If you're an amateur video maker who works on a Mac, you're doubtless familiar with iMovie – both its terrific editing features and its weaknesses. The farther video content trends toward multimedia, and the higher the accessibility standards for video, the more iMovie might hold you back in your workflow.

Adding text to iMovie videos, whether in the form of subtitles, name cards, or custom titles, is especially difficult. iMovie provides several title options, but none of them gives you nearly the freedom and customization that you need to make a video your own. In this article, I'm going to show you some of the best, most functional ways to add and edit text to your iMovie projects. I'm going to be using Kapwing, so you won't have to download any other apps, and you can quickly transfer files from one studio to the other.

To add text to your iMovie project, you'll need to know 4 steps:

  1. Upload your video to Kapwing
  2. Add & edit your text
  3. Publish & download
  4. Put your video back in your iMovie project

Step 1: Upload your video to Kapwing

Transferring a video file from iMovie to Kapwing is completely painless. In iMovie, go to your media library and locate the file you want to add text to. Since iMovie only allows you to import files that are located on your computer, select the file you want and click "File" from the top toolbar. From the drop-down menu, select "Reveal in Finder."

Back in your browser window, go to Kapwing.com. If you want to add subtitles to your iMovie project, select "Products" from the top menu and choose "Subtitler." If you want to add any other type of text, click "Get Started" from the home screen, or, if you're already signed in, click "New Project," then "Start with Studio."

Now, simply open the Finder window with your video selected, and drag it into the Kapwing Studio! If you're uploading it to the Subtitler, first click "Upload," then drag the file from the Finder window into the drop-down window in Kapwing. In just a few moments, your clip will be fully uploaded.

Step 2: Add & Edit Your Text

If you're working in the Subtitler:

You can add your first caption by clicking the "Add Subtitle" button. Once you enter your text, set the caption's timing by clicking and dragging the sliding buttons below the subtitle. Every subtitle you add will automatically begin where the previous one ends. On the left side of the Subtitler window, you can edit everything about your text: font, size, color, and exact position. You can even resize your video and add custom padding!

You can also use Kapwing's auto-transcription feature, and let AI do your work for you. Just click "Auto-generate" and give Kapwing some time to transcribe the video's speech. This feature is still in Beta testing, but it tends to be highly accurate. When your transcription in finished, you can edit the text and customize your subtitles using the options in the left-hand menu.

If you're working in the Studio:

Deselect all layers and click "Text" in the top menu. Double-click on the new text box and enter your own text. To edit your text's size and arrangement, click & drag the text box and its corner buttons. When the text box is selected, you can edit it using the options in the right-hand menu. Here you can customize your text's font, color, outline, style, and position. You can even add custom animations by clicking the "Animate" button!

To change the time your text appears on your video, select "Timeline" from the top menu. In the Timeline, click & drag the left and right buttons of the text layer to adjust its timing.

While you're in the Studio, you can use Kapwing's tools to make any other edits you'd like:
• Add pictures & overlays
• Add shapes
• Adjust speed
Crop, resize & filter

Step 3: Publish & Download

Once your text looks the way you want it, click "Publish" in the upper right corner of the Studio window, or "Create" in the lower left corner of the Subtitler. Kapwing will automatically begin processing your clip.

When your video is finished processing, click "Download" on the right side of the screen. Your video will immediately download to your device.  

Note: If you’re using the iMovie mobile app, you’ll need to download the very small Kapwing mobile app from the App Store. The app doesn’t require any login – it’s only meant to help you download your videos! To download your video on your iPhone, just copy the URL of the download page and paste it into the URL field in the Kapwing app.

Step 4: Put Your Video Back in Your iMovie Project

Now that you've added text to your clip and saved it to your device, it's time to add it back into your iMovie project. The easiest way to do this is simply to drag & drop the file from any location into either your iMovie media library or your project's timeline itself. You can find the downloaded file in Finder or your browser's "Downloads" location.

While you can't edit your added text in iMovie, all videos created with Kapwing are automatically saved in cloud storage, if you're signed in. So if you signed into Kapwing using a Google or Facebook account, you can easily go back to any project and edit anything about it.


Remember to tag us @KapwingApp whenever you share your content on social media– we love to see what our creators are passionate about! And be sure to subscribe to the Kapwing Resources page – we’re constantly writing new tutorial and features to help you make the most out of Kapwing.

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