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Playing Captions within Windows Media Player

Windows Media player supports video with captions as long as you have the proper files. The good news- YesLaw makes it easy to create clips and automatically includes the caption file. Set-up your windows media player to enable captions once and then just include the caption file (.smi) with every video clip. You will have captions with every clip you create.


The YesLaw Player/Editor software enables users to quickly export clips as stand-alone MPEG files that can be played in Windows Media Player (WMP).  When an MPEG clip (.mpg) is exported, the the Yeslaw software export includes creation of four separate files:

  1. media file (with a .mpg file extension)
  2. SAMI captioning file (with .SMI extension)
  3. transcript text (.txt extension)
  4. clip creation script for import into Sanction or TrialDirector trial presentation software (ends with _ClipList.txt)

The Synchronized Accessible Media Interchange or SAMI file includes the text to be displayed and the timing for display with the media file.  To show captioning within Windows Media Player, one must have both the media file and the SAMI file, they must have the same name (just different file extensions), and they must be in the same directory.

Important tip -If you copy or move the video file, be sure to copy or move the SAMI file with the media file.


Within Windows Media Player, three lines of captions will be shown at the bottom of the video with the currently spoken line in the middle and highlighted in red.


To enable captions within Windows Media Player 9 or later requires two changes:

  1. subtitles must be enabled for playback
  2. subtitles must be enabled under security settings

After making these changes a restart of the Windows Media Player application may be required.  In earlier versions of Windows Media Player, the second security setting was not required.

Enable Captions for Playback

First enable the display of the captions or subtitles as shown below within Windows Media Player 12.  In this example, a right-click on the title bar is used to show the menus.

If classic menus are shown, find the Lyrics, Captions and Subtitles submenu under the Play menu.  Enable captions within Windows Media Player 11 by selecting “English” from the Play > Lyrics, Captions and Subtitles submenu.

Enable Captions Security Setting

Second, the security setting check-box must be selected on the Tools > Options > Security tab.  Within Windows Media Player 12,  select More Options… In this example, a right-click on the title bar is used to show the menu.  Within the Options window, select the Security tab and click the fourth check-box: Show local captions when present.

Within Windows Media Player 11, select Options then the Security tab, and check the box for Show local captions when present. 


For advanced users, to make changes to the caption font, font size, margins, text or text coloring, the SAMI file can be edited with a text editor.  Changing the font, font size and margins is adjusted in the file header.  Changing the font coloring requires a global substitution of the six character (three hex pair) color descriptor.


Playing captions may help increase the understanding of content for some viewers. Captions can be helpful when the audio track is low volume or of poor quality and when the speaker has a strong accent.  Although video clips with captions will not replace the power and versatility of a full featured trial presentation software package it may be appropriate in many situations. The YesLaw player/editor gives you the flexibility of export to trial software or to simply playback clips with captions.


Posted in Legal Video

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