How to Create an SRT File

In today's world of media sharing and hyper-connectivity, individuals can create and share media content to viewers thousands of miles away at the touch of a button. SRT files, commonly referred to as subtitle files, allow video content to be viewed in a variety of different languages, helping to ensure that all users can enjoy content with the necessary translations for text and spoken word. The beauty of an SRT file lies with its simplicity. Using a few simple steps, you can create SRT files using tools already included with your basic operating system.

An SRT file is a valuable tool for media producers who are seeking to make their content globally compatible with audiences who may not speak their same language.
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Tip

An SRT file is a valuable tool for media producers who are seeking to make their content globally compatible with audiences who may not speak their same language. Creating an SRT file is relatively easy to do, and doesn't require any special software outside of what already is included with your operating system.

The Fundamentals of SRT Files

An SRT file is essentially a text-based file composed of a few core items. Given the fact that the entirety of the SRT file is text-based, you can actually create SRT files within your computer's included text editing programs such as NotePad or TextEdit.

The SRT file features a series of entries, each of which is synced to a specific point in time during the film it is assigned to. To correctly display subtitles for a media program, each entry must include A.) a sequenced number placing it in the correct order (i.e. 1,2,3,4,5, etc.) B.) a specific start and endpoint, formatted to HH:MM:SS and C.) the content that should be included in the subtitle itself.

If any of this information is missing, the SRT file will not function properly and the subtitles will not display as intended during the film.

Creating an SRT File Example

The best possible way to master the technique of SRT file creation is to make one yourself. To get started, open TextEdit or NotePad on your computer. Once you have done so, go ahead and save your file with the appropriate extension. Open the "Save As..." window and affix the .SRT file extension to whatever name you choose. Then, confirm your save. Now, you are free to get started creating the content for the SRT file.

First, add the number 0 at the top of the document. This is the first of the sequenced numbers used to organize your subtitles. Press return twice to add a line break between this number and the next content. Next, add in a specific time duration. As an example, type the following: 00:00:00:00 --> 00:00:08:50

This denotes that the following subtitle will last from the very beginning of playback to exactly 8.5 seconds into the timeline.

Press return twice to add an additional line break, and then type in the content you wish to be displayed in the subtitle. For our purposes, you can type: This is a test.

At this point, you will have created all of the information needed to display the subtitle correctly. If you would like to add another subtitle, you can create an additional line break, then add the number 1 and repeat the previous steps to create the next line of subtitles.

As a general rule, it's always a good idea to test out your SRT file before distributing it. Whether you are checking times or searching for grammar/vocabulary issues, a thorough revision and editing process will ensure that you deliver the best possible product to audiences on a consistent basis. Once you are done, simply provide an SRT file download link for your users.

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