Change Subtitle Font Appearance, Size and Color in VLC

VLC Media player is great for loading custom or external subtitle files. The player even identifies and automatically adds subtitles to videos based on the file name. Moreover, there are additional options to configure the on-screen text. We can easily change the font from the default one like Arial to something else like Roboto, as long as it is in the system. The size of the font can also be increased or reduced as per your preference.

Various other customizations regarding the appearance of the subtitles can be made. By default, it displays white text with a black border around it for visibility. We can change the color of the font. We can also modify the outline color and width. There’s even an option to add shadow to the text for blending in. These are simple options that are found in the Subtitles / OSD tab of VLC’s main preferences.

Here’s how you can access and change the subtitle font details:

  • Go to Tools > Preferences [CTRL + P].
    VLC Tools Preferences
  • Click on Subtitles / OSD.
  • Under Subtitle effects, you will find the following options:
    Subtitle and On Screen Display Settings

    • Font: A dropdown to choose a different font present in your system.
    • Font size: Choose between Smaller, Small, Normal, Large and Larger sizes for increasing or decreasing appearance.
    • Outline thickness: Select between None, Thin, Normal, and Thick for blending and visibility.
    • Text default color: Switch from the default white to something else like red, blue or some custom color.
    • Outline color: The color of the border or outline which should contrast the text color.
    • Add a shadow: Check it to add some shadow that will also improve the visibility.
    • Add a background: Select it to add a dark background which is transparent. Text will be displayed on it.
  • Hit Save, to keep all the changes.

If the video is currently playing, the modifications that you make will not be immediately visible. You will have to stop and play it, or open up a new one to see the dashing new text display changes that you just made.

Manually Set the Subtitle Font Size

If the relative font size (smaller to larger) doesn’t make the text size a suitable one according to your choice, you can input the exact size in pixels as well. This option is available in the Advanced Preferences and it overrides the relative font size settings. To do it:

  • Go to Tools > Preferences [Ctrl + P]
  • Click on All under Show settings
  • Navigate to Video > Subtitle / OSD > Text renderer
    Custom Subtitle Text Size
  • In Freetype2 font renderer, you can enter the Font size in pixels to your desired size.
  • Hit Save when done.

30 thoughts to “Change Subtitle Font Appearance, Size and Color in VLC”

  1. VLC 3.0.18, Win-10 —
    1. Instructions conceal the method of flagging simple value or advanced value to be applied. Presumably, the advanced size of zero flags the simple simple size, but we soundn’t have to guess, like Google & Apple require with phone OS.
    2. Saving advanced size value of 64 or 256 produced only 8px character.
    3. Changing monospaced font then produced 192px character.
    4. Setting advanced to 0px and simple to AUTO, normal, or any other size made no change.
    5. Clearly the renderer is VERY buggy, and does not operate in a manner consistent with the GUI.
    6. Is there a preferences text file that one can manually edit?

  2. Great thread!
    Just changing the font size never worked for me and I always thought that VLC wouldn’t mess up something as simple as changing subtitle font size.
    Changing the text size under text renderer works like it’s supposed to, but it shouldn’t be this way. I mean when there is an option to just change the size to small, large, etc, under Subtitles/OSD settings then it should work from there as well. Otherwise, what’s the point of having those settings there?

  3. hello, can you tell me how have done to change the font size of the subtitles embedded in the video


      1. But why? They are obviously not part of the video, as they can be turned on or off, even have several tracks.
        So why aren’t they rendered by the same engine?
        It’s very bad when watching movies on TV connected to laptop, and can’t read the subtitles. Or can’t move them around.

  4. I followed the navigation, but it does not work. I cannot move the subtitles to the corner or top. Can anyone explain me how to do?

  5. As much as I am truly grateful for VLC since it helps me educate myself via internet lectures and presentations etc, I am *still* looking for how to change subtitle / caption background colour. White font with no background, or clear background, on white video does not read very well 🙁 —- Posters take note, do NOT force white font on white background, bloody hell what *were* you thinking……

  6. hello! I’m using windows 10 and the font doesnt change, only the size, shadow, position,etc. please reply :C

  7. All this works if the SRT file is separate, but not if the subtitles are embedded inside MKV files and the author has somehow forced a large size in their own font and font-size.

  8. i had spent a lot of time trying to adjust the font size of the subtitle…but it didnt work properly..
    But the technique you suggested worked very well instantly… thanks a lot for your kind help…!!

  9. Is there some reason why the advanced adjustments won’t work? The subtitles are coded into the video file and not a separate file. When i adjust the pixel size after setting all these things- the only text that gets larger is the text which gives the file title at the beginning of playing. The subtitles are still super tiny and illegible unless you’re sitting next to the display. 🙁 I am using a Windows 10 (came installed) laptop; and the most up to date version of VLC. I have made these adjustments and tried restarting and i still can’t get larger text in the subtitles.

    1. Make sure the SRT file is in the same location as the video file and then try. Subs should load automatically and size changes will work.

        1. Thank you man!
          This worked like a charm with embedded subtitles.
          Is there a way to do this to Android tv box version of VLC? There I can’t use a mouse.

    1. For custom size, in advanced preferences go to Video > Subtitles / OSD > Text renderer and input the font size in pixels. Updated the tutorial above as well.

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