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How to Add Captions on TikTok: 3 Easy TikTok Caption Methods

Wondering how to add captions on TikTok? Here are our top tips to help you master the art of TikTok captions!
Ortal Hadad
Content Specialist & Blog Editor
Last Updated:
March 5, 2024
Reviewed by
Ortal Hadad

TikTok is one of today's fastest-growing social media platforms with over a billion monthly active users every month.

While creating engaging video content is the key to a successful TikTok strategy, adding captions to your TikTok content is just as important. With captions, you can improve your content's reach, value, and accessibility.

We’re here to help. Read on for a complete step-by-step walkthrough on how to add captions to your TikTok videos seamlessly. We cover 3 different methods for easy TikTok captions.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a popular video-based social media app with a growing audience. On TikTok, creators can film and share short videos in response to trends, challenges, and current events.

The TikTok algorithm makes it easier than ever for new creators to increase their audience reach. TikTok sends relevant content to users based on their previous interests. This means that videos automatically appear in front of audiences likely to enjoy them.

As TikTok continues to grow as a social media empire, more and more users are joining the platform. Every day, thousands of new short-form videos are added to TikTok, with new opportunities becoming available for marketing, community building, and even video monetization.

Why do you need captions on TikTok?

TikTok is all about video content, but captions also play an important role on the app.

Other than the brief description that accompanies each TikTok video, captions are your only real chance to include text-based information in your TikTok posts.

By including captions as part of your TikTok strategy, you can make the most of a range of benefits, including those relating to accessibility, reach, and watch time. There are no downsides!

Benefits of adding captions on your TikTok videos

Adding captions to your TikTok videos can have many important benefits, helping you grow your account and achieve the next milestone in your social media marketing journey.

Increase your content’s accessibility

Using captions, you can ensure that your TikTok videos are accessible to users who are hard of hearing or who are unable to listen to videos with sound on. Adding subtitles on the screen to describe audio content helps to make your TikTok account as inclusive as possible. Plus, you'll get to reach a larger potential audience!

Improve your reach with SEO

Beyond the all-important accessibility benefits provided by TikTok subtitles, captioning your TikTok videos can help to improve your SEO (search engine optimization) and boost your content in the app's algorithm. By making it easier for digital technologies to interpret and categorize your content, captions can help your TikTok videos show up for more interested users.

How to add captions on TikTok

Adding captions to your TikTok videos is easy when you know how! There are several different ways to add TikTok captions before publishing your latest content. Here are a few of the simplest strategies.

How to add auto-captions on TikTok

The first option is to use the TikTok auto-captions feature. This feature allows you to automatically generate captions for your TikTok videos, based on intelligent technology systems.

Auto-captions are a great way to save time on video creation while ensuring that your content always includes subtitles. However, it isn't foolproof. Auto captions can be prone to errors, so you'll need to carefully proofread your captions before publishing content.

To add auto-captions, follow these steps:

Step 1: Record or upload

First, record or upload your TikTok video. You can do this by opening the TikTok app, selecting the + icon to create a video, and either using the record button to capture content or the upload button to add clips from your camera roll. Once you're done, tap the red check button or the next button, depending on whether you recorded content in the app or uploaded from another source.

Recording a video on TikTok to add captions to

Step 2: Turn on captions

Next, look at the menu on the right side of the screen. Here, you'll find the captions option. Click this, and agree with the consent form that pops up. Then select turn on captions. This will allow the TikTok app to auto-generate subtitles for your content.

Turning on captions on a TikTok video

Step 3: Review captions

Once your captions are ready, it's time to review them. Your captions will appear to be edited at the bottom of the screen. Tap the play button next to each line, and check that your captions match the content of your video. If you need to make changes, you can tap the text and retype captions. When you've finished reviewing, click save to finalize.

Reviewing captions on TikTok

Step 4: Prepare to post

When your captions are complete, you'll be ready to publish your video! Review all of your content one last time before progressing to the posting screen, entering a description and hashtags, and pressing post to share your video.

How to add captions through captioning software

If you'd prefer not to use TikTok's in-built caption tools, don't worry. You can also create captions using other software tools. There are a range of options available that are compatible with TikTok videos.

Captioning software is a good option, as it allows you to generate captions easily and efficiently without transcribing audio manually. Many offer better accuracy over TikTok, and some help streamline your workflow. For example, Riverside’s Ai transcriptions generate straight after recording so you don’t even need to re-upload anything.

To add captions with captioning software, follow these steps:

Step 1: Choose your software system

Before you can start generating captions, you'll need to choose the right software to help you. Some popular software choices include Kapwing, Wondershare or Riverside. Different systems have different features and benefits, so consider what tools you need before making your final choice.

Step 2: Generate captions

Next, it's time to generate video captions! The process for this will vary slightly depending on the tool you use. However, most software tools, will require you to upload a video from your camera roll, then click a button to generate captions automatically. A platform like Riverside, generates transcriptions straight after recording. You can download these as TXT or SRT files, or you can easily burn them into your TikTok video with the editor. You don't need to use an external platform. It's as smooth as recording, then polishing off your video with captions and editing straight after recording.

Step 3: Download your video

Once your captions are complete and you've checked them to ensure that there aren't any errors, you're ready to export and download your video. Save your video to your device, ideally a mobile with the TikTok app installed. Your captioned video will be stored in your device's camera roll.

Step 4: Upload and publish

When you're ready, you can now upload your captioned video to TikTok and publish it! You'll need to upload your video from your camera roll. You can do this by opening the TikTok app and selecting the + icon. Click upload to import videos from your device camera roll.

Note: Unlimited automatic transcriptions after recording are only available on a Riverside Pro or Business plan. If you're not on one of these plans, you can try our free video transcription tool where you'll need to upload your recording and we'll generate a transcript.

How to add captions to TikTok manually

Finally, if you don't want to use an automatic caption generator, you can choose to add captions to your TikTok manually. This is possible using TikTok's in-built text editing tools and features.

Manually adding captions is a good way to ensure that your subtitles are clear and accurate without any major mistakes. While this option can be a little more time-consuming, it also allows you to access a greater range of visual tools and effects.

To add manual captions, follow these steps:

Step 1: Record or upload

Before you can add or edit captions, you need video content! Start by opening the TikTok app and selecting the + icon. Here, you can use the record button to capture a new video or the upload option to upload from your camera role. Select the red check or next button when you're ready to start captioning.

Step 2: Listen and transcribe

Next, choose the text icon at the top of the menu on the right side of your screen. This will open the text editing tool, triggering your device keyboard. Listen closely to your audio content, and use the keyboard to transcribe what you hear as accurately as possible. If your video is quite short, you might group all content together in a single caption. If it's longer, you can add several caption blocks, adjusting timing so that they appear in line with audio content.

Adding captions manually on TikTok

Step 3: Review and edit

When you've finished writing subtitles, you're ready to edit and review. This is your chance to revise your written content and make any corrections before your video goes live. You can also take this opportunity to change the color and font of your caption groups. When you've finished editing each group, select done at the top right of your screen. Click and drag to move text. Tap on text to open timing adjustment tools.

Reviewing captions on TikTok

Step 4: Post your content

Once your manual caption groups are complete, it's time to upload! Progress to the publishing screen, and add your video description, hashtags and any other required content. Then choose post to share your video!

How to edit and add captions to a TikTok video after posting

After publishing a video on TikTok, it is possible to revisit some elements of your post. For example, you can save a video to your camera roll, stitch it with another video, or edit privacy settings and tagged accounts.

Unfortunately, there is no way to edit your captions after your TikTok video has been published. This is because the text that appears onscreen is part of your video content, regardless of how you created your captions.

The only way to correct captioning errors on TikTok is to delete your video and republish it with the correct captions applied. This isn't ideal, especially if your video already has substantial views or engagements. This is why it's so important to double-check your TikTok captions before choosing to publish.

How to turn off captions on and off TikTok when watching videos

TikTok captions are a great way to improve your content and your viewing experience. This means that videos that include captions will continue to show captions, regardless of your settings or preferences.

Tips for using TikTok captions

When you know how to use TikTok captions effectively, you can create clear, high-quality content that is accessible to all kinds of TikTok users. As you improve you captioning skills, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Tip 1: When recording video content, try to speak clearly that it's easy for automated systems to generate accurate captions for your speech.
  • Tip 2: Review your language settings in the TikTok app so that your captions are generated in the language you speak.
  • Tip 3: Try to avoid writing captions in large blocks of text. Instead, break captions up so that they are easy to read.
  • Tip 4: Ensure that your captions are as clear as possible. Time them in line with audio content, and choose colors, fonts, and placements that are easy to see.
  • Tip 5: Always double check your captions before publishing your video. This way, you can avoid errors in your final content.

How to easily make TikTok clips with captions on Riverside

Want to make the best of your content all around social media?

With Riverside, you can create a long YouTube video and various short TikTok clips in one recording. 


Our Magic Clips tool finds key moments in your recording and turns them into 15-90 second clips. The number of clips you receive depends on your recording length, with longer recordings receiving more clips. Easy as that, you can turn one long-form piece of content into various TikTok clips.

All that’s left to do is polish your video in our text-based editor and burn in captions from our highly accurate AI transcriptions. You can also use these transcripts to trim your clips. Any text you delete in your transcript reflects directly in your video timeline. Customize your background, fine-tune your audio, and then you’re ready to post all over TikTok!

Follow these steps to create a TikTok video on Riverside with captions:

Step 1: Create or enter a Riverside studio. You can do this by selecting +new studio in your dashboard. 

You will need to name your studio and select your recording type. Choose audio & video, as you’re making a TikTok video.

Creating a new studio to record TikTok videos with on Riverside

Step 2: Select enter studio, and you’ll see the lobby where you can test your camera and mic. Select join studio when you are ready.

Entering a Riverside studio to create TikTok videos

Step 3: Invite your guests if you want to and haven't already then record as usual.

Step 4: Once you’ve finished recording, wait for your files to upload and then click view recordings on the sidebar of your studio. Select the recording you want to edit. 

View recordings button on Riverside

(Note that you can also directly access studio recordings from your Dashboard)

Step 5: In the recordings page, select the take you want to turn into a TikTok clip and click on‘Generate clips’. (It’s hard to miss). 

Now, let Ai do the work and generate your shareable short videos.

Creating TikTok clips with captions on Riverside

Step 4: Once your clips are ready, you can hover over them and click ‘Edit’ to preview them or to go to the editor where you can add captions.

Step 5: First trim or adjust your video to your desired length. You can do this using the transcript or the recording timeline. You can also use the top toolbar to customize your background or video layout, selecting what tracks you want to appear or what dimensions you prefer.

Step 6: To burn captions into your video, click the captions button in the top toolbar. You can then select what style you like.

To adjust the position of your captions on your video, click on them and drag them around till you’re pleased.

Step 7: Finish off the last touches, by fine-tuning your audio or  remove unwanted silences automatically with our Magic Tools.

Step 8: Export your video clip and share it all over social media!

You can watch the full tutorial here:

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FAQs on how to add captions on TikTok

Still unsure about the TikTok captioning process? Here are our answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions.

Why can't I add captions on TikTok?

If you're having trouble adding captions to your TikTok videos, you might be facing a technical glitch. Go back through our caption-adding instructions, and ensure that you're not missing any important steps. If you still can't add captions, turn up your sound, and make sure that audio content is available in your video. This is what the TikTok app will use to auto-generate captions.

How do you move captions on TikTok?

Once you've created captions for your TikTok video, you may need to move them so that they appear on a different part of the screen where they are easier to read or won't obscure other video elements. Unfortunately, when you enable automatic captions, these will appear fixed on the screen. However, manually added captions can be dragged across the screen easily.

Ready to get started on TikTok? Start your journey with Riverside Clips right now!

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