Add Subtitles in iMovie: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners


By Jack

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Add Subtitles in iMovie

Do you wonder how to add subtitles in iMovie? The truth is that it is a pretty simple task.

However, if you are a novice in this subject and want some guidance, this is a must-read article. So, keep reading and learn how to add subtitles in iMovie.

There are plenty of subtitle styles for you to try with iMovie. These subtitle effects allow you to create highly professional-looking movies. Also, there is no shortage of reasons for you to add a subtitle to a movie or a video. Assume that you have downloaded a video in a foreign language and need to understand it in English.

Under such circumstances, adding subtitles to it can be the most appropriate and convenient method. To do that, you can use the subtitles feature in iMovie. If not, think that you need to add closing credits to your video.

Regardless of the reason, adding subtitles becomes necessary. With that said, it is pretty simple to add a subtitle to iMovie.

How to Add Subtitles in iMovie

If you still want to know how to add subtitles in iMovie, this section explains it. In fact, the steps to add subtitles in iMovie actually differ from one version to another. But we will do our best to explain the process of applying subtitles to iMovie.

Part 1: how to add subtitles in iMovie 11/9/8

In this part, let’s learn how to add subtitles in iMovie if you are using version 11/9/8. Mentioned below are the steps to follow.

1. As the first step, you should open iMovie and start an iMovie project. To do this, you should go to the menu labeled ‘File’ and then select ‘New Project.’ Now, drag and drop video clips from the event browser to the project you have already opened.

2. Now, to add subtitles, you should first select T (which represents Titles) in the menu bar. To have a preview of the title you have selected, you can move the mouse over it.

Then, you should choose the type of title you prefer. To apply it, you should drag it and drop it on the project.

How to Add Subtitles in iMovie

3. In order to add subtitles between different video clips, you should drag the desired style. You will then see a green bar that appears just before the clip. Once the mouse is released, you will see a background window appears.

This window will ask you to choose a suitable background for your subtitles. Now, select the background you prefer, so you will see that the subtitles are displayed within the project.

choose a suitable background for your subtitles

Do you want to have subtitles to a certain video in the form of a caption? If so, you should drag and drop the style of the text into the respective place. In this case, you don’t want to select a color for the background. The title you select will be automatically applied to the separate clip.

drag and drop the style of the text

4. Now, you will see that the text is highlighted after it is added. The highlighted text will be displayed within the viewer, and you will be able to change it further. You can change it into anything.

For instance, if your requirement is to change the font style, you can do it. To do it, you should follow the simple steps mentioned below. Go to ‘Show Fonts’ and select ‘Change Fonts.’

By doing this, you will be able to change aspects like the color of the font, style, face, etc. You can play with it for a while so you can get an idea about the desired style.

change aspects like the color of the font, style, face
change aspects like the color of the font, style, face

5. At this point, you have successfully added subtitles to iMovie videos as well as for projects. Now, you will need to change the duration of the iMovie subtitles.

To do this, you can simply double-click on the title clip and then apply changes to the ‘Duration’ option. This is located in the ‘Inspector.’ If not, you can simply drag the slider in the project and change both duration and position.

change the 'Duration' option

Part 2: Adding subtitles in iMovie 10

Compared to iMovie 11, 9, and 8, iMovie 10 comes with a pretty different user interface. In this case, you will find the title tab under the option ‘Content Library.’ This option is located toward the left corner of the main screen.

  • Once your video footage is imported into the timeline, you will be able to place the playhead cursor there. Then, you will be able to put the subtitle overlay within the respective footage.
  • Click on the ‘T’ symbol, which denotes ‘Titles.’ Now, the title styles will appear according to the type you have already selected. Then, choose a style for the title and drag it and drop it into the video clips.
How to Add Subtitles in iMovie 10
  • Now, just enter and edit the text. To do this, you can use the preview window. By using this, you can change font size and other characteristics.

So, those are the steps to add titles and subtitles to the iMovie you have on the computer. We have explained how to add subtitles in iMovie versions 11, 10, 9, and 8.

Also, here is everything about iMovie vs. Final Cut Pro for your info too.

How to add subtitles in an easier way

iMovie is developed to be compatible with only some video file formats. That means iMovie has limitations when it comes to compatibility. For instance, you might see that iMovie doesn’t play MKV, WMV, VOB, AVI, etc., properly.

Therefore, if your original file is incompatible with iMovie, you should think of a different way. That means you should go for a different tool other than iMovie.

Wondershare Filmora is a powerful tool that works perfectly with Mac and Windows operating systems. If you have already downloaded files FLV, MKV, VOB, AVI, WMV, etc., you can use Filmora instead of iMovie.

Unlike iMovie, Filmora is compatible with all the video file formats used in the industry. Because of that, you don’t necessarily want to convert video files into iMovie-compatible format before adding subtitles.

Apart from adding subtitles, you can use Filmora for various other video editing purposes. When it comes to adding subtitles, Fimora provides bundles of various text and special effects (which can be downloaded).

Let’s look at the steps to add subtitles using Filmora.

01. As the first step, you should download and install Wondershare Filmora. Then, launch the software and click on the option ‘Create a new project.’

You can import the video files into the interface now. After doing that, you can drag and drop the images and videos into the respective track.


02. You can now add and customize the subtitles to the video. To get it done, you should go to the ‘Edit’ option and select the ‘Text’ tab.

Then, you will be able to see a preview of the title style provided. You can choose the preferred method. Then, you should double-click so you will be able to add the same to the video file.

You can then perform double-click on the text box so you can enter the text. In addition to that, you can even change the font, its color, and the size of the font.

How to Add Subtitles in iMovie with Filmora

03. Once you are done with the adding and editing of text, you can export the respective video clip. To do this, you should click on the button labeled ‘Export.’

Now, you will see the window titled ‘Export.’ As of now, you will see that there are six export options.

  • Save the video to the file format you desire
  • Export it to the device
  • Upload it directly to YouTube
  • Upload it directly to Vimeo
  • Upload it directly to Facebook
  • Burn the video to a DVD directly
Export Video using Filmora

Define the method you prefer and select the option labeled ‘Create.’ That’s it. As you have noticed, this is a superb tool that allows you to add subtitles with ease. Even if you are a novice, adding subtitles is a ‘walk in the park’ if you use Wondershare Filmora.

Also, read more about the full Movavi Video Editor Review here.


  1. Can I auto-generate subtitles in iMovie? No, iMovie doesn’t have an auto-generate subtitles feature. You’ll need to add them manually.
  2. Can I import SRT files in iMovie? No, iMovie doesn’t support SRT files. You’ll have to create and edit subtitles within the software.
  3. Why are my subtitles not syncing with the dialogue? This could be due to incorrect timing. You’ll need to manually adjust the subtitle timings in the timeline.
  4. Can I change the color of the subtitles in iMovie? Yes, you can customize the color, font, and size of subtitles in iMovie.
  5. What formats can I export my subtitled video in? iMovie allows you to export your subtitled video in a variety of formats including MP4, MOV, AVI, and more.

Bottom Line

As we have mentioned earlier, inserting a subtitle using Wondershare Filmora is much easier than using iMovie. Also, it has better compatibility with more video formats.

However, selecting the most appropriate method is up to you after reading the information.

In addition to that, if you know more ways to add subtitles in iMovie, let us know.


Ten years of experience in information and computer technology. Passionate about electronic devices, smartphones, computers, and modern technology.