How to Change Subtitle Position in VLC

VLC Media player can easily load any external subtitle like a .srt file while playing videos. The subtitle is usually positioned near the bottom-center of the screen. But do you know that there are a lot of ways you can configure the display position of the subtitle? Not only can you choose the alignment as left, right and center, but you can also fine-tune its exact position. It is possible to move the text up or down by a certain number of pixels. This is a method to show it in an empty black area below the video instead of over the video.

Changing the Subtitle Alignment

While the bottom area of the screen is a preferable location for subtitles, some might want it in the top or align it in the left or right side of the screen. VLC has all the necessary features to place the text exactly where you want to.

To change the position:

  • Go to Tools > Preferences [CTRL + P].
    VLC Tools Preferences
  • Under Show settings, select the option that says All to switch to the advanced preferences.
    Switch to Full Preferences
  • Navigate to Input/Codecs > Subtitle codecs > Subtitles.
  • Under Text subtitle decoder set, the Subtitle justification to left, right or center.
    Text Subtitle Decorder
  • Hit Save to keep the changes.

The changes will not apply to the current video if it is playing. You will have to stop and play it again to see the new position in effect.

Positioning the Subtitle below the Video (Instead of Overlaying)

There is another way to fine tune the subtitle position. Normally, the text is over the video and can disturb us while we watch something. Instead of overlaying it, you can push it down. Doing this, you can place the subtitles right below the video but it won’t be visible at first. The goal is to create an empty black area under the video and push it there. This will prevent the on-screen text from overlaying anything.

To Create an Empty Black Area First

  • Go to Tools > Preferences [CTRL +P].
  • Switch to All settings to access the advanced preferences.
  • Navigate to Video > Filters.
  • Under Video filter module, check the option that says Video cropping filter.
    Activating Video Cropping Filter
  • Now navigate further to Video > Filters > Croppadd.
  • In Video cropping filter options, under Padd, add a numerical value for Pixels to padd to bottom. Enter a value like 100.
    Video Cropping Filter
  • Click Save at the end.

A black area is created right below the video. Its size or height depends upon the value you just entered. The blank area also appears on the right and left of the video to balance and maintain the dimensions. Now we have some empty space to place our text.

To Move the Subtitle in the Black Area (Below the Video)

  • In the same Advanced Preferences; navigate to Video > Subtitles / OSD.
  • In Subtitles / OSD’s under Subtitles, enter a negative numerical value for Force subtitle position. Input a value like -200.
    Force Subtitle Position
    Note: A negative value forces it below and a positive value pushes it upwards.
  • Hit Save.

Open a new video, or stop and play the current video to see the effect in change. Depending upon the video dimensions, some adjustments must be done to place the subtitles in the exact position that you want to. After you are done, all these settings and values must be removed from the advanced preferences to switch to normal playback.

Positioning the Subtitle above the Video

To move the subtitle to the top of the video, enter a positive value for force subtitle position. It is also accessible by:

  • Opening up Tools > Preferences [CTRL + P].
  • Navigate to Subtitle > OSD.
  • Under Subtitle effects, enter a positive number for Force subtitle position.
    Pushing Text Upwards
  • Hit Save and restart the video.

The positive number means that the subtitle text will be pushed towards the top. Find the exact dimension of your video by pressing CTRL + J. The height value that you extract from the resolution information will allow you to figure out the maximum pixels to enter in force subtitle position. If you want a black area—just like we did above—on top of the video, then add a value like 100 for Pixels to padd to top instead.

10 thoughts on “How to Change Subtitle Position in VLC

  1. Whenever I cut the video to 16×9 to fit the screen, the subtitles become displaced, moving to the right instead of being on the center (bottom) of the screen. Any ideas on how to fix it?

  2. why VLC does not allow people to move the subtitude using keyboard during the video playing ? The KMplayer does that since ten years !!

  3. There is another way to padd the video, and it may very well be better to use.

    To do what I did, you go in filters, and find “Canvas”, put the output width, height, you want (I have put 1920×1080, this is my monitor display resolution btw), which is aspect ratio 16:9.
    And make sure ‘pad video’ option is selected as well. Because if it is not checked, the video will be cropped, and we don’t want that.

    Next go over at “Cropadd” filter and make sure every value there is set to zero.

    Finally, go and mark enabled “Canvas video filter”, then restart vlc. If you have enabled cropadd, you can go ahead and disable it now, Canvas will use it if needed.

    That’s it, from now on, there will be no need to continuously enable/disable filters for every video.

    The only thing that I don’t have now is a good size for the subtitles, currently vlc offers predefined sizes (small, normal, large) or pixels. And we all know pixels are a no go, the other options are not that good either. I think I explained this better in my other posts.

    Anyway, enough from me, I’m out. Peace ✌

  4. It’s stupid that we can’t make an effective placement of the subtitles to the bottom of the screen. Doing the above will always add those black bars, thus pushing the video upwards and even add black bars to the sides. The best solution is to put an option somewhere, to let us push the text to the bottom of the screen but not with fixed values (px) instead use percentage, I’d use 99.5%.

    Another thing that’s bugging me is the subtitle font size. I can’t have an effective relative size that I want.
    What I mean is that the “Normal” size is good, but not perfect for me, what I would like is to have just a bit smaller than “Normal” but bigger than “Small”, so having a font size of either percentage or like the font sizes in pretty much any text editor (for example, open notepad go to Format–>Font. See the sizes? They are not pixels)

    Those are just a few reasons why I prefer mpc-hc. I could list more, but I’m tired of typing…

    1. If you want to enter the pixel value for subtitle fonts then do it in Advanced Preferences > Video > Subtitle / OSD > Text renderer under Font size in pixel.

      1. No, I don’t want font size by pixel.
        By using pixels the size of the text may look just fine in full-screen but it will be too big for a window sized player (un-maximized).
        So I was looking for text by % or like in any text editor (those are not pixels).

        Even if that somehow gets sorted, it doesn’t solve the problem with the text being always over the video and not in the black area below it like it should.
        I think I explained good enough why the method given in the article is not applicable.

  5. Subtitle not moving below the video after the settings were changed as you told. I am using VLC Media Player Version 2.2.1. I did change the value to 100 of Padd>Pixels to Padd to bottom under Tools>Preferences>Advanced Preferences>Video>Filters>Croppadd and clicked Save, and then I changed value to -200 in the Force subtitle position field under Tools>Preferences>Advanced Preferences>Video>Subtitles/OSD and clicked Save too. I did close and reopen VLC and played a new video and yet the subtitles appear overlayed on the video. Can you please help me to move the subtitles below the video?

Leave a Reply