How to Get Subtitles Automatically for Movies in VLC Media Player

If you want to get subtitles automatically for movies in VLC Media Player, then you can simply do it with the help of a VLC add-on called VLSub. It is the highest rated add-on for the player due to its usefulness. Once you download and install the simple plugin, it will automatically search for subtitles for the current movie that is being played. So, make sure you are connected to the internet. It displays a list of choices that it has found and you can choose the correct one for your video.

What this VLC subtitle plugin does is that, once installed, it adds a new menu as View > VLSub. Click on the new menu item, specify the search criteria—search by hash or search by name—and the results will show. It scours popular subtitle provider websites based on the search criteria. Pick the best matching result for your video and the subtitles will be loaded. You will need VLC 2.2.* or VLC 3 for it to work.

Install the plugin, access it and search. It is as easy as that. No more manually downloading, browsing and loading subtitles for each and every movie that you play. Everything is handled by the software.

Here are the detailed steps for you to get subtitles automatically for movies in VLC Media Player:

  • Download the plugin from here.
  • Extract the contents of the zip file.
  • From the extracts, browse and find the lua file; move it to your /lua/extensions/ folder.
    The extensions folder for different OS are as follows:

    • Windows: C:\Program Files\VideoLAN\VLC\lua\extensions\
    • Linux: /usr/lib/vlc/lua/extensions/
    • MAC OS X: /Users/<your_name>/Library/Application Support/org.videolan.vlc/lua/extensions/
  • Restart or open VLC Media Player.
  • Access View > VLsub.
    VLsub in VLC Menu
  • Click on Search by name after confirming the movie title. Change it if you have to.
  • Highlight the correct subtitle and click on Download selection.
    Automatically Loading Subtitles in VLC

Your subtitle file will be downloaded and you will start to see the subtitle text on the screen immediately. If you need to change it then repeat the process. Access View > VLSub > Research after you have loaded something using the plugin. This menu is for searching for a new file.

If you have problems in installing VLSub: Learn How to Install a VLC Media Player Addon .lua extension

If you want another option/plugin instead of VLSub, try: Subtitles finder.

In VLC For Android

If you use VLC in your smartphone, then know that it doesn’t require any special add on to load subtitles. There’s a built in feature for that. After you load a movie, press the Audio tracks and subtitle button (the second button from the left on the interface itself). After that tap on the Download subtitles option. The Android app will automatically search for the subtitle and load it on your device’s screen.

All the details for the Android app: Downloading Subtitles Automatically or Manually in VLC for Android

Download Subtitles in App

For options in the Android app related to the subtitles, go to Settings from the hamburger menu. Scroll down to Extra settings where you will find the Subtitles option. Tap on it and you can choose the attributes for it (size, color, background) along with auto loading. An important option here if you are downloading subtitles is the Subtitles download language. Under it, you can choose the various languages that you want your VLC app to download the movie dialogues in.

49 thoughts to “How to Get Subtitles Automatically for Movies in VLC Media Player”

  1. It doesn’t download subtitles because is now banned in Greece.
    Can i change the site in config somehow?

  2. Where’s the part that makes it automatic? You have to manually do this every time you open a video file…

    1. Good thought. By automatic, we meant that we don’t have to manually open up subtitle websites and download it. VLSUB does it automatically for us.

    2. by ‘automatic’ they meant ‘not automatic’. It’s a fine distinction, only the keen eye will notice it.

    3. the automatic part is in the clickbait title… they are aware that it should be called “simplified sub download”, but they go with automatic anyway.

  3. it shows that you can search for shows but nothing comes up why is that? it would have been awesome if it did

    1. It works for some shows and movies and for some it doesn’t. Try the next plugin called Subtitle finder.

  4. i install the vlc 2.2 after installing when i try to download the english subtitle it crash it …. i dont know what to do

    1. It crashed at first. But clicking the box above first – Download Subtitles, automatically displayed the list of subtitles. then easy to choose and download. Small bug?

  5. I faced the same problem that many have reported over here – the VLSub “extension” would hang while trying to calculate the hash or fetch the subtitles. And if I tried to close it, it’d crash all of VLC with it. Not a single subtitle ever it found. And it’s not like it had not worked in the past. In fact, it had worked quite well.

    So I started searching for a stable alternative to this unreliable PoS. I found two – OpenSubDownloader and TSubtitleDownloader.

    The former failed to work but the latter worked wonderfully. OSD incidentally was a Canonical product primarily written for their flagship Ubuntu Linux product, which they’d kindly ported over to Windows. Sadly, due to the various updates in Ubuntu, this package was now abandoned and languishing since 2013. Hence, non-functional.

    TSD, however, proved to be the dark horse. It downloaded all the correct subtitles for SuperNatural Season 11 which I had been seeking, without any fuss. The URL given in it’s “About” dialog is but sadly, it no longer exists at that URL what with GitHub changing hands and now a private entity. I guess you’ll just have to search for it’s download package.

    In case, nobody is able to find a reliable install package of TSD for downloading, then please let me know in the comments. I’ll share my file although I don’t want to appear as if I’m a professional software pirate or something. Just trying to help the community here.

  6. Each time i try to add a sub I get the following error Error Code “401 Unauthorized” (200). Please assist. Thank you

  7. Thanks it really help for movie with more than a language, the subtitle help to assist to understand what is been said.

  8. If it looks like it freezes, just wait like 2-3 minutes. It will finish downloading the subtitle file and you’ll get the sub track. Works great so far – thanks.

  9. this crashes my vlc. i tried by hash and file name. either way after clicking ‘search by {hash or filename}’ it freezes then 30s later says the plug in is not responding, and when I close it closes the whole program. when I open again it asks if I want to send a bug report, if I say yes, after about 30s it says error communicating with ftp server.
    It’s weird because the auto subtitles work on my android tablet vlc, same video files, same source (NAS)

  10. VLC does not find subtitle files online when searching by hash if media file is bigger than 2gb which is most 1080p movies these days

  11. Hello, does this add-on exist for Android as well? I’m trying to watch streaming on ShowBox but it says it cannot find the subtitles, even though they have been selected on ShowBox. Please help! Thank you!

  12. I also am trying to find a program that can display 2 subtitles at once on Linux. On Windows , BS.Player can do that, but I don’t want to install Windows just to use BS.Player. I’m getting to the point to consider developing my own front-end using VLC as backend.

  13. Hello,

    I have a problem with multiple subtitle support. I’m a polylingual person and would like to watch movies with several subtitles simultaneously. Whenever I try to switch subtitles by pressing the hotkey ‘v’, it won’t show the subtitle in another language until after it goes further to the next frame. How can I solve that problem? All I need is just push the hotkey “v” to toggle between subtitle tracks of a certain frame.

    I would be really glad if you could help me with this issue. I’m looking forward to hearing good news from you soon.
    Best wishes

    1. The only way I see possible is to hard code one subtitle and then load the other one externally. Position them so that they do not overlap.

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