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How to Hardcode Subtitles: The Ultimate Guide

How to Hardcode Subtitles - The Ultimate Guide

Subtitles are the less-acknowledged elements that make for an amazing and memorable viewing experience. Whether it’s translating audio to an appropriate language, fostering the inclusion of individuals with hearing and learning disabilities, or helping viewers follow through with the dialogue.

Still, there’s always the chance that subtitles may fail to render on certain devices or video players. This mostly happens with soft subtitles. 

Hardcoding subtitles into the video is the only effective workaround for this, and other concerns like out-of-sync subs or the fact that soft subtitles may be a bit taxing to the display device’s video processing resources.

It may seem complex initially, but hardcoding subtitles is fairly simple once you’ve done it yourself. With this guide, you should move from beginner to proficient in no time.

Dive in and learn how to hardcode subtitles using the most effective and easiest methods.

What Are Hardcoded Subtitles?

In contrast to soft subtitles, hardcoded subtitles are not separate but rather part of the video file. They’re embedded in the video typically at the publishing or transmission stage, so they can’t be changed once they’ve been added.

Hardcoded subtitles typically come in two types: static and dynamic.

Static subs remain at a predetermined location in the video frame. On the other hand, dynamic subtitles constantly adjust the position where they render.

In general, dynamic subtitles give viewers a more immersive and enjoyable experience. 

Add Hard Subtitles to Your Videos

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Why Hardcode Subtitles?

The hard vs. soft subtitles contest is a never-ending tussle; to be fair, each option has merits that make it preferable to different users.

These are some of the reasons why hardcode subtitles are ideal:

Seamless viewing experience. Since they’re embedded in the video, subtitles render without needing someone to turn them on. This can be beneficial for users who may not be able to turn on subtitles on their own.

Accurate captions that are in perfect sync with the video. Major social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook auto-generate captions for all videos hosted on their sites. These captions are not always correct and, in most cases, render in different frames. With hardcoded subs, viewers can turn off the auto-generated captions and use the embedded captions.

Easy time sharing video content on social media. By nature, hardcoded subtitles are embedded directly into the video file. This can be helpful, especially if you need to share the video on social media – considering most platforms don’t have the provision for sharing the .srt files separately with the video.    

Hardcode subtitles are a joy to work with since they don’t require any external software or additional plugins for the subtitles to render properly.

How to Hardcode Subtitles with features one of the most powerful online video editors on the web today. Aside from that, it’s also the most capable and easiest tool to work with in this guide. 

Here’s how to hardcode subtitles using

  1. First, launch on your browser. Sign in to your account or sign up for free.
  2. In case you’re not redirected to the “My Projects” tab, look for the “My Projects” button and click it. It’s on the top right corner of the homepage.How to Hardcode Subtitles -
  3. Upload the video you want to hardcode the subtitles by clicking the “Upload Video” button. Follow the wizard prompts to complete the upload.How to Hardcode Subtitles - image1
  4. Click or tap once on the video once the upload is complete. Click “Edit Video” to move the video to the editor.How to Hardcode Subtitles - image8
  5. Look to the top left side and scroll to find the “Captions” button, then click it.How to Hardcode Subtitles - image15
  6. Click on the plus sign on the right part of your screen. The tool can auto-generate captions for the video, and you can also upload custom caption files if you have them.How to Hardcode Subtitles - image19
  7. Specify the file’s source language and choose either the 1-line or 2-line caption. Hit the “Create Captions” button to generate the captions.How to Hardcode Subtitles - image12
  8. Go through each frame to confirm whether the captions are in the right place. Customize the style to conform with your brand, and when you’re ready, hit the publish button to download the video that now has hardcoded subtitles.

See, that was easy. No tinkering with technical stuff, but you end up with hardcoded subs that perfectly sync with the video and audio.

You can also download the captions in .srt, .vtt, or text format by clicking on the “Settings” button below the “Publish” button. 

How to Hardcode Subtitles with VLC Media Player

While it’s mostly used to open video and audio files, the VLC media player is a free, open-source platform that you can use to hardcode subtitles in your video. Before you proceed, ensure you’ve installed VLC on your device if you haven’t done so.

Also, ensure you have a well-formatted .srt file to go with the video on your device or somewhere you can quickly load it up on VLC.

In case you don’t have the .srt file, you can download one that’s appropriate for the video or create custom subtitles if it’s a video you’ve produced.

Here’s how to hardcode subtitles using a VLC media player.

  1. Launch VLC on your device. For best results, close any existing VLC instances on your device.
  2. Click on “Media” at the top left corner of the application default tab. Follow this up by selecting “Stream” from the dropdown menu. This should trigger another tab.
  3. Click on the “+/plus” sign to load the video onto VLC. Follow the wizard prompts to complete the transfer. 
  4. Select the empty “Use a subtitle file” checkbox and click browse to load the subtitle file for the video on VLC.
  5. Depending on your device, you might see a “Convert/Save” or “Stream” button next to “Cancel.” Ensure you select “Convert” or “Convert/Save.” If you have the “Stream” button on your device, click on the down arrow icon next to it to open other options, and you must select “Convert” or “Convert/Save.”How to Hardcode Subtitles - image3If you did it right, this is what you should see. You can then choose where you want to save the output on your device. But don’t rush to the “Start” button yet.How to Hardcode Subtitles - image16
  6. Select the tool icon as shown below.How to Hardcode Subtitles - image10
  7. Choose from the various video formats. For best results, go with either MKV or MP4/MOV.How to Hardcode Subtitles - image7
  8. Move to the subtitles tab and ensure you mark the two checkboxes; see below. Hit the save button, then start to initiate the subtitles embedding.How to Hardcode Subtitles - image9

The embedding may take a while, with the duration being dependent on your device’s computing resources. Do not disrupt the process or close VLC until the conversion is complete.

Once it’s done, close VLC and open the output file using any other media player or VLC. You should see the hardcoded subtitles and if you want to confirm whether they’re truly hard subs, try to turn them off.

How to Hardcode Subtitles with Handbrake

Handbrake is a free, open-source video editor and transcoder. Hardcoding subtitles features among its numerous functionalities. 

This is a capable tool, and you should be able to hardcode subtitles to any video file easily.

Before proceeding to the tutorial, download Handbrake from its official site to avoid getting any malware. 

Install Hardcode, and depending on your device, you might have to install an additional program. In most cases, it can be Windows Desktop-runtime.

Once you’ve successfully installed Handbrake, here’s how you can proceed:

  1. Run the application on your device. This is what you should see:How to Hardcode Subtitles - image4
  2. Select “File,” then follow the standard wizard prompts to load the appropriate video file on Handbrake.How to Hardcode Subtitles - image6
  3. There are numerous editing options on the next page but for now, jump straight to the subtitles section by clicking on “Subtitles”.
  4. Next, click the “Tracks” option, then select “Import Subtitle” to load your captions on the tool.How to Hardcode Subtitles - image5
  5. Remember to check the “Burn In” option for the subtitle. Otherwise, all this work will be in vain. See the example below.How to Hardcode Subtitles - image11
  6. Click on “Browse” and specify where you want to save the output file on your device. Again, follow the standard wizard prompts and hit “Open” to confirm your choice.
  7. Just below the ‘Browse” button, there’s an additional button. Click it and toggle the options. You might want to set it to shut down the computer or quit Handbrake since the encoding may take a while.
  8. Once everything looks good, hit the green “Start Encode” button to begin the subtitle embed process.

Let the tool work its magic and once it’s complete, navigate to the folder you chose for the output.


This bit is not a must to do, but it’s great to have proof.

Open the output file using VLC or any other media player and try to turn off the subtitles. If you can’t switch subtitles off or find such an option, then you’ve successfully hardcoded subtitles using Handbrake.


How do I change the appearance of the subtitles before hardcoding them?

On most free video editing tools, this can be outright difficult. VLC only allows you to hardcode subtitles with preset font and color. 

However, you can change the appearance of subtitles on before hardcoding to the video.

This process is pretty straightforward. Once you’re in editor program with your uploaded video, you can auto-generate subtitles or upload your custom subtitles to the editor.

Click on “Style,” which is directly below the “Publish” button.

How to Hardcode Subtitles - image17

Change the subtitle font style and appearance to match your brand theme.

You can also modify the subtitle’s text and background colors. While the temptation might be there to outdo yourself, remember to strike a balance between aligning to brand identity and ensuring viewers have an easy time watching your video.

How to format subtitles properly?

Well-formatted subtitles guarantee viewers the most convenient and pleasurable experience watching the video. But many things go into ensuring subtitles are formatted properly. 

The following pointers should set you on the right track:

  • Use contrast to ensure the subtitles are visible. Still, it’s best to avoid outright strong colors that may cause discomfort.
  • Position the subtitles where they won’t distract the viewer or obstruct their view. The standard is either at the top or bottom of the video frame. You can take it a notch higher by making the captions dynamic.
  • Consider the size of subtitles relative to the display screen. They should have an ideal size, not too small to render them unreadable or too big to obstruct the view.
  • Go easy with the font style. While it’s easy to get carried away, remember captions are a small part of the video, and the best you can do is ensure they’re easy to read. Standard fonts like Arial or Roboto should do the trick.
  • Ensure the subtitles are in sync with the video and audio. Nothing is as irritating as an out-of-place caption. Before you hardcode subtitles to your video on or another tool with the same functionality, review the footage while comparing subtitles in each frame.

A less conventional but highly effective approach is to view the hardcoded video in its entirety. Evaluate your experience objectively and think whether your viewers or target audience would love it. If not, please rework it until it checks all boxes.

Can I use iMovie to hardcode subtitles?

Yes. iMovie is a powerful video editing program that can be used to hardcode subtitles. However, it’s only supported on iPadOS, Mac, and iOS devices which may not be ideal for everyone.

Alternatively, you can use to hardcode subtitles. offers more convenience and works perfectly with all devices and operating systems.

What other hardcoding software and tools exist?

The list is quite long, but generally, you can expect to find paid and free open-source tools.

Paid tools are easier to work with and may offer better functionality in some cases. But you shouldn’t discount free, open-source tools either.

While open-source tools can have quite a steep learning curve, they’re more versatile and, depending on how you learn, powerful than some proprietary tools. 

Some of these include Aegisub, FFmpeg, mp4box, VidCoder, VideoProc, etc.

How to hardcode subtitles without losing quality?

It’s a delicate matter, but keep the following in mind, and you should be good.

  • Use the right software.
  • Go easy when editing the subtitles or the entire video. makes it easy for you with its endless customizability. Once you’re done editing the subtitles, hit the publish button and select ‘Video.”

How to Hardcode Subtitles - image18

Select an appropriate video format and quality. Render the video and download it to your device. 

It’s also possible to publish directly from to your brand’s social media pages.

Final Thoughts

Subtitles are a powerful tool for communicating with your audience effectively. It’s also worth noting that your audience can be diverse regarding language comprehension levels, basic tech expertise, and natural abilities. Therefore, you should always aim to accommodate everyone if you’re keen on passing your message to them. 

Hardcoded subtitles are your best bet to ensure your audience gets the right information in the most convenient manner. The additional versatility of hardcoded videos is always welcome, whether it’s helping you share your content across various platforms easily or the ability to control the narrative in your video.

Now that you’ve gone through this guide, you now know how to hardcode subtitles is pretty simple. It might be intimidating at first, but you’ll get the hang of it after a couple of or a single try.

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