Learn how to add Plex subtitles to movies and TV shows.
Some people like to show up subtitles in the movies though they speak the language. One of the reasons is because sometimes the audio sounds are too loud that it blocks the conversations. With the subtitles on, we can still catch the conversation of the character even though we cannot hear what they say. It would be annoying if you have to rewind the show just to get what they said earlier.
Do you like to show up subtitles too?
So, if you want to know:
- the subtitles format the Plex supported,
- how to add Plex subtitles,
- how to fix Plex subtitles not working,
- and more
You’ve come to the right place. Without further ado, let’s dive right in!
What formats that Plex subtitles are supported?
Before we jump into adding the Plex subtitles tutorial, you need to know the supported formats. Either you use embedded tracks or external subtitle files, you should use one of these formats.
Here are four subtitle formats that Plex supported:
- SRT (.srt)
- SMI (.smi)
- SSA (or ASS) (.ssa or .ass)
- WebVTT (.vtt)
VOBSUB, PGS, or other formats may work on some Plex applications, but not all. However, to use those subtitles formats, the video should be transcoded to “burn-in” the subtitles for streaming.
Another issue that might happen is the Plex subtitles are not showing up. So, it’s important to check the subtitle formats in the first place.
How to Add Subtitles to Plex
There are two kinds of Plex subtitles that you need to know: embedded subtitles and external subtitle files.
However, in order to use them, you need to enable the Local Media Assets in the configuration settings.
- Open the Plex Web App.
- Go to Settings on the top right of the Home screen.
- Select your Plex Media Server from the list.
- Select Agents.
- Choose the library type and agent to change.
- Enable the Local Media Assets.
- Make the Local Media Assets is topmost in the list.
Let’s take a look at the differences between both subtitles and how to add them.
What are embedded subtitles?
Embedded subtitles are subtitles that are included within the movie file. These subtitles are the best because mostly they match perfectly to the movie.
The embedded subtitles for other languages usually come in great quality. The reason is that the translation is official. It means it’s done by professional subtitlers.
How to add embedded subtitles to Plex
- Set your account Audio/Subtitle Language preferences.
- Configure the Local Media Assets source as the above instructions.
- Do a “Refresh All Metadata” to update the content in the library.
As time goes by, you may add or remove files in the library or make some changes in the library. So, you need to refresh your library in order to keep it up to date.
When should you refresh your library? You can do it when:
- You’ve modified the Metadata Agent settings for the library.
- You’ve added “local media assets” (such as artwork, theme music, external subtitle files, etc.).
- You want to update the item posters, synopsis, etc.
- There is an issue with the poster that was downloaded.
- Items such as posters and other downloadable material are missing. This is possible if the refresh process is interrupted (the server is turned off, internet connection dies, etc).
What are external subtitle files?
External subtitles files are subtitles that you get from the internet. As you know that there are tons of websites that provide subtitles for movies and shows. They usually come in SRT format and are available to be downloaded for free.
However, external subtitles files are available in lots of versions. You must be very careful to find the one that matches the shows because the quality may not be as good as the embedded subtitles.
To make sure that the Plex external subtitle is showing up on the movie, it should have a similar name to the movie or show and is placed in the same folder. Follow the formats below to name the subtitle files.
- Movie_Name (Release Date).[Language_Code].ext
- Movies/Movie_Name (Release Date).[Language_Code].ext
Note: ext means extension. If you don’t see it in the file, it could be that your operating system hides it.
- TV Shows/Show_Name/Season XX/Show_Name SxxEyy.[Language_Code].ext
Big Bang Theory – s01e01.avi
Big Bang Theory – s01e01.en.srt
There are scenes when some characters in the movie speak an alien language. The subtitle for that “alien language” scene is called forced subtitle. To get the meaning of those alien language scenes, you must set up the subtitle as forced.
By adding ‘forced‘ to the subtitle name, you will enable this setting.
- Movie_Name (Release Date).[Language_Code].forced.ext
- Movies/Movie_Name (Release Date).[Language_Code].forced.ext
Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (SDH)
This subtitle is perfect for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. It contains some extra details like the sounds or tone. For example, something falls, crashes, a phone ringing, etc.
To enable this feature, you must name the subtitle files as follows:
- Movie_Name (Release Date).[Language_Code].sdh.ext
- Movies/Movie_Name (Release Date).[Language_Code].cc.ext
How to fix Plex subtitles not working
When you have downloaded the Plex subtitles for the movie, but they are not showing up, you may wonder why this happens and how to fix it.
Luckily, it’s not a big deal. You just need to make sure that they are located in the same folder with the same name. You can fix the Plex subtitles not working issue by following the steps below:
- Find the subtitle you just downloaded and move it to the same folder as the movie file.
- Rename the subtitle file to be exactly the same as the movie file.
Movie name: Train to Busan (2016).mkv
Plex subtitle: Train to Busan (2016).en.srt
Note: For optimum compatibility, ensure that embedded subtitles have the proper language flag set.
- How to Turn on Subtitles or Closed Captioning on Peacock
- How to Enable Closed Captions on Pluto TV
- How to Set the Parental Control on Peacock TV
I’ve been writing about tech since 2014. I found it fascinating to see the development of technology. My focus mostly is on app reviews, tips & tricks, and troubleshooting.