Almost all TikTok videos use sound. But including captions allows the video to be more accessible to all who view it and ultimately, can help you land on more “For You” pages.
Captioned TikToks are more accessible to people with hearing disabilities and more memorable because the viewer can read the words that are muffled or hard to hear. In this tutorial, I'll show you how to add captions to a TikTok video before you post it on TikTok.
This tutorial uses a free auto Subtitle Maker called Kapwing that is popular among TikTokers. For example, racial justice advocate Kimberly Foster using Kapwing to add Closed Captions to TikToks and Instagram Reels. Creators can apply this technique for any vertical video.
Follow these 3 steps to add captions directly into TikTok videos.
- Upload the video clip(s)
- Generate or add captions
- Export, download and share the video to TikTok
1. Upload the video clips to the Kapwing Studio
Begin by heading to Kapwing's Subtitle Maker and click "Start Editing" to enter the Kapwing Studio. Here, you can upload the entire video.
If the video is already posted on TikTok, you can paste the URL of the TikTok video into the paste box to import it into the editor.
After the video is uploaded, you’ll be able to edit the video before adding subtitles. Trim the clip so that meets TikTok's 60 second requirement, combine multiple clips together with the "Add Scene" option or in the Timeline, crop or zoom in on the video, and change up the speed.
2. Generate or Add Captions
The next step is to actually add subtitles on your 9:16 TikTok video.
In the Kapwing Studio, click the subtitles button on the top menu. From there, type in the spoken content and use the time bar to time exactly when in the TikTok you want the subtitles to appear.
You can also be creative with your captions! The best TikToks use fun and colorful captions to stand out and grab viewers’ attention. Using the menu on the left, you can change the text color, size, or font and position the subtitles.
Another cool thing about the Kapwing Subtitles Editor is that it has an AI-powered auto-generated feature. Kapwing can automatically create subtitles that match your audio in a matter of minutes. Just click the Auto-Generate button, underneath "+ Add subtitle", to try it out. Automatic transcription works well if your TikTok has clear dialogue without much background noise.
After the auto-generaed captions appear, you can use the sliders to adjust the timings and correct any spelling or grammar errors.
On TikTok, the most popular style is to use white text with a black outline for captions. This is also the default style in Kapwing's Subtitles Editor.
3. Export and share it to TikTok
When your video is finished, make sure the output size is 9:16 (the perfect size for the Tik Tok app!) and click 'Export video' in the upper righthand corner. Download the video to your camera roll. Now it's ready to be posted directly onto TikTok through the app.
You could also add captions directly on the TikTok app by opening the app, pressing the “+” icon at the bottom of the screen and using the text button at the bottom of the screen. The TikTok app has 5 different font styles, but if you’re looking for more creative captions, use the Kapwing Studio!