What Is an SRT File? How to Create One (With an Example)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 10, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Marketers are constantly looking for ways to get their message to new audiences and industries. Subtitles are becoming increasingly common as they're a good way marketers can increase their reach on social media. Understanding how to create a subtitles file (SRT) is becoming an important skill that can help you share marketing materials with a broader audience.

In this article, we define what an SRT file is, discuss why these files are important, detail how to open one with a video, explain how to convert them to another format, explore how to create one, share some practical tips, and provide a template and example to guide you.

What is an SRT file?

An SRT file is an extension that stands for SubRip Subtitle file and contains all the critical information regarding subtitles. This includes the start and end time codes for the text, so the text matches the audio, video, and sequential number of subtitles. Files with the SRT extension don't contain any special coding. They're simply text files that the video maker created for you to use alongside the video data. It doesn't contain any video or audio data.

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Why are SubRip Subtitle files important?

With businesses operating in the global marketplace, it's becoming increasingly important to contact potential customers. Marketers can now communicate with consumers in overseas markets more easily in their messaging and advertising. In what may have been more challenging with a language barrier is now easier to overcome with the use of subtitles. Inclusivity is also growing in importance, and by using subtitles, you can make your message more inclusive to people with hearing impairments.

It's also important to consider people who prefer to watch videos on social media without audio. Some people prefer to watch videos with the subtitles on, even when they don't need them. This is because it helps improve overall comprehension of the video and, from the marketers' point of view, helps ensure they remain engaged. Keeping viewers engaged to watch the entire video is crucial for marketers, as it can affect SEO.

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How to open an SRT file

Users can open any file with the SRT extension using any text editor, including those that come free with most operating systems. There are also a number of text editing programs that're specifically for editing files with the SRT extension. An internet search provides numerous examples of these editors.

Most video players and sharing platforms support subtitles files, enabling users to open and view them. To access these files from any video player, find the “Subtitle” menu and click “Add Subtitle File,” then select the file you wish to open. This enables the file you select to play at the same time as the video. If you're opening the file in a video player, then most of the time it's necessary to have the video file already open. In the event you only want to see the text, a text editor is the better option.

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Converting an SRT file

There are several websites that allow users to download subtitle files they can use and enjoy with their favourite movies and TV shows. Sometimes the SRT format may not work with your video player, so it may be necessary to convert it to another format. This is a relatively simple process and many of the video players can do this for you.

If your video player doesn't do this, you can download a subtitle converter from the internet. There are multiple converters available, with many of them free to download. The most common formats to convert to include SSA, SUB, TXT, STL, XML, or DXFP files. A number of the programs allow you to convert a subtitle file to multiple formats in one batch. A subtitles file is a text file, so the only transformation it can make is to a different text format, and it can't become an MP4 or multimedia file.

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How to create and edit a SubRip Subtitle file

A SubRip Subtitle file is easy to create and edit by following these steps:

1. Open a text editor

You can create files with an SRT extension using any text editor. Using a text editor to create a subtitles file is relatively straightforward, even if you haven't used one previously. The key is getting the formatting right. Once you've chosen a text editor, open the program.

2. Enter the identification number

The first line of text you enter is the identifier. It's a sequential number that denotes the position in the stream for this piece of text. If this is the first subtitle for the video, enter “0001” and then hit “enter.”

3. Enter the time position

The next line of text tells the video where the subtitle is to be displayed. This is the time from the start of the video where you want the text to appear and the time it's to disappear. This is the timestamp, and it's important it's in the format:
hours:minutes:seconds,milliseconds --> hours:minutes:seconds,milliseconds

For example, if you want the text to appear at 4 minutes 37 seconds, and display until 4 minutes 42 seconds, you enter the following:
00:04:37,000 --> 00:04:42,000
It's important to remember hours, minutes, and seconds have 2 numerals, while milliseconds have three.

4. Enter the text

On the next line, you can enter the text that you want to appear at the position of the timestamp. The entry consists only of the text that's to appear on the screen at the relevant time interval. No additional text, numbers, or symbols are necessary immediately before it. At the end of the entry, it's important to leave a blank line before you start adding your next subtitle.

5. Continue to add text

Continue to add your subtitles, so there's an entry for each time interval. There's no additional text at the start of the or end of the text file. It's simply a series of entries following the format above. Once you've entered all the text you want to display on screen, save the file, making sure you use the extension SRT.

6. Editing the file

Sometimes it's necessary to make changes to the file at a later date. To do this, open the file in your text editor. Make the changes that you require, and then click on “Save.”

Tips for creating a Subrip Subtitle file

Here are some tips for when you are creating a subtitle file:

  • Think about how the text displays. Try to think about how much text is going to be on the screen at any one time. You don't want the text to cover the visuals, so try to limit each entry to a maximum of two to three lines.

  • Remember the viewer. The viewer reads the text in the time it's displayed on the screen. Make sure that you give them enough time to read the block of text that you're displaying.

  • Have the video playing: To ensure that the timestamp for each entry is correct, play the video on your computer at the same time. By doing this, not only is the positioning correct, but you can ensure the text is accurate as well.

Template for Subrip Subtitle file

Here's a template for your next subtitle file:

0001
00:00:00,000 --> 00:00:00,000
[Insert your text here]

0002
00:00:00,000 --> 00:00:00,000
[Insert your text here]

003
00:00:00,000 --> 00:00:00,000
[Insert your text here]

Example of Subrip Subtitle file

The subtitles file, called beautiful.SRT, to accompany a short video, might look like the following:

0001
00:00:03,127 --> 00:00:07:230
Hello John. It's a beautiful day today.

0002
00:00:09,535 --> 00:00:17,687
It is indeed Mary. I'm going to spend the day at the beach. Do you want to come with me? We could get ice cream.

0003
00:00:21,389 --> 00:00:30,768
I would love to, it's a perfect day to be outside and enjoy the sun.

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