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Home icon grey.png   TriangleArrow-Right.svg General topics TriangleArrow-Right.svg Videos
TriangleArrow-Right.svg Settings
TriangleArrow-Right.svg Playback
TriangleArrow-Right.svg Videos
TriangleArrow-Right.svg Subtitles

XBMC supports both stand-alone subtitle and embedded subtitles. Most major subtitle formats are supported. XBMC can also search and download subtitles directly from full screen playback.


1 Changing subtitle settings during playback

Various subtitle settings can be changed or they turned On/Off (default is on) via the OSD (On Screen Display) while watching a movie by selecting the Audio options (not the subtitle downloader option).

There is no global ON/OFF setting for subtitles, as this setting is stored on a per-video basis, but you can quickly set the setting on all videos by manually changing it using the OSD, then hitting "Set as default for all videos".

Note: This will save *all* settings from this page as the default for all videos, not just the subtitle option.

Allows you to adjust the playback volume
Volume Amplification (Dynamic Range Compression)
Allows you to adjust how much the audio range is compressed, making the loud and soft sounds closer in volume. This is useful when watching movies with loud sound effects such as explosions at night.
Audio Offset
Adjusts how long that the audio is delayed in relation to the video. This is useful when viewing poorly synced videos.
Audio Stream
If the video file contains more than one audio stream you can select them here.
Output stereo to all speakers
Outputs stereo to all speakers
Audio output
Select output device for the current stream
Enable Subtitles
Enable or disables subtitles. Subtitle tracks with the "forced" flag are unaffected by this and should always display.
Subtitle Offset
Adjusts how long that the subtitles are delayed in relation to the video
Allows you select which subtitles are displayed
  • As of v12, XBMC will auto select subtitle language based on your global settings. Also - Set as default for all Movies is now Set as default for all Videos. See: Settings/Appearance#International.
Browse for Subtitle
Allows you to browse the filesystem for the file used to display the subtitles
Set as default for all videos
Selecting this will make the current settings the default

2 Additional settings

2.1 Main settings

Settings -> Videos -> Subtitles


Lets you change how XBMC renders subtitles (not including DVD subtitles)

Font to use for plaintext subtitles.
Font size for plain text subtitles.
Color used for plain text subtitles.
-Character set
Override ASS/SSA subtitle fonts
Force the options for plaintext subs on ASS/SSA stylized subtitles.

Subtitle folder
Set a custom directory for your subtitles. This can be an smb share.
Subtitle location
Location of subtitles on the screen. This does not effect stylized subs such as SSA/ASS. Options are:
  • Fixed position (default) - Use the position defined in the video calibration screen. By default this is near the bottom of the video.
  • Above video - Place subtitles in the black area above the video when the video doesn't fill the top and bottom parts of the screen (letterbox).
  • Below video - Place subtitles in the black area below the video when the video doesn't fill the top and bottom parts of the screen (letterbox).
  • Top of video - Show subtitles near the top of the video.
  • Bottom of video - Show subtitles near the bottom of the video.

2.2 Default language selection

Settings -> Appearance -> International
Preferred Audio Language
Sets the default audio track when different language tracks are available.
Preferred Subtitle Language
Sets the default subtitles when different languages are available.

2.3 Adjusting subtitles position

The position of the subtitles can be adjusted vertically (but not horizontally) in the Video Calibration screen, you can also configure the way that they are displayed though the Subtitles Settings.
Note: This does not apply to DVD subtitles as the DVD itself defines their location.

3 External subtitle files

To use stand-alone subtitle files with video files, put them in the same folder as the video file or alternatively go to the Subtitles Settings and set a Custom Subtitle Directory. You can also choose to manually browse for the subtitle file via the OSD (On Screen Display) Audio and Subtitle Settings. You can configure the way that they are displayed through the Subtitles Settings, and you can adjust where they are displayed onscreen through the Video Calibration Screen.

The subtitle and video files must have the same name, for example:

 Video File: The Matrix.avi
 Subtitle: The

3.1 Subtitle downloader

Future.png In the upcoming XBMC v13 "Gotham", the normal subtitles add-on has been replaced by a new system of subtitle service add-ons. See HOW-TO:Setup subtitle services for more info.

XBMC Subtitles is activated by pressing the subtitle button on the OSD (on-screen display). To bring up the OSD press M while playing/pausing video in fullscreen mode (toggle with Tab ).

To be able to use the add-on you need to enable it at:

System -> Appearance -> Skin -> Settings -> Add-on Shortcuts -> Video OSD -> Subtitle Add-on

XBMC Subtitles can be set to automatically download (when pressing the subtitle button) the first synced subtitle if you enable Auto download first "sync" subtitle. Even though a synced subtitle is downloaded according to the add-on it's not always in sync. You can then either press the subtitle button again to manually select a different subtitle/provider or change the subtitle offset.

To bind the add-on to a key use RunScript(script.xbmc.subtitles) in the keyboard.xml file.

OSD subtitle button

3.2 Compressed subtitles

XBMC also supports compressed VobSub subtitles. Please note that the subtitles inside the RAR archive still need to have the same name as the video file.

 Video File: The Matrix.avi
 Subtitle: The Matrix.rar 

Where The Matrix.rar containins the VobSub-file The Matrix.sub and the The Matrix.idx VobSub index-file that has been compressed with RAR. If you want XBMC to automatically turn on packed subtitles, you have to turn on the Search for Subtitles in RARs option in Subtitles Settings.

3.3 Using multi language subtitles

XBMC supports the use of more than one external subtitle. This of course is most useful when you have more than one subtitle file, (eg. for more than language).

To use this functionality you need to rename the video file and subtitle files as follows:

 Video File: The Matrix.avi
 Subtitle 1: The
 Subtitle 2: The
 Subtitle 3: The

The dot after the filename but before the extension specifies the language (you can use anything here, mix numbers and and letters or just use one or the other).

You can even mix subtitle formats, eg:

 Video File: Movie Name (2006).avi
 Subtitle 1: Movie Name (2006).Chinese.idx
 Subtitle 1: Movie Name (2006).Chinese.sub
 Subtitle 2: Movie Name (2006).Japanese.idx
 Subtitle 2: Movie Name (2006).Japanese.sub
 Subtitle 3: Movie Name (2006)
 Subtitle 4: Movie Name (2006).French.smi
 Subtitle 5: Movie Name (2006).German.ssa

4 Adding fonts

Additional fonts can be stored in the XBMC folder (one level below userdata) at XBMC/media/Fonts/

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