The name “SRT” originally comes from a DVD ripping software called SubRip. And while DVDs may feel like a thing of the past as even major cable channels are migrating to streaming services, SRT seems to be here to stay. The SRT file format is one of the most commonly used formats for subtitles. SRT subtitles are supported on most video platforms, so they are a good bet for beginners or for creators who want a quick, simple option.
SRT: A subtitle in 4 parts
Each subtitle entry in an SRT file has 4 parts:
- Subtitle number: each subtitle is numbered, starting at 1
- Timestamps: the start and end times for the subtitle to be displayed in the format hours:minutes:seconds,milliseconds.
- Subtitle text: This text will be displayed on screen in the final video with the SRT file enabled
- A blank line marks the end of the subtitle entry
Example of an SRT subtitle entry:
00:00:00,100 –> 00:00:07,100
I’m an SRT expert now!
Photo by Devin Pickell on Unsplash
How to manually create an SRT file
The first step in creating an SRT file is choosing a text editor.
For Mac users, TextEdit is a common choice. For Windows users, Notepad is a good place to start! And for you Linux users out there, it’s up to you to fight it out between Vim and Emacs. Any trusted text editor will work for this simple subtitle file format, no fancy features needed!
To get started manually creating an SRT file, simply type the number 1. Then add the timestamps separated by the double hyphen arrow (–>). Next is the subtitle text itself. If you are not sure how to get started, we have a couple of quick guides on creating quality captions and translations. To end a subtitle, create a blank line after the subtitle text. Then hit ENTER and start the next subtitle! Repeat this process until the timed transcript in the SRT file format is complete for the entire video. When saving the file, make sure to save it as file extension .srt instead of .txt which is the default.
You can style SRT subtitles with a few simple choices like bold, italic, underline as well as a font color.
Keep in mind that some platforms do not support subtitle styling. For example, SRT is commonly used on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok that require plain, unstyled subtitles for videos. Make sure to only upload unstyled SRT files to these platforms.
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash
How to download an SRT file
Another option for using the SRT file format is to create an SRT file online and then downloading it. As mentioned above, the SRT file format is a very simple one. It only has 4 parts: sequence number, timestamps, subtitle text, and a blank line. Most platforms that allow you to create subtitles will give you the option to download in the SRT file format. Both YouTube and Amara give users the option to download SRT subtitles.
It is easy to generate SRT from a video subtitling platform like Amara because the information associated with each subtitle entry is already available in your completed subtitles.
Each subtitle entry is distinct and has both a start and end timestamp. The rest is pretty easy to set up to export from a platform. And the SRT file format is so widely used, that it is usually worth making SRT file export an option for users. After downloading an SRT, it’s easy to make changes in a text editor or upload it somewhere else.
Photo by Jason Strull on Unsplash
Is the SRT file format supported on Amara?
Yes, Amara supports uploading the SRT file format. Users can upload an SRT file to their free account or a paid team. Then the Amara Editor makes it easy to make edits. There are many features handy for post-editing subtitles in the Amara Editor, including precise subtitle synchronization, bulk subtitle shifting, and character per second counts. As you make your final touches, make sure that your subtitles are easy to read and ready for your audience to enjoy!