How to Add and Sync Subtitles in VLC Media Player

From playing YouTube videos to transcoding any media file and from listening to live radio to remote control, VLC media player can do anything related to media. It is no surprise that VLC can handle video subtitles as well. VLC makes it very easy to add and manage subtitles and offers simple, yet powerful, options to get the best experience.

In this post we will show you how to add subtitles in VLC player and then sync it with the video (if required) to get a comfortable experience.

Although VLC is also capable of downloading subtitles automatically, here we will show you how to manually add subtitles in VLC. If you don’t already have the subtitle file for your video, you can download it for free from the Internet (OpenSubtitles is a good place).

Play the desired video in VLC and click on “Subtitle” in the top bar. From the menu, click on “Add Subtitle File…” and select the subtitle’s file from your PC. (It should have .srt, .sub or .sbv extension)

VLC-Subtitles-Add-Subtitles

The subtitles will be immediately loaded and shown without restarting the video.

The subtitles file will not always sync perfectly with the video track, so you may have to delay or speed up the subtitles as required. Below you will see two ways to sync subtitles.

Sync Subtitles Using Keyboard Shortcuts

If you just want to delay or speed up the subtitles quickly, then it is just a key press away. You can press the “G” key on your keyboard to speed up the subtitles, i.e. the subtitle will play faster than the audio. If you want to delay the subtitles, you can press the “H” key on your keyboard which will play the subtitles slower than the audio. Each press of the key will delay or speed up the subtitles by 50ms (millisecond).

VLC-Subtitles-Adjust-Subtitles

Keep experimenting with the “G” and “H” keys to sync the subtitles perfectly with the audio.

Sync Subtitles Using Synchronization Option

If you want more control over the subtitles, then you should sync subtitles from the Video/Audio/Subtitles sync option. To access synchronization options, click on “Tools” from the top bar and then click on “Track Synchronization”.

VLC-Subtitles-Tools-Synchronization

You will see loads of options to add video/audio effects and synchronize audio, video and subtitles. We only need the subtitle sync options, so click on the “Synchronization” tab, and you will see all the options in the “Subtitles/Video” panel.

VLC-Subtitles-Synchronize-subtitles

Here you can enter a desired value in “Subtitle track synchronization” to speed up or delay subtitles. This is a lot faster than pressing keyboard keys multiple times.

VLC-Subtitles-Adjust-Delay

You can also control how long a subtitle will be shown before it disappears. You can use the “Subtitle duration factor” and “Subtitle speed” options to adjust that.

VLC-Subtitles-Ajust-Subtitles-Duration

The changes will not take effect in real time, so you will have to click on the little “Sync” button on the top right corner to apply changes and see them in the video.

VLC-Subtitles-Sync-Changes

VLC media player makes it very simple to add and manage subtitles. The above guidelines should be more than enough to add and properly sync subtitles in VLC. However, if you want more options related to subtitles, you can go to “Tools -> Preferences -> Subtitles.” Here you can adjust font type, size, color and few other customization options. You can also use a subtitle editor like Subtitle Edit to gain full control over subtitles.

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