Jul 4, 2022

How to add text to Tik Tok

6 minute read
Michael Aubry

Tik Tok has taken over in the last few years. Even overtaking Google as the most visited website, according to QZ. Google. Yes it overtook Google. Sorry, I just was in disbelief while writing that.

What started as dancing videos, has now become the new head of the world social media department. And people are going viral every day, picking up new tips, sounds, trendy dances or templates. Or, they're learning how to use text.

Why is Text Important on Tik Tok

Now I know what you're thinking, this is a video app, why do I need text? Now stay with me for a second, f you've ever been on Tik Tok, you know. It's basically mindless scrolling, and maybe you'll watch the full length of every fifth video. Having text on the first few images that catches the eye right away can be huge. Putting subtitles can make the difference. Creating small blocks of texts to add content, background or even just humor can be enough to make the difference. Remember, inches create miles.

Funny that this has become my most popular image on Unsplash, as it’s not really my style of shot. Our office had gone out on an excursion to the Broad Museum and I was just shooting around while we were waiting on lunch at Blue Cow across the street. When I saw the shot I asked the coworker featured, Olivia, if she’d be okay with the image going up for the world to use. She thought it sounded funny, so she signed the release and didn’t think twice about it. If you do an image search, you can see it’s been used over a hundred times for articles - almost always on the topic of social media.
Photo by Josh Rose / Unsplash

Viewers are more likely to watch the entire video is you can get them past the first few seconds. Some people do this by putting the ending at the beginning and saying "wait until the end to find out!" But some people do it by putting text at the beginning of their video, saying exactly what they are going to do or what the video is about.

But let's dive in.

How to Add Text to Tik Tok

So we're going to head over to our Motionbox editor. Don't forget to choose the IG Story aspect ratio for Tik Tok!

Once we have our clips loaded in, on the left side of the screen is a tool bar. Let's go ahead and select text. From here we have options based on what you would like to do. Basic text, text with motion. There are plenty of options whether you are looking for a title sequence, introducing characters, or even just small shoutouts.

When you're adding your text in, it's important to make sure of a few things.

  • You want to make sure that the text is in the video for the right amount of time. You can edit all of this in the timeline.
  • Be sure everything is spelled correctly. Unless it is intentional, you want to spell everything correctly.
  • Don't forget to be creative. There are so many options for text and things you can do. Get creative for what you're putting out!

The Types of Text in Tik Tok

Intro Title

This is exactly what it sounds like, this is going to be a block of text on the first few seconds and thumbnail of your video.

Typically this is done by giving the video a title. If you're making a series of skits about your neighborhood, the title could be "The Neighborhood, part 7" in big letters. If you're giving a how to video, your title text could be "How to add text to Tik Tok." Whatever you choose, you want the viewer to know exactly what they're getting. Catching their eye is most of the battle.

Some of the best practices:

  • Use text with some sort of background or highlight. Doing this ensures maximum visibility.
  • Make it three lines of text maximum. Doing anything more than this can get dreary to read, and will push people away from the video.
  • Don't lie about what's in the video. It might get you more people initially, but it won't help in the long run.
Slate It
Photo by Jakob Owens / Unsplash


Another type of text we'll see often is subtitles, or captions. The benefit of this is that having subtitles on your video allows for people to follow along to what's going on in your video.

This is especially helpful if you're doing any kind of instructional video. Luckily Motionbox has an automatic subtitles generator.

I would recommend playing around with the subtitles. Making them big or small, adding color, doing things to make your video stand out. Because that's the biggest thing, if your video doesn't stand out, it doesn't matter.

The best tips for subtitles:

  • Use a subtitle generator, doing them manually, unless you have some very specific idea, is a waste of time. Even if you have a specific idea, our subtitle generator is very customizable. So I guess the real tip here is to use Motionbox :).
  • Don't let your subtitles be in the way. Definitely experiment with different sizes of text, but don't let them take over the video.
  • Make sure its all correct! Sometimes the native Tik Tok caption generator can pick up the incorrect audio or get the wrongs wrong. So just double check to make sure everything is correct!
A snap shot from our film set while producing a documentary series for the Holocaust Center for Humanities. Here we are interviewing a local high school about their experience with some of the Center’s teaching materials.
Photo by Sam McGhee / Unsplash

Action Text

Action text is a small block of text that pops up as the video progresses to further the story.

This could be like providing quick background. Saying where you are, the time and location. Or even giving a short history or your character. There are plenty of options as to how to utilize action text.

But like everything, text is meant to further the story. More on this later :)

So when we approach using action text, a couple things to remember.

  • Don't let it get in the way. This is something that you want to avoid because as soon as the text is taking away from the video, you've lost.
  • Only make it up for a short time. It's not meant to be there for the entire video, let it do its job and then leave.
  • A pro tip for how long to have it up, is to read it to yourself out loud twice. That's how long you should leave it on screen.
Photo by Jeffrey Brandjes / Unsplash


This is a recent thing I've been seeing on Tik Tok. But using text somewhere to shout out a follower and make them feel special could be a huge bonus for engaging with your audience. So whether you're approaching it from the lens of doing a giveaway, or just saying hi. Having that human aspect of your video could be a major game changer.

Some best tips here:

  • Make it quick but noticeable. This is one of the only times the read out loud rule twice goes away. We want to see it, acknowledge it, but probably have to pause the video to read it.
  • Choose a random follower, or someone that's been interacting with you!
  • Keep it in the middle of the video, this way you still get some significant engagement.
I found some old disney film on 8mm film and thought why not try to photograph a filmroll again.
Photo by Denise Jans / Unsplash

Getting more reach with text

If your goal is reach, here are some of the best tips.

  • Use an eye catching title on the first few frames of the video.
  • Have engaging text throughout the video.
  • Have fun with it!

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I choose the font?

This is up to you completely! But you have the option of going on Tik Tok and seeing what's popular or what you like.

Where do I get text templates from?

We have lots of them in Motionbox!

Will I be Tik Tok famous?

If you try really hard, I believe in you.

Michael Aubry

Hey 👋 I am the founder and maker of Motionbox. My mission is to build useful tools in the video space. I enjoy science, art, and sports. Feel free to reach out to me.

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