Support from FASE's Education Technology Office

How do I download a caption file from YouTube?

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This guide provides the steps to download captions that are automatically generated for YouTube videos.  You can only download captions files (.vtt, .srt, and .sbv format) for videos uploaded on a channel for which you have login privileges.  The format you choose to download depends on the requirements of the platform (eg. MyMedia accepts .vtt).  For an overview on what captions are and why we use them for videos, check out the guide on Video captions and audio transcripts.

1. Navigate to your video (after logging in)

  1. Select "Your videos" from the left-hand menu.  This will open a new tab, to your YouTube Studio dashboard. Select the desired video (or search for it in the search above at the top).

2. Select the "Subtitles" option for your video

Caption/transcripts are referred to as "Subtitles" on YouTube.

  1. Select "Subtitles" from the left-hand menu. This will open a new screen.
  2. Hover over subtitle and three vertical dots will appear on the far right. Click on the three dots to bring up an options menu.
  3. Select "Download."
  4. Select the caption file. For MyMedia, you will need a .vtt file. This will automatically download the file.

3. Edit your downloaded caption file (if inaccuracies are found)

According to YouTube Help, the captions that are generated by YouTube are "by machine learning algorithms, so the quality of the captions may vary."  To ensure that your captions are correct, you may consider reviewing and editing the file before uploading it to your video hosting platform.  After you open the captions file (for PC, it opens in Notebook and on Mac, it opens in Apple TextEdit):

Highlight the text that you want to edit and then replace with the correct copy. Save the updated .vtt file before closing it.

4. Upload your caption (.vtt) file to MyMedia

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