What Is an SRT File?

How to open, edit, & convert SRT files

What to Know

  • An SRT file is a SubRip Subtitle file.
  • Open one with a video player like VLC or MPC-HC.
  • Convert to VTT, TXT, and similar formats with Jubler or Rev.com.

This article explains what an SRT file is, how to edit one or make your own, which programs can play the file along with a video, and how to convert one to a different subtitle format.

What Is an SRT File?

A file with the .SRT file extension is a SubRip Subtitle file. These types of files hold video subtitle information like the start and end timecodes of the text and the sequential number of subtitles.

It's important to note that the file itself is just a text file used along with video data. This means it doesn't contain any video or audio data.

SRT Files

How to Open SRT Files

Any text editor can be used to open SRT files, since they're just plain text files. See our list of the Best Free Text Editors for some options, or consider using a dedicated SRT editor like Jubler.

However, the most common reason someone wants to open an SRT file is to use it with a video player so that the subtitles will play along with the movie.

In that case, you can open it with programs like VLC, MPC-HC, KMPlayer, MPlayer, BS.Player, or Windows Media Player (with the VobSub plugin). The SRT format is supported for YouTube videos as well, meaning you can even use the subtitles in one of your YouTube videos.

For example, when you have a movie open in VLC, you can use the Subtitle > Add Subtitle File menu to open the SRT file and have it play with the video. A similar menu can be found in all the other video players mentioned above.

Clideo has an online tool that can add an SRT file to a variety of video file formats.

Some of those multimedia players probably can't open an SRT file unless a video is already open. To open the file without a video, just to see the text, use one of the text editors mentioned above.

See our article How to Change File Associations in Windows if your SRT file is opening in a different program than you want it to open with. However, remember that because most video players that support this format probably have a special menu for opening it, like with VLC, you might have to open the program first and then import the file instead of just double-clicking it.

How to Convert an SRT File

Some of the editors and video players above can convert the file to other subtitle formats. Jubler, for instance, can save one to an SSA, SUB, TXT, STL, XML, or DXFP file, all of which are different types of subtitle formats.

You can also convert SRT files online at websites like Rev.com and Subtitle Converter. Rev.com, for example, can convert one to SCC, MCC, TTML, QT.TXT, VTT, CAP, and others. It can do so in batch and will even convert it to multiple formats simultaneously.

Rev.com SRT file conversion process

An SRT file is just a text file, not a video or audio file. You can't convert SRT to MP4 or any other multimedia format like that, no matter what you read elsewhere!

Still Can't Open the File?

If you can't open your file in the ways described above, double-check the file extension. Some files use a similar extension, even if the formats aren't at all related.

SRF and HGT are just a couple examples.

How to Create an SRT File

You can build your own SRT file using any text editor, so long as you keep the format correct and save it with the .SRT file extension. However, an easier way to build your own SRT file is to use the Jubler program mentioned at the top of this page.

An SRT file has a particular format it has to exist in. Here's an example of just a snippet from an SRT file:

01:20:45,138 --> 01:20:48,164
You'd say anything now
to get what you want.

The first number is the order that this subtitle chunk should take in relation to all the others. In the full SRT file, the next section is called 1098, and then 1099, and so on.

The second line is the timecode for how long the text should be displayed on the screen. It's set up in the format of HH:MM:SS,MIL, which is hours:minutes:seconds,milliseconds. This explains how long the text should display on the screen. In that example, those words would remain on the screen for about 3 seconds (48-45 seconds).

The other lines are the text that should show up during the time period defined right above it.

After one section, there needs to be a line of blank space before you start the next, which in this example would be:

01:20:52,412 --> 01:20:55,142
You want to feel sorry for yourself,
don't you?

Nothing special needs to be included at the very start or end of the SRT file. Just start and end like you'd write the examples we've given here.

The very end of this file might look something like this:

01:33:50,625 --> 01:33:52,293
This is finally the end.

More Information on the SRT Format

The program SubRip extracts subtitles from movies and displays the results in the SRT format as described above.

Another format that was originally called WebSRT, uses the .SRT file extension, too. It's now called WebVTT (Web Video Text Track) and uses the .VTT file extension. While it's supported by major browsers like Chrome and Firefox, it's not as popular as the SubRip Subtitle format and doesn't use the exact same format.

You can download SRT files from a variety of websites. One example is Podnapisi.net, which lets you download subtitles for TV shows and movies using an advanced search to find the exact video by year, type, episode, season, or language.

MKVToolNix is one example of a program that can delete or add subtitle files from MKV files.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you download an SRT file from YouTube? If the closed captions icon (CC) is visible beneath a YouTube video, you can use a site like SaveSubs to extract and download the video's subtitles. On SaveSubs, enter the URL of the video, select Download, and then select SRT.
  • How do you create an SRT file for Facebook? First, create the SRT file using a text editor or an SRT editor like Jubler. Then, select Edit video on the Facebook video, and select Choose File below Upload SRT files to upload your SRT file.
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