Difference Between Open and Closed Captions (With Table)

Internet is used worldwide for watching online videos or movies. These can be for entertainment or educational purpose. People watch these videos for everyday use or for learning something new. Now when more people are engaging in watching videos through the internet, there are some features coming up that enhance their experience. Adding captions is one of those features. Under this feature, you can add captions to your video. There are two types of captions that can be added to the videos, open and close captions. They both are captions but have lots of differences which are mentioned below along with other information.

Open vs Closed Captions

The difference between Open and Closed Captions is that open captions are not uploaded as a separate file but are attached to the video file only, while closed captions are uploaded separately. This further results in different features that are available in the closed caption but absent in open captions, such as editing and removing. They also differ in terms of turning off, types, permanency, and usage. Closed captions are more flexible than open captions.

Open captions are a type of captions that can be added to any file as they are supported by every file format and streaming. They are permanent; therefore, they cannot be changed or removed once added directly to the video file. They are mostly used on offline videos and for television programs.

Closed captions are those that can be seen in a video as CC on the side of it. They are easy to upload as they come in many formats, but the difficulty is that sometimes they are not supported by few file formats and therefore cannot be added to them. But the technology is being increased, and now most of the files formats support closed captioning.

Comparison Table Between Open and Closed Captions

Parameters of ComparisonOpen CaptionClosed Caption
ProcedureAdded directly to the video.Uploaded as a separate file.
Tuned offCannotCan be
Types of formatsComes in one formatTypes of formats
EditCannot be editCan be edited
Used forOffline videoOnline videos

What is Open Caption?

This type of caption does not give a choice to its viewers; therefore, a viewer has no option of turning them off. They are beneficial because of the following reasons:

  • They are supported by all types of files; therefore, there is not any problem while choosing them as an option. This is the best option where closed captioning is not supported, and you want to add a caption to increase the reach of the content.
  • It is also beneficial when a viewer is not familiar with technology and finds it difficult to turn the caption on in case of closed captioning. Therefore by providing open captions, this problem is terminated.
  • Another benefit is the font style, and color of the captions can be chosen before uploading them in the content, which further attracts more viewers.

The major drawback of this type of caption is that in some cases, it blocks the view of the video, and when the viewer wants to turn them off, it can’t. This further contributes to its negative response to the content. Also, the quality of the caption is linked with the quality of the video. Therefore, low-quality video means low-quality captions.

What is Closed Caption?

This is a type of caption where the user has an option to on it and off. This is also one of the main reasons why they are used widely in main social platforms, like Facebook and YouTube.

The main benefits of this type of caption are that it can be easily changed at any time. They are also supported by many types of files formats, which increases the reach of the video and makes them more suitable for viewing.

Along with all the above-mentioned benefits, there are some drawbacks too, this include they are supported by few media platforms; therefore, they can only be used in a streaming platform if they support closed captioning. In case a person is not aware of the technology, it becomes difficult for him to on and off the caption all by himself.

Therefore it depends upon the type and need of the content to add the closed captions in it or not. Although most of the time, adding them is a good choice.

Main Differences Between Open and Closed Captions

  1. The main difference between open and closed captions is in the way they are uploaded. The open caption is uploaded directly on the main video and can be seen on them as well, whereas the closed caption is uploaded as a separate file which makes the process simpler and easier.
  2. Another important difference between both types of captions is that not both of them can be turned off. Open caption, once uploaded with the video, cannot be turned off by the viewer; therefore, it sometimes blocks the view of the video, too, while closed caption has the advantage that it can be easily turned off.
  3. An open caption is permanent and therefore does not have many types of formats. It is way simpler, whereas closed captions come in a more flexible range with several types of formats.
  4. They also differ in terms of editing. An open caption, once uploaded, cannot be edited or removed from the video. Therefore, in case of any error or mistake, it cannot be rectified, whereas as closed captions are uploaded as a separate file, it is easy to edit them and remove them.
  5. Open captions are mainly used in offline video or social media; they are also used on television, whereas closed captions are mainly used for online video. The open caption cannot be used for the online video, while closed captions can be used for offline videos sometimes.


Therefore, with all the above information, there should not be any confusion between both types of captions. They are used widely as they allow the user to have a better understanding of the videos, and also, it is beneficial if you are uploading the video as they will increase the reach. It becomes easy to understand and learn by reading the caption. For example, if you are watching a video in a language you are not familiar with, these captions can be very helpful in providing all the information and usage you are seeking. It depends on the type of video and choice of uploader which type of captions they want to use in their videos.


  1. https://www.erudit.org/en/journals/meta/1900-v1-n1-meta1522519/1003514ar/abstract/
  2. https://search.proquest.com/openview/92a29bc8fc6c4436a4a6224c6ee1759b/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=37743
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