What exactly is an SRT File, & Why Is It So Important for Video?

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Nowadays, subtitles are becoming more and more common, particularly as companies expand their marketing efforts and aim to reach a broader, global market. Additionally , subtitles are often necessary to ensure your video and audio files are as inclusive as you can.

Fortunately, there’s an easy answer to adding subtitles to video — an SRT document.

To ensure your videos are inclusive and easily digestible for any audience, it’s critical you include an option to watch with subtitles. Here, we will explain what an SRT file is, and how to develop and edit one for your marketing videos moving forward.

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What exactly is an SRT File?

An SRT file (otherwise known as a SubRip Subtitle file) is a plain-text file that contains critical information regarding subtitles, including the start and finish timecodes of your text to ensure your subtitles match your audio, and the sequential amount of subtitles.

It’s important to note, a good SRT file is just a text file you would use together with video or audio — it does not also include the video or audio you’re subtitling.

SRT files can be created from scrape or downloaded and edited. Before we get into the basics of editing SRT data files, let’s take a look at what an SRT file looks like and how it’s formatted.  

SRT File Example

Generally, Wordpad or Notepad are the simplest programs to open SRT files with because you can watch them in plain text. However , you can also use software specific to SRT data files such as Subtitle Workshop (more on this later).

In order for an SRT file to work in conjunction with the video or audio file it’s paired with, it must follow a specific format including:  

  1. The line number
  2. The time range where the line should appear in the video
  3. The text that should display on the line

srt file example

The timestamp is usually formatted like so with the particular milliseconds rounded to 3 decimal points:  

Hours: Minutes: Seconds, Milliseconds

The timeframe is formatted like so with an arrow denoting range:

[First Timestamp] –> [Second Timestamp]

The particular arrow must consist of two hyphens and a right-pointing position bracket (also known as the greater-than sign or carrot).

Should you be creating one from scratch, feel free to copy and paste this particular sample SRT formatting:

If you see your subtitles don’t arrange with your audio, or you need to change the phrasing, it’s simple enough to edit your SRT file. Consider using Subtitle Workshop  or another subtitle editor of your choice.

Alternatively, if you do not want to download an publisher, you can open your SRT file in Notepad. You can change the time and key phrases within the file, but have a tendency change the punctuation. Then, click on “File” → “Save as”, and choose the SRT document extension.

Captions are one element that you can include in your video marketing strategy which makes your content more inclusive plus valuable to your audience.  

Editor’s note: This awesome article was originally published in December 2018 and has been up-to-date for comprehensiveness.

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