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Learn LinkedIn best practices from this business owner’s content experiment, plus steps to test and optimize your own posts.How to Add Captions on TikTok Videos

Adding captions to your TikTok videos is essential for boosting engagement, accessibility, and viewer comprehension.

Whether you're new to content creation or a seasoned TikTok creator, video captions can enhance your video content and improve your reach on the platform. It’s okay if you haven’t been adding them – there’s no better time to learn than right now.

So, in this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of adding captions to your next TikTok post.

What are TikTok captions?

TikTok captions refer to the text overlay or subtitles that appear on videos. These captions transcribe audio content, providing a written representation of your voice, music, or other sounds.

@rorybradshaw_

I’ve left the Onyibo diet at home 😋 #fulldayofeating #whatieatinaday #healthylifestyle #nigeria #lagos #nigerianfood #fitness #wellbeing

♬ original sound – Rory Bradshaw

Why are captions important on TikTok?

Captions are crucial for several reasons:

  • Enhancing accessibility: Captions make your TikTok videos accessible to a wider audience, including individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. By adding captions, you increase the pool of people that can enjoy and engage with your content.
  • Increasing engagement: Did you that 75 percent of Internet users watch videos with the sound off for varying reasons? Captions are a necessity for capturing the attention of these viewers. Viewers who can follow along without needing the sound are likelier to stay and interact with your video. Engaging captions can also entice viewers to turn the sound on, further increasing their interaction with your content.
  • Improving comprehension: Captions help clarify the audio content of your videos, which is particularly beneficial for several reasons.
    • One, non-native speakers who are better with written over spoken English will find it helpful.
    • Two, you can take those clips with poor audio and give them new life with captions.
    • Third, viewers in noisy environments or who can’t turn their volume up will be grateful for the captions.
    • Last but not least, captions help ensure that your message is understood clearly. This is especially important for educational or informative videos where precise comprehension is key.
  • Boosting SEO and discoverability: The TikTok algorithm favors content that keeps viewers engaged longer, and captions can contribute to this by making your videos more accessible and understandable. Moreover, captions can include keywords and phrases relevant to your content, which can help your videos appear in search results and on the For You Page (FYP), boosting your TikTok SEO.
  • Enhancing viewer experience: Captions can also improve the overall viewer experience by providing context and emphasizing key points. This can be particularly useful in storytelling or complex narratives where viewers might miss important details. Well-placed captions can highlight crucial moments, punchlines, or instructions, making your video more enjoyable and effective.

How to edit TikTok captions onto videos in-app

TikTok's editing features make it possible to add captions directly within the app, with varying degrees of easiness.

How to add captions manually on TikTok

Here’s a quick tutorial for adding captions manually:

Step 1: Launch the TikTok app and select the video you want to add captions to. This could be a new video you're about to create or an existing one you want to edit.

Step 2: Once you’re satisfied with your video, tap the checkmark to edit your post.

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On the right side of the editing screen, tap the down arrow and then the Save button to archive a version of your video without captions (or the TikTok watermark) to post on other platforms.

Step 3: Tap the Edit button in the panel on the right of the screen, then the Text button, to add text overlays to your video.

Step 4: Enter the text you want to appear as captions. You can customize the text by changing its style, color, and position to fit your video's aesthetic. 

Step 5: Drag the text to your desired position on the screen. You can also set the duration for how long each caption appears by tapping the text and adjusting the timeline.

Step 6: Once you're satisfied with the captions, watch the video to double-check for typos, then tap Next to proceed.

Step 7: Fill in the details with relevant TikTok hashtags along with the other settings, then tap Post to share your video.

Although manual captions can be quite labor-intensive, there are ways to use them creatively that don’t require captioning every single word you say.

@haikettua_atl

We all need to socialize sometimes and I prefer at my own place. #House #cleaningtiktok #cleanwithme #dreamhome #bedroom #homesweethome #renovation #luxurycandles #furniture #newhouse #housetour #contentcreator #apartmenttour #houseoftiktok #stanley #organize #interiordecor #lamp #vintage #smarthome #livingroom #realtor #homestyle #apartmenttherapy #realestate #wellness #nesting #homefind #cleaning #midcenturymodern

♬ Trendsetter – Connor Price & Haviah Mighty

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Pro-tip: If you think captions would overshadow your video but still want to offer accessibility and SEO benefits, consider adding them in smaller font in the bottom right or left of your video.

How to add captions automatically

Here’s a quick tutorial for the auto-caption feature:

Step 1: Open the TikTok app and either create a new video or select an existing one from your drafts. 

Step 2: Once you’re done editing your video, just before you post, look for the signs that you have access to the auto-captions feature (you should). You’ll be able to tell if, in the More options section, you can see the options for Select video language – that means TikTok will automatically transcribe the audio in your video and generate captions in the language you choose.

How to Add Captions on TikTok Videos

Unfortunately, you can’t review the auto-generated captions for accuracy or change them visually to match your video. However, this option is still better than no captions at all.

Once you've posted your video, double-check that the auto-captions showed up. If possible, pop a note in your comments that viewers should “make sure their captions are on.”

Adding captions to TikTok videos with third-party apps

Captioning TikTok videos on the official app is quite time-consuming, especially if you want everything to look perfect and well-adjusted. 

For that reason, there are plenty of third-party editing apps for mobile and desktop that make the process more straightforward.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a third-party app:

  • TikTok’s algorithm isn’t a big fan of videos with pre-existing captions, which rules out several video editing tools. This might not hurt creators with large followings, but if you’re just starting out, you need as much leverage as possible.
  • With third-party apps, you might be unable to keep your video's quality.
  • Editing apps can be expensive, depending on which you choose, so if you want to keep adding captions, it’s best to go with the option that hits the middle ground of pricing and functionality.

3 apps you can use to add captions to TikTok videos

Here are some third-party apps to consider for editing captions into your TikTok videos, available on both iOS and Android.

CapCut

The best free app for adding captions to TikTok videos

CapCut is the most obvious option for editing captions onto TikTok videos because:

  • It shares a parent company with TikTok, so the algorithm doesn’t mind it
  • It already has most of the features available on the platform. Editing is smooth because its auto-caption feature is pretty accurate.
  • Its caption feature is free-to-use

To add captions using CapCut:

  1. Download the app on iOS or Android
  2. Record or upload the clip(s) you want to share, then hit Next
  3. At the bottom of the screen, scroll till you find the Captions option
  4. You’ll get a bunch of options to Add captions, create Auto captions, select from the available Caption templates, or Import your own caption file.
  5. Select Auto captions, 
  6. Under Generate from, select Video, then toggle on the Identify filler words option
  1. Once it’s done generating the captions, it’ll give you the option to delete clips with too many pauses. If you’d prefer to edit these yourself, don’t tap Delete, just tap Done
  2. Then go to the Edit captions button at the bottom of the screen to fix any typos and structural issues with your captions
  3. Once editing is complete, tap the upwards arrow button at the top left of the screen to export your video and upload to TikTok
  4. Select Share to TikTok 

InShot

InShot is probably the most popular caption app for TikTok editing after CapCut. If you are struggling to learn how to add captions to TikTok, you can easily do it for free. It also preserves video quality, so you don’t need to worry about blur.

Splice

Splice is a fantastic editing app that lets you do almost anything with your video and keep the highest quality. This app's features make mastering how to caption TikTok videos easy. You can use a free trial to start, but will then need to pay $4.99 per week at the lowest tier.

Tips for better TikTok captions

When done right, captions can make your video more accessible, engaging, and valuable for viewers. However, if done wrong, they can be distracting.

Here are some tips to help you create better captions and avoid confusing your viewers more than you help them:

  • Keep your captions concise – each one should stay on the screen long enough for viewers to follow along comfortably.
  • For videos with multiple speakers, label each caption with the corresponding speaker’s name. Better yet, assign each speaker's caption a different color so viewers can intuitively tell who's speaking at what point.
  • Make sure your captions appear and disappear at the right points (and that they don't overlap with each other).
  • Move your captions around to avoid obstructing important visual portions of your video.
  • Double-check for spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, and any other inconsistencies before hitting Publish.

FAQs about adding captions to your TikTok videos

What’s the difference between auto-captions and manual captions in TikTok?

Auto-captions on TikTok are automatically generated by the platform. Manual captions are just that – captions added by hand. While manual captioning allows more control and accuracy over the captioning process, it takes longer than any other of the options in this article.

Can you fix auto-captions?

No, you can't edit auto-captions on TikTok. Unfortunate, really.

Can you add captions on TikTok after posting?

No, you can’t add captions to TikTok videos after posting – you’ll need to add cpations to a blank version of your video, re-upload and repost it. This is why it's important to save a draft of your video before you add any special edits!

When should you use captions in your videos?

Always. More specifically, add captions when you want to enhance accessibility, improve comprehension, or reach a broader audience with your content.

Always save a version of your video without captions

Just as TikTok’s algorithm doesn’t like videos that already have captions added, so do the other social media platforms’ algorithms react. So when creating a video for cross-posting to other short-form video platforms like Reels and YouTube Shorts, remember to save the original video without the captions first before you proceed to add captions.

Finally, always use relevant hashtags, and check for typos before posting. Start captioning your TikTok content today and watch your engagement soar!

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