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How to use Microsoft Teams closed captioning in meetings

Subtitles are useful when you’re watching a movie or any other type of video. They can bridge language barriers but they’re also a great tool that can help people learn to listen more effectively. 

Subtitles can be auto-generated but if they’re being added to a video during post-production, a human-eye will go over it and a human-hand will correct it. Subtitles are autogenerated using voice-recognition software and while this software is useful, it remains prone to error.

Microsoft Teams closed captioning

Microsoft Teams closed captioning

Voice-recognition software isn’t perfect but it’s getting better and is used for transcribing and also for providing closed captioning during live events. 

Microsoft has a fairly decent voice recognition service that it uses in Microsoft 365 for transcribing documents and that it uses in Skype to provide closed captions.

This same service works in Microsoft Teams and allows you to add live captioning to your meetings.

Enable Microsoft Teams closed captioning

To enable closed captioning in a meeting in Microsoft Teams, follow these steps.

  1. Open Microsoft Teams and go to the Teams tab.
  2. Select the team and the channel you want to start a meeting in.
  3. Once the meeting has started, click the more options button on the top bar.
  4. Select Turn on live captioning.
  5. You will start to see live captions appear as various participants speak during the meeting.

Microsoft Teams meeting transcript

Microsoft Teams provides a transcript for meetings as well and you do not have to enable live captions for it. Instead, you need to record the meeting using the built-in recording feature.

Once you’ve recorded the meeting, follow these steps to generate a transcript for it.

  1. Visit Microsoft Streams and sign in with an admin account.
  2. Go to My Content>Meetings.
  3. Select the video that you want a transcription for.
  4. Click the more options button under the video and select Update video details.
  5. Select the language that is spoken in the video.
  6. Enable the Autogenerate captions option.
  7. Click Apply.
  8. Wait a while and the transcript will be generated in the pane on the right.


The greatest advantage of having auto-generated captions and an auto-generated transcript is that you do not have to spend human hours writing it. Streams can be used to generate a transcript for any video so even if you’re not using Microsoft Teams, you can still use Streams (provided you have a license for it) to get a transcript. The live captioning feature is limited to Microsoft Teams though so you can’t use it with other video meeting tools.

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