How to Edit YouTube’s Auto-Captions

Captions in videos are essential if videos are to be accessible to everyone. But they’re especially important in videos about plants so that viewers can know which gorgeous perennial is being recommended and actually find it.

The best way to identify plants is by including captions IN the video – on the screen. It’s easy to do in any video-making program and it’s a wonder to us here at GGVideos why so many videos about plants don’t include them.

Or if a video has already been made without them, plant names can still be identified in the video description text below the viewing screen.

But did you know that there ARE captions on your YouTube video whether you wanted them there or not? And they’re almost certainly wrong. YouTube, to its credit, does its best to make all videos accessible by creating “auto-captions” and viewers can simply click the “CC” in the lower right of the screen to see them. But just imagine what happens to plant names in that automatic process! For example:

  • Beebalm becomes “b-bomb”
  • Ragwort becomes “red white”
  • Seersucker sedge becomes “seersucker said,” with the Latin name “Carrick’s planted Jenaya” instead of Carex plantaginea

And errors can be a lot more embarrassing than those.

Fortunately, you can edit your videos’ auto-captions, though YouTube’s instructions aren’t much help. That’s why after we finally figured it all we took some screen shots and wrote these much-easier steps for you to follow.

First you have to go to your channel’s Video Manager, which you can find it by going to “My Channel” and then clicking “Customize Channel” under your channel art.

That leads you to a screen like this where you see “Video Manager” as an option at the top.


After clicking on “Video manager” you see the list of all your videos. Find the one you want to fix, click the down arrow next to “Edit,” and you’ll see various dropdown options. Click on “Subtitles/CC.”

That leads to the “Manage subtitles and closed captions” screen like this one. In the right sidebar click on “English (Automatic).”


That gives you a screen like this, where you’ll next click “Edit” in the upper right. (Next to “Unpublish.”)

That leads to this screen, where you can then click on exact lines of caption along the left side and edit away, starting with creating actual sentences (YouTube just runs all the words together with no punctuation or capitalized letters).

Remember to “Save changes” in the upper right.