Standard B: Captions

Equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation shall be synchronized with the presentation.

Captioning Videos on YouTube

Per Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation shall be synchronized with the presentation. Most, if not all, of the videos embedded on a webpage are videos uploaded to YouTube. This document, thus, covers how to add captions to videos uploaded to YouTube.

Adding Automatic Captions via YouTube Account Settings

The simplest way to add caption to your video is to activate the automatic captions by speech recognition in the channel Playback settings.

  1. Once logged in to the YouTube channel as an admin, click the channel logo on the top right corner and click the gear icon to go to the YouTube settings page.

    YoutTube Settings

  2. Under Account Settings on the top left corner, click Playback, then click the Show automatic captions by speech recognition (when available) option.
    Playback Menu Options
    Note: Select the Always show captions option if you will upload a third-party captioning file (e.g., .scc) or if you will manually create captions using CaptionTube as explained in the following section.

Adding Captions with CaptionTube

CaptionTube is the web application used to add closed captions to the tutorial videos posted on the YouTube channel. The process of captioning consists of reviewing the video and setting in and out points (the times where the captions will appear on the video) then adding written transcription of the instructions that are narrated in voice over by the presenter.

  1. Log in to CaptionTube at
  2. Click the Sign In button.
    CaptionTube Sign In
  3. At the Google accounts page, enter the Email and Password. This is the email account associated with the YouTube account that the video was uploaded to.
    Note: If Sign In is clicked while still logged in to YouTube in the same browser, CaptionTube will automatically open.
  4. Then, click Sign In.
    YouTube Account Sign In
  5. A list of videos may or may not appear in the My Videos section. If the video to be captioned appears in this list, click the Edit button in the Options column then, skip to Step #9.
  6. If the video does not appear in the list, it must be imported. Click the Personal Video button in the Import a Video for Captioning section.
    Import a Video for Captioning
  7. Select the video to be captioned by clicking the radial button to the left of the video’s thumbnail.
    Selecting the Video for Captioning
  8. Then, click the Import button.
    Import Button
  9. Click the Edit button associated with the video to be captioned in the My Videos section.
    Edit Button
    YouTube Video Preview Window
  10. In the Edit Captions window, click the Play button located in the center of the YouTube video preview window. When the narrator begins to speak, press the Pause button.
  11. Click the Add Caption button to create a blank caption with the current time set as the caption start time.
  12. Press the video's Play button. Listen to the voice over until the narrator completes the current step or thought then click the Pause button.
    Note: Determining how many thoughts or steps to include in a caption is a trial and error process.  However, do not enter more than two rows of text in the Caption Text textbox.
  13. Click the Caption Duration button to set the caption's end point.
    Caption Duration
  14. Enter the text of the voice over in the Caption Text textbox. Do not enter more than 2 lines of text or else the caption will overlap too much of the video.
  15. Then click the Save Caption button.
    Save Caption Button
  16. The caption appears on the timeline under the video preview.
  17. Repeat steps 10 – 16 to enter all of the captions.

Edit the captions if necessary and perform the appropriate steps for quality control before publishing.

Editing captions

Sometimes captions will need to be revised when voice overs are re-recorded, portions of a video are edited, or for other reasons.

  1. To edit a caption, click to select it from the timeline.
  2. Make the necessary revisions to the text in the Caption Text textbox. To adjust a caption’s start or end time, drag the playback slider to the appropriate location in the video then click the Caption Start Time button to set a new start time or Caption Duration button to set a new end time. Then, click the Save Caption button.
  3. To delete the caption, click the Delete Caption. Be careful when deleting captions because there is no confirmation window or an undo button.
  4. To abandon any changes, click the Cancel button.

Note: It is faster to edit captions by opening the .srt file in a text editor such as Textpad, Notepad, etc. and revising the text or the timecodes (in and out points). However, before doing so, be sure to make a copy of the original .srt file. This method is not recommended if you are new to the captioning process.

Publishing Captions

After the video has been reviewed and any errors corrected, the captions must be published.

  1. After all of the captions have been added, click the Publish button.
  2. If necessary, click to select the Download to My Computer radio button.
  3. In the Format Options sections, click to select the SubRip format (.srt) radio button, if necessary.
    Download to My Computer
  4. Click the Download Now button.
  5. Navigate to the directory/folder to store the caption file.
  6. Then, click the Finished button.
  7. Return to the YouTube video manager and navigate to the video that you just finished creating the captions for.
  8. Click the Captions tab.
  9. Click Upload Caption File or Transcript.
  10. Navigate to the folder/directory with the caption (.srt) file. Select the file then click the Open button.
  11. Leave the Caption file (includes time codes) radio button selected. Then click the Upload button.
  12. The Active Tracks section displays the active English track selection. Near the bottom right corner, a Closed Caption (CC) icon appears.
    Closed Caption (CC)

Publishing Captions to YouTube After Initial Caption File Upload

After uploading the initial caption file to YouTube, the next time captions are published, there will be an option to publish the captions straight to YouTube without having to upload the file manually.

  1. In the Edit Captions window, click Publish.
  2. In the Select a Publish Method for the Captions window, select the Publish on YouTube option, if necessary. Then select Update an Existing Track.
    Publish Method
  3. Then click the Publish button (see Figure 16).

Reviewing Captions and Quality Control

Return to the YouTube account. Review the captions for quality control. Click the View on Video Page button and review all of the captions. Ensure that there are no spelling errors, overlapping captions, captions with more than two rows of text, captions that don't match the voice over instructions or other errors. Correct any errors found.

View on Video Page

Logging Out

To log out of CaptionTube, click the Logout button.