How to Add Captions to Instagram Reels: A Step-by-Step Guide

Wondering how to put captions on Instagram Reels? Great choice — closed captions are an exciting addition to your Reels…

Wondering how to put captions on Instagram Reels? Great choice — closed captions are an exciting addition to your Reels for quite a few reasons.

Adding captions to Instagram Reels ensures that friends and followers who are deaf and hard of hearing can understand your video content, but they do so much more. Social media research has shown that 80 percent of Gen Z social media users routinely rely on captions, and here’s why:

  • People often watch Instagram videos in crowded, noisy environments — on trains and buses, in waiting rooms, at the airport, in cafes, and so on. Closed captions help them understand the content without needing to hear it.
  • Some people love seeing the audio content reinforced with closed captions. Reading while listening makes the message easier to digest — and marketers should especially take advantage of every opportunity to share their message! This is another excellent reason to add captions to Instagram Reels.
  • Some Instagrammers make Reels with poor audio quality, in which case closed captions can be a saving grace. Try to avoid being one of them at all costs! On the other hand, closed captions can also make it easier for Instagram users to understand people with heavy accents, especially if they’re still learning the language they’re watching a Reel in.
  • Closed captions give viewers a little preview of the content without needing to click on it. In a way, Reels captions are a little ad for your video!

The message is clear — you can’t go wrong when you add captions to your Instagram Reels. Fortunately, the social media platform makes it very easy, but things can still go wrong. This guide walks you through how to get captions on Instagram Reels, but we’ll also do some troubleshooting at the end. If you get that dreaded Instagram no captions found message, this guide should help you fix that!

What Are Instagram Reels?

Reels are Instagram’s answer to TikTok and YouTube Shorts. These short-form videos can be up to 90 seconds long, and Instagram Reels may contain an exciting mix of video and photo content — as well as music, emojis, and interactive stickers.

Short-form video content is super hot right now, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Instagram Reels get more engagement than any other type of Instagram post. Instagram Reels are an unmissable part of the social media platform’s features these days, whether you’re growing a brand or building your personal Instagram presence.

Why Should You Add Captions to Instagram Reels?

If you’re new to Instagram Reels, but you’ve been writing killer captions for your feed posts forever, you may be a little confused about what captions actually are on Reels. Reels captions aren’t like the other captions you post on Instagram — they’re closed captions, AKA subtitles.

Before you learn how to add captions on Instagram reels, you should also understand why:

  • Better accessibility. Reels captions are an accessibility feature at heart. They’re designed to make sure viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing get your message, but also to help people who prefer text to speech and those who either don’t have access to audio or are trying to keep things quiet.
  • Boosted engagement rates. Adding captions to your Instagram Reels is a great way to encourage viewers to engage with your content — and closed captions can even add a little “pop” or “flair” to your Reels because their appearance is pretty customizable.
  • Social media optimization. Your Reels captions make your content more easily discoverable, helping you beat a highly competitive algorithm on a crowded social media platform.

So, there’s your “why.” It gets better, though — you don’t even have to type your captions manually because Instagram can get you started right away with autogenerated closed captions!

We’d say you have zero excuses not to add closed captions to all your Instagram Reels and plenty of compelling reasons to start right away. That’s not quite true, though — we can think of one reason you still don’t have captions on your Reels. You don’t know how.

Keep reading to discover how to put caption on Instagram Reels, even if you’ve got the basics down but you’re currently battling that annoying “Instagram reels no captions found” message.

How to Add Captions to Instagram Reels

If you’re wondering how to add caption to Instagram Reels right now, this guide will walk you through the process. Just follow along!

Step 1: Navigate to Reels

Launch the Instagram app and head over to Reels. You can do this by tapping the + sign in the middle of your bottom bar or sliding your home feed to the right, and then choosing Reels.

How to Add Captions to Instagram Reels A Step-by-Step Guide 1

Step 2: Record or Select Your Reel

Wondering how to add captions to Instagram Reels? Recording a new Reel or selecting a mix of photos and video content from your camera roll is your next step. Do you already have a Reel ready? No problem! Just find and tap it in your camera roll. Tweak your Reel until you’re happy, and then move on to the next step.

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Step 3: Tap ‘Next’ to Start Editing Your Instagram Reel

Tap the blue “Next” button in the bottom right corner of the screen. This opens the editing menu.

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Step 4: Go to the Sticker Icon to Enable Closed Captions

Tap the “Sticker” icon (a smiley) to launch the menu. While you have lots of exciting options to choose from (and you may want to add a bunch of different stickers), you’re looking for the “Captions” sticker. It looks like a speech bubble with lines.

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The Instagram app will automatically transcribe any audio in your video, whether it’s a voice-over or part of the original footage, to the best of its ability.


(Nearly, anyway.) You now have closed captions on your Instagram Reel. You’ll probably want to keep tweaking for a few different reasons.

First off, Instagram’s autogenerated closed captions aren’t always totally accurate, and you’ll want to make sure everything’s OK. Instagram also gives you several different caption styles to choose from, with the added option of customizing their appearance.

More about that in the next section.

The Next Step: Editing Captions on Instagram Reels

Wondering how to add caption to Instagram Reel? It takes more than turning the closed caption feature on through the “Stickers” menu. Discover how to edit your captions for Instagram Reels here, and don’t be afraid to skip the steps you’re not interested in right now.

Step 1: Tap to Start Editing Your Reels Captions

The Instagram app gives you a “Transcribing audio…” message after you add caption to Instagram Reel. This process takes a little while. Once your closed captions are ready, they’ll appear on the screen within your Reel. Tap to check, proofread, and edit them.

Step 2: Make the Necessary Changes

Next, go through the closed captions word by word, and tap to make any necessary changes. Instagram sometimes gets its autogenerated captions wrong, so it’s important to pay attention. Once your closed captions are completely accurate, Tap “Done.”

Step 3: Customize Your Instagram Reels Captions

You can choose from different caption styles, fonts, colors, and sizes. It’s also possible to drag your Instagram Reels captions to a different spot on your screen. Play around until the closed captions you add to your Reels aren’t just functional but also impactful and pretty!

Troubleshooting: Why Don’t I Have Captions on Instagram Reels?

If you’re still scratching your head about how to add caption on Instagram Reel after that comprehensive guide, you’re probably facing technical issues or geographical restrictions. Let’s try to unpack the most common reasons your Instagram Reels closed captions not working, and see if we can fix the problem together!

You’re Using the Instagram Website Through a Web Browser

You may have been trying to figure out how to add closed captions to Instagram Reels while using a web browser (such as Firefox or Google Chrome) on your desktop or laptop computer for ages. You might even have searched “How do you add captions to Instagram Reels on a web browser?” and come up totally empty.

Stop! You can only add captions to Instagram Reels if you’re using the Instagram app on an iOS or Android device.

Your Region Might Not Support Instagram Reels Captions

Users who are wondering how to do captions on Instagram reels should also keep in mind that the feature isn’t available everywhere:

  • The sticker feature that makes closed captions available for Instagram Reels is not available in all countries.
  • Instagram can’t autogenerate closed captions for Reels in every language.

While the closed caption feature has rolled out to a large portion of the world, check if it’s currently available in your region and for your language if you can’t add captions to Instagram Reels.

The Dreaded No Captions Found Instagram Reels Message

You may get very frustrated about how to add captions on Instagram reel if Instagram gives you a “no captions found” message after you correctly used the sticker feature on Instagram’s mobile app,  and you’ve double-checked that the closed captions feature is supported in your region.

Captions may not work on Instagram Reels if:

  • The audio or voice-over is of very poor quality or has a high degree of background noise.
  • You’re speaking too quickly, or you’re mumbling.
  • You’re using slang, a dialect, or adding gobbledygook to your voice-over on Reels.

You could try to re-record your voice-over for Instagram Reels if this happens, or you could manually type your captions using the “Aa” feature on Instagram Reels. (Users can also use this manual captions option to add messages that differ from the voice-over to their Reels.)

Assorted Tech Issues May Prevent Your Reels Captions From Working

In the “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” section, we’ve got these gems for you:

  • Your internet is too slow for Instagram to transcribe your captions for Reels. Of course, not having internet at all will do the trick, but especially slow connections will also give you a fair share of grief. (Solution: Try a different WiFi network, or if you’re at home, restart your modem or call your Internet Service Provider.)
  • You’ve been overzealous with your privacy settings. Good job! Online privacy is important. However, the privacy settings you implement on your mobile device or Instagram account may break the closed captions feature for Instagram Reels. (Solution: Up to you. You could lighten up on the privacy measures to use the caption feature if you wanted to.)
  • Your app is out of date. If your Instagram app is out of date, you have the opposite problem. This, too, can sometimes mess with your ability to add captions to Reels on Instagram. (Solution: Always keep your devices up to date!)
  • On a similar note, outdated devices can also cause these same problems. (Solution: Buy yourself a new phone.)

FAQ About How to Add Captions to Reels on Instagram

How to get closed caption on Instagram Reels working?

You can follow the step-by-step guide above to discover how to add closed captions on Instagram Reels. The “too long; didn’t read” version? Tap the “Captions” sticker in your Stickers menu, which looks like a speech bubble with lines.

Can I change the way my closed captions look in Instagram Reels?

Yes! Instagram users can easily change the size, color, and style of all Reels captions, and also get to decide where on the screen the captions will appear.

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