Most common subtitle file types

But there are differences depending on which subtitle format you are using. So, let’s take a look at some most common formats:

  1. SubRipper (.srt)

    It’s a compact and understandable format, so most subtitle converters and players can work with it. If you open such a file with a text editor, you will see only the time when the text is displayed and the text itself. SRT file example:

    SubRipper .srt subtitle file format
  2. MicroDVD (.sub)

    The second widely used format is MicroDVD. Unlike SRT, in this format, the binding is carried out not by time but by frame number. In general, this is not so reliable. If the frame rate of your copy of the movie and the one for which the subtitles were made do not match, the synchronization will be lost. The file structure looks like that:

    MicroDVD .sub subtitle file format
  3. Sub Station Alpha (.ssa)

    It is an advanced subtitle format that allows you to control many text parameters: font format, color, height, transparency, text location on frames. This format is quite popular and is widely supported by players along with SRT, though its syntax is not as simple:

    Sub Station Alpha .ssa subtitle file format
  4. SAMI (.smi)

    Next is a Microsoft official format SAMI (Synchronised Accessible Media Interchange). It is relatively flexible and well-documented, however, it is very difficult to find a good converter for it. In its structure, it is very reminiscent of an HTML document, because the format was developed on its basis:

    SAMI .smi subtitle file format

    Adding to that, this is the only format that standard Windows Media Player can play (moreover, the subtitle files must be named the same as the video files and located in the same directory).

  5. WebVTT (.vtt)

    Apart from the formats mentioned above, there’s also the WebVTT (Web Video Text Tracks) format. As the name suggests, it’s used on web pages and many video platforms, like YouTube, use this format to display closed captions in streaming video.

    It is based on SRT, hence looks almost the same, but has a few extra options, such as the ability to change the color and font of subtitles.

    WebVTT .vtt subtitle file format

What is the best subtitle format

If you wonder if there is a universal subtitle format that would work in most video players, the simplest and most common ones are SRT and VTT. They also work on most popular video platforms and social media pages.

Fortunately, subtitles of SRT format are easy to create. If you look at the example above, the structure is pretty simple:

  • a number that indicates where the text line is positioned in the sequence
  • time when subtitles should be displayed in the following format: 00:00:31,500 --> 00:00:35,100
  • text which should be shown at the specified time

Then put a blank line before the next line and repeat this for the rest of the text.

For VTT format, it’s almost the same, but there is “WEBVTT” written in the beginning of the file and no number of a subtitle position is needed.

Subtitle generator

While the process described above is simple, writing everything manually can be quite tedious, in which case it’s better to use subtitle generators. Luckily, we have just a tool for that!

With Clideo’s Subtitle Generator, the process of creating subtitles is much easier: you simply upload the video, choose how to add subtitles (manually or by uploading .SRT caption file if you have it and want to edit it), then add and edit the text.

The tool allows you to easily move the position of subtitles and change their duration. Plus, you can stylize their color, font, size and see it on the video right away. After you finish editing the text, you can get the caption file separately or simply download the video with subtitles already embedded.