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How to Extract Subtitles from an MKV Video: 2 Best Methods

Subtitles are a great way to enhance the quality of your videos. They can help viewers understand the content better and make it easy for audiences from diverse backgrounds to follow through with the video.

But what if you want to use your own or a different set of subtitles instead of the ones on the video? It could also be that the subtitles are somewhat off, and you want to get rid of them.

Luckily, learning how to extract subtitles from an MKV video is an easy process. While there are many ways to go about it, find the two best methods to extract subtitles below.

Why Extract Subtitles from Videos

As much as subtitles are helpful in a video, some instances may necessitate their removal from a video. Some of these include:

To Edit or Replace Them 

Ideally, subtitles should be in perfect sync with the video content. It’s also a standard expectation that they should factually depict events or what’s being said in the video. 

In other cases, and this is relatively common, subtitles can be used to translate the language in the video to one the audience can understand.

However, due to many reasons, subtitles may be out of sync with the video or fail to accurately state what’s being said or happening in the video. The only way around this is to edit or replace the subtitles with a more harmonized or accurate version. 

To Transfer Them to a Higher Resolution Video

This is a perfect case of “you can’t have your cake and eat it.” But is it? 

A low-resolution video with the perfect subtitles coded into it may make perfect sense with smaller displays. Not so much on bigger screens. 

Instead of subjecting yourself or your viewers to a terrible watching experience, you can rip subtitles from the low-resolution video and code them to one with a higher resolution.

For Meme Creation

Everyone loves memes. They can be used to pass jokes or subtle messages. Memes are even better when they’re relatable, like when they feature a memorable frame in a movie or video.

Extracting subtitles from the video may be necessary to customize the specific frame for your meme.

For Language Learning Purposes

Subtitles can help you learn new languages. They are a great way to get a feel of the pronunciation and grammar of a language, which is essential when learning a new language. 

However, for this to work, it’s vital to have an accurate translation for the video. This may not always be the case, and you may have to extract the subtitles from an MKV video and code in the right ones.

Similarly, it may be necessary to switch off subtitles in the video. This is especially true for advanced language learners who are at a level where they’re comfortable with the pronunciation and accents.

Unfortunately, not all video players offer this option; the only way is to rip the subtitles from the video entirely.

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Before You Start: Check the Subtitles Type

Subtitles come in two major types, either as hard or soft subtitles. It’s essential to determine the type you’re dealing with before deciding which method to use when extracting them from the video.

Hardcoded subtitles are embedded into the video file. This means they are part of the video, and since they’re completely merged, they cannot be removed or changed. They’re also known as “burn-in, ” meaning the embedding is done during transmission or before the video is published.

Soft subtitles or closed captions are usually included separately from the video and thus can be changed or removed at any time. 

To determine the subtitles type you’re dealing with, try to turn off subtitles on the media player you’re using. If you can switch subtitles off, you’re dealing with soft subtitles.

If you can’t switch subtitles off, or there isn’t such an option, you’re definitely working with hardcoded subtitles.

How to Rip Subtitles from MKV Using MKVToolnix

MKVToolnix is a powerful open-source tool you can use to extract subtitles from MKV files. Aside from the subtitle extraction functionality, you can also use the tool to merge, split or edit MKV files.

The zero-price tag has a catch, though. This powerful video editor comes only with a command line interface. If you’re comfortable with command line or terminal operations, using this tool in its original format should be a breeze.

However, if you’re not used to a command line interface, you can pair MKVToolnix with MKVcleaver or gMKVExtractGUI.

This guide will use a combination of the gMKVExtractGUI and MKVToolnix.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Download the gMKVExtractGUI and MKVToolnix setup files, and install the two programs on your device.
  2. MKVToolnix comes as an executable file, while gMKVExtractGUI is a zipped file. 
  3. Unzip the gMKVExtractGUI file, then copy and paste the MKVToolnix .exe file to the folder containing extracted gMKVExtractGUI files.
  4. Click on the gMKVExtractGUI application to launch the program. Find the example below to clarify any confusion.

How to Extract Subtitles from an MKV Video - image14

Now that you have paired MKVToolnix with its GUI companion, you can rip subtitles from MKV.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Assuming you followed all the instructions, you should see this when you run the program:How to Extract Subtitles from an MKV Video - image11
  2. Next, drag and drop the MKV file on the program. Ensure to drop the file in the “Input” section.How to Extract Subtitles from an MKV Video - image6
  3. Once you’ve added the MKV file, MKVToolnix will automatically find the subtitles and populate the input section, as shown below.
  4. Select the subtitles files you’d like to rip from the MKV file, then choose the output path or where you’d like to save the extracted subtitles on your device. You can also select the “Use Source” option, but it might be messy.How to Extract Subtitles from an MKV Video - image1
  5. Once everything looks good on your end, click the “Extract” button and let the tool work its magic. You might want to toggle a few extra options at the bottom, but it’s not necessary, just extra customizability for your benefit.How to Extract Subtitles from an MKV Video - image13
  6. You can always find the extracted subtitles by navigating to the output folder you chose earlier.

And you’re done. This powerful tool offers the best subtitle-ripping capabilities, but you’ll have to put in a bit of work using it.

How to Extract SRT from MKV Using VideoProc

VideoProc is a powerful video editing tool. It’s free to download and has a limited free trial, after which you’ll have to pay for a license to access its features. 

This amazing video editor is supported on Mac computers and the major Windows distributions, 7, 8, 10, and 11.

Here’s how to use VideoProc to extract SRT:

  1. First, download and install VideoProc on your device. Ensure you get the setup file from the official website to avoid malware or knockoff versions.
  2. Run VideoProc on your device and load the MKV video file onto the program. Follow this up immediately by clicking the “Video” button.How to Extract Subtitles from an MKV Video - image9
  3. Look for the “Video” button at the top of the next page and click on it, as shown below. Find the MKV video file and follow the wizard prompts to finalize the process.How to Extract Subtitles from an MKV Video - image3
  4. Next, you may want to determine whether the MKV file has subtitles in the first place, that is, if you weren’t sure or hadn’t checked. Simply click the “Disable Subtitle” button as shown below, and if there are subtitles in the file, they should appear.How to Extract Subtitles from an MKV Video - image 4How to Extract Subtitles from an MKV Video - image16
  5. Look for the “Toolbox” tab at the bottom and select it. How to Extract Subtitles from an MKV Video - image15 Shuffle through the options by clicking on the arrow as shown below until you get to the “Export Subtitle” option. How to Extract Subtitles from an MKV Video - image17 Move the pointer over the “Export Subtitle.” How to Extract Subtitles from an MKV Video - image5
  6. Look for the tiny button that appears above the “Export Subtitle” option and select it. How to Extract Subtitles from an MKV Video - image8
  7. You can extract the subtitles in .srt or .ass format, but in this case, choose the .srt option and click “Done” at the bottom right corner. How to Extract Subtitles from an MKV Video - image 2
  8. Finally, you can choose where to save the extracted subtitles on your device. Simply click the “Browse” option and navigate to where you want the subtitles saved. Finish by clicking the “Run” button at the bottom. How to Extract Subtitles from an MKV Video - image12

The extracted .srt file(s) will be at the location you chose to save them. 

It’s worth noting that the trial version has limited functionality, but if you’re willing to pay for the license, you’re in for the best experience with VideoProc.


What are the SRT and ASS?

These two are the commonly used subtitle file formats.

A subtitle file is a text file that contains subtitle data. These files are usually designated either SRT (SubRip) or ASS (Advanced SubStation Alpha). VLC supports both of these formats.

SRT files are most commonly used because they can be played by many players, e.g., Windows Media Player and iTunes. SRTs can also be converted into ASS files for playback on devices that don’t support SRTs natively, such as iOS devices or Android smartphones/tablets.

How to remove hard subtitles by cropping?

Hardcoded subtitles can be a pain to deal with if you want to remove them. There’s no way or tool to separate the subtitles from the video, but here’s how you can crop out hard subtitles using VLC:

  1. First, install VLC on your device if you don’t have it. It’s free to download and easy to install.
  2. Run VLC on your device and load the MKV video file onto the player. Alternatively, you can right-click on the video file and choose to open it using VLC.
  3. Let the video play for a while until you can identify where the subtitles appear in the video. Once you’ve determined this, you can proceed to crop them out of the video.
  4. Exit the full screen to see the menu options. Tap twice on any part of the video screen, or hit “ESC” on your keyboard. 
  5. Look for the “Tools” option, click on it, then select the “Effects and Filters” option.
  6. Select “Video Effects” on the Adjustment and Effects menu.
  7. Gradually adjust the bottom pixel value to crop out the hardcoded subtitles.

Alternatively, you can use any video editing program to crop out the part where hardcoded subtitles appear. However, this may require a bit of effort and patience on your part. 

The simplest and best way to do it is using free editing program. 

Here’s how you can go about it:

  1. Open on your browser. Sign in to your account or sign up for a free one if you don’t have one.
  2. Look for the “My projects” button at the top right corner of the homepage and click on it.
  3. Click the “Upload Video” button to load your MKV video on Once the upload is complete, click on the video you’ve uploaded.
  4. Look for the “Edit video” button on the left side of the next page and select it.
  5. Play the video for a while or the whole of it to determine where the subtitles feature in the video frame.
  6. Click on “Crop & Rotate” and gradually resize the frame carefully, omitting the subtitles from the video. A couple of takes may be necessary to get it right with this part.
  7. Once you’re done and everything looks good, hit the “Publish” button at the top right corner and select download. 

With hardcoded subtitles, you might have to compromise a bit with the quality of the output. 

How to create an SRT subtitle file on your own?

Here’s how to do it:

  1. First, you must transcribe the audio playing in your video file. Proofread the transcript and paste it to a text editor of your choice.
  2. Next, determine the start and end times for each audio sequence as well as the respective caption frame.
  3. Go to the text editor and add the start, end time, and caption frame number to each new audio sequence or dialogue instance. The format should be as follows: HH:MM: SS, MS. The last part, MS, represents the caption frame number, while the other three are hours, minutes, and seconds respectively.
  4. For best results, include a blank space after each sequence.
  5. Proofread to smoke out any errors, then save the text file as a .srt file. Simply change the file name’s last part while saving it from .docx or .txt to .srt.

This can be tough for beginners or even tiresome to experienced users. You may also mess up, and the subtitles may be out of sync with the video. You can use the automatic video captioning feature on to avoid this and for more convenience.

The best part about it is is free to use and a joy to work with, thanks to its user-friendly and intuitive features.

Can VLC extract subtitles?

No. VLC is an excellent video player, but that’s as far as it goes. You can disable soft subtitles or crop out hardcoded subtitles, but you can’t extract subtitles from a video using VLC.

You’re better of with advanced tools like the MKVToolnix or the VideoProc converter. 

Final Thoughts

Subtitles are an integral part of the video. They can help you understand what’s happening on screen, and they can also enhance the overall quality of your videos by making them more enjoyable for viewers

They’re also a huge step towards accommodating everyone. Despite all this, certain circumstance demand that they are extracted from the MKV video. The reasons are many and diverse, and they’re all justified.

Fortunately, there are plenty of free and paid tools which simplify extracting subtitles from MKV. By now, you may have noticed that paid tools offer more convenience and simplicity, but at a cost. Free tools are, well, free but require a bit of initiative to learn how to use them effectively.

With, you don’t have to compromise on cost, capability, or convenience. Sign up for a free account today and experience the difference.

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