When you’re taking a course on YouTube or watching a recipe video, there’ll be times when you’ll want to save the spoken content in text so that you can refer to it later…but typing everything yourself is too much of a headache. When you’re stuck in this situation, you can do two things: You can use YouTube’s transcription mode to manually copy and paste relevant parts of the YouTube video into your notes, or you can download the entire video transcript (i.e., its subtitles) in a single file to refer to it later.
How to manually copy YouTube subtitles
If you try to copy the text from the subtitles, it won’t work. The trick is to open YouTube’s transcription view. After opening the YouTube video, click the three-dotted Menu button below the title, and choose the “Open transcript” option.
The Transcript section will show you the entire subtitle text, but with the timestamps. Click the three-dotted Menu button, and choose the “Toggle timestamps” option. You can change the language using the drop-down at the bottom.
Now, all you’ll see is a sea of text. Just highlight the text, copy it, and paste it into the app of your choice.
Once you paste in the text, you’ll notice that it’s not pasted in paragraph format. You’ll have to manually go in and remove the line breaks. That’s a bit of extra work, sure, but it’s a lot easier than typing all the text by yourself.
How to download full transcripts on YouTube
If you want to save the entire transcript of a YouTube video, a third-party tool is a better option, and DVDVideoSoft’s YouTube subtitle downloader will do the trick. Just open the website, paste in the YouTube video link, click the “Download” button, and the site will download the subtitle in a text file.
Alternatively, you can scroll down on the page to view the transcription text (where you can quickly copy particular text). Again, once you download the file, you’ll have to manually remove the page breaks — but once that’s done, you’ll have the entire transcript of the YouTube video saved for later use. Now, just use your favourite note-taking app to annotate, add more information or images, and build on top of the transcript. Not sure which note-taking app to use? Try our list of the best note-taking apps.