions

Step 1

Launch the iMovie app on your iPhone or iPad. After that, you should import the clip you’d like to add captions to. You should tap on Projects and select the video you want to add captions to.

Step 2

In this step, you’ll need the Text tool. Tap on its icon at the bottom of the screen. There, you can choose whether you want the captions to appear in the center of the clip or photo or at the bottom. You can also pick the caption style.

Step 3

Once the video loads, scroll down the timeline to find where you’d like to add captions. Tap on that position in the timeline. Five icons will appear at the bottom of the screen. You should tap on the T icon since you’ll be adding text.

Step 4

Next, you should choose from the offered text styles. Once you do, sample text will show up on your video. You can then position the caption on the screen with the Lower and Center options.

Step 5

Tap on the text box on the screen and the keyboard will pop up. Start typing the text of your caption. Tap Done when finished.

To limit its duration, you should scroll down the timeline and tap on the Scissors icon. After that, tap on the Split button. If you rewind to the beginning and start scrolling towards the end of the video, you will see that the caption ends where you tapped the Split button.

Step 6

If you’d like to add more captions, you should scroll down the timeline and tap on the place where you’d like the new caption to appear. Select the Scissors icon and tap the place where you’d like the new caption to end. Tap on the Split button.

Now, tap on the T icon and repeat steps four and five. Repeat this as many times as needed.

Captions Closed

Captions are extremely useful, especially for viewers with impaired hearing. They’re also super-handy if someone in the clip is speaking in a foreign language. With these tutorials, you’ll be able to add captions in no time.

Do you add captions to the videos you upload to internet? Do you always use iMovie and how do you rate its captions capabilities? Let us know in the comments section below.

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