Mar 3, 2021

What is an SRT File?

3 minute read
Michael Aubry

If you've ever watched a movie with subtitles, the chances are you've used an SRT file.

The SRT file format help display subtitles for you, and it means that you can have different language subtitles with the same video download.

In this article, we'll walk you through what an SRT file is, how you can use it, and how you can create your own.

What Does SRT File Mean?

SRT is short for Sub Rip Title or SubRip Subtitle file. In plain terms, it's a file to help show subtitles. It's similar to Closed Captions and it's the file used to add subtitles to a video in post-production. We should note that a .SRT file without a video file isn't going to be very useful.

How Do I Open SRT Files?

In essence, a .SRT file extension is just a text file with a unique file name to help software understand that it is a subtitle file and not just a random text file.

Therefore, you can use any text editor of your choice to open it. We'd recommend Notepad+ as it's fully featured, however, any text editor that you have on your computer will work. Though, first, you might need to "teach" your computer that it needs to use a file editor to open .SRT files.

However, if you don't want to view its contents, and would just like to have shown on your movie, you just need to have it in the same folder as the movie itself. Most modern video players know to associate the movie with the subtitle file. If you've got multiple SRT files you can use your movie players settings option to select the one that you'd wish to use.

How Does an SRT File Work?

While there is a whole range of complicated file types and programming languages floating around on the web, an SRT file isn't one of them.

What is an SRT File

As you can see from the image above, SRT files are plain text files made up of three steps.

  1. A line number that denotes the entry
  2. The start and end time range when the text should appear in hours:minutes:seconds milliseconds format
  3. The text that should appear

Your video software simply pairs up the time range with the time on the video and thus decides what text to display. It's one of the most simple, yet beautiful systems that you can imagine.

How Do I Create an SRT File?

Creating or editing an SRT file is straightforward since it's such simple formatting. You just need to open the text file alongside it. However, to make it easier, you can use a tool such as Subtitle Workshop to make it easier.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the Difference Between Closed Captions and Subtitles?

In classical terms, closed captioning assumes the audience is hard of hearing and needs a text description of what they would be hearing. Whereas subtitles assume the viewer can hear but needs the additional dialogue.

What Video File Formats Can I Use SRT With?

You can use the SRT format with any kind of video format as long as your media player supports their use.

Where Can I Download SRT Files?

Unlike most movies, subtitles are completely free. You can use a site such as OpenSutbitles to download subtitles for your favorite movie.

SRT Files - A Recap

So there you have it. Everything you need to know about SRT files, how to handle them, and their use. SRT files definitely make watching movies easier, so if you need to, then make sure you download one.

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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