How do I add captions to an external video?

If you are the video owner for a video hosted on a supported third-party media site, or if you already have an online link to a supported video type, you can create caption files for external videos.

Once you have uploaded your video and created captions, learn how to view video captions.


  • You cannot add a closed-captioning file to an online video if you are not the owner.
  • If you view a video in the Canvas by Instructure app, iOS devices can display captions created with WebVTT files. If you cannot view video captions in an iOS device, the caption type is not supported.

Create Caption Files

Create Caption Files

Amara is the same service referenced in our lesson about creating captions using the subtitle creation tool. The difference is that with YouTube and other third-party sites, your video is already uploaded to the Internet, so to create captions, all you need is the URL to the video.

Amara subtitles videos created with supported video types. Additionally, the video must be publicly accessible and hosted on supported third-party sites. Amara exports to a variety of file types, including WebVTT and SRT.

Upload Caption Files

Upload Caption Files

Most online video sites that support closed captioning will have a link to upload caption files. Each site will have its own requirement for the type of file required.


YouTube accepts a variety of file types. If you grant them permission, sites such as Amara and CaptionTube can link directly to your YouTube account and add the caption files directly to your video.

Embed Video in Canvas

When you're finished, embed your iFrame video or insert the YouTube link in Canvas. The closed-captioning option will appear with all available language caption files.