Subtitle file formats

Subtitle file formats refers to the format of the subtitle file itself, meaning the text file. Formats for output are described in “Subtitle Transmission formats”.


There are many subtitle file formats. Cavenas proprietary formats are 890 and CIP. The EBU exchange format STL is also frequently used as well as formats from our colleagues in the industry. A subtitle file consists of text with formatting and time codes, as well as other informational fields.


The Cavena Toolbox is used to convert between different formats of subtitle files as well as between different time code standards and positioning systems. The EBU file format originally designed for teletext subtitles have been used for exchange of subtitles between stations in Europe. Other formats range from simple text files containing only the subtitle text together with time codes to modern more complex formats based on XML etc.