How to add subtitles or captions in iMovie on Mac

Learn how to make your iMovie creations more accessible by adding subtitles or captions to your videos with this step-by-step guide.

Titles in iMovie on Mac

If you’re creating a movie or video that requires subtitles for another language, captions for narration, or instructions for a tutorial, you can do this in iMovie on Mac easily. While there isn’t currently an official subtitle or caption feature, it can still be done using the Titles options.

Adding a subtitle or caption in iMovie on Mac

1) Open iMovie on your Mac and go to the project you want to use subtitles or captions in.

2) Select the clip in your Timeline where you want to insert the text.

3) Click Titles in the Browser at the top.

4) Choose a style for the title. You’ll likely want one that sits at the bottom of the screen, like those labeled Lower, Lower Third, or Reveal Lower Third.

To see how one will look before choosing it, just move your cursor over it from left to right, and you’ll see its preview in the Viewer.

5) With your clip selected in the Timeline, you can double-click the title you pick to add it. Alternatively, you can drag a title to the Timeline and drop it on the clip.

6) Go up to the Viewer where you see the text box for the title, and enter your own text.

Add Title Clip iMovie Mac

Adjusting and adding more subtitles or captions

Once you add a Title to use as your subtitle and caption, you may need to adjust its duration. And you probably want to add more subtitles or captions for a single clip.

For instance, if your clip is one minute long but you need five subtitles within that one-minute clip, you can do this just as easily.

Adjusting the duration

You can lengthen or shorten how long the text appears on the screen in a couple of different ways. Select the title clip in the Timeline and then do one of the following:

  • Drag one of the edges to lengthen or shorten it. You’ll see the duration change as you do this.
  • Click the Clip Information ⓘ  button above the Viewer and enter a number of seconds in the Duration
Change Title Duration iMovie Mac

Changing the text styles

You can change the font style, size, color, format, and alignment of the text in your subtitle or caption too. Click the Title clip in your Timeline and then click the Title Settings button above the Viewer.

You’ll then see all of the options you have to adjust your text across the top of the Viewer.

Change Title Text iMovie Mac

Adding more subtitles or captions

If you need to add more subtitles or captions, follow the same steps above by double-clicking or dragging and dropping a Title onto the clip in the Timeline.

You can click and drag to move those Title clips where you need them. So you can easily have several attached to one clip.

Multiple Title Clips iMovie Mac

Adding subtitles or captions to your movies, videos, images, and other iMovie projects is simple with the Titles feature. Hopefully, down the road, Apple will create an official feature for adding these types of text elements. But in the meantime, using titles works!

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