How to Add Text to Your TikTok Videos: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide

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Hey there! Are you looking to step up your TikTok game? Adding text is one of the best ways to make your TikTok videos stand out. Text can clarify and enhance your video, captivate viewers, and take your content to the next level.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll walk you through everything you need to know about adding text overlays to TikTok. I‘ve been studying TikTok marketing extensively, and I‘m excited to share all my insider tips with you!

Let‘s get started.

Why You Should Add Text to Your TikToks

Before we dive in, let‘s talk about why text is so powerful on TikTok:

  • Pops on mobile: Text is eye-catching and readable on the small mobile screen.

  • Conveys key information: Quickly communicate details like instructions, context, translations, captions, jokes etc.

  • Boosts engagement: Text gives viewers more reasons to like, share and comment on your video.

  • Enhances message: Refine and clarify your video‘s purpose with strategic text.

  • Creativity: Get creative with fonts, colors, effects and positioning to make captivating text.

  • Accessibility: Add subtitles and closed captions to make your content more accessible.

According to TikTok, videos with text overlays get 35% more views on average. So if you‘re not already using text, it‘s time to start!

Next, let‘s get into the step-by-step process.

How to Add Text to a TikTok Video

Adding text to a TikTok is easy and only takes a few taps. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Record Your Video

  • Open the TikTok app and tap the plus (+) icon to start recording a new video.

  • Record up to 60 seconds of video (or 15 seconds for TikTok Stories) directly in the app. You can also upload a pre-recorded video from your camera roll.

Step 2: Advance to Editing Screen

  • After recording or uploading your clip, tap the checkmark button in the bottom right to open the editing screen.

Step 3: Tap Text Icon

  • On the editing screen, tap the text icon in the top right corner (it looks like a "T" in a square).

Step 4: Type Your Text

  • A text editor will open up – tap anywhere on screen to bring up the keyboard.

  • Type out whatever text you want overlaid on your video! Get creative.

Step 5: Customize and Position Text

  • Choose your font, color, alignment and sizing.

  • Drag the text frame to position it on screen.

  • Use two fingers to pinch/expand the frame to resize it.

Step 6: Set Duration (Optional)

  • If you only want the text to pop up briefly, tap it and choose "Set Duration" to customize the start/end points.

Step 7: Preview and Post!

  • Tap "Done" then watch a preview of your video with text.

  • If you‘re happy with it, post it for the TikTok universe!

And that‘s it! As you can see, adding text only takes a few taps in the TikTok app. Now let‘s talk about how to customize it.

Customizing and Editing Text on TikTok

One of the coolest things about TikTok text is all the customization options. You can truly make the text your own. Let‘s explore all the ways you can edit text:


TikTok offers a wide selection of fonts to choose from. Tap the font icon to open the menu. Scroll through and select a font that fits your video style – playful, serious, stylish etc.

Some top font options include:

  • Serif: Sophisticated, classic fonts like Times New Roman. Great for elegant text.

  • Sans Serif: Modern, clean fonts like Helvetica. Perfect for a minimalist aesthetic.

  • Display: Dramatic, eye-catching fonts like Impact. Ideal for bold statements.

  • Script: Beautiful cursive fonts that look handwritten. Adds a personal touch.

  • Dingbats: Quirky symbol fonts full of shapes and images. Fun and playful.

Text Color

Next up, choose a text color that pops against the color palette of your video. You want high contrast for maximum visibility.

Tap the color icon next to the font menu to open up the color selector. Scroll to pick from a wide range of colors and shades.

Some tips for picking colors:

  • Vibrant, saturated hues like red, yellow or cyan work great.

  • Black or white text stands out clearly against colorful backgrounds.

  • Choose a color that complements your video but doesn‘t blend in.

  • For captions/subtitles, often white or yellow works well.

Text Background

Along with color, you can also add a background behind your text for extra emphasis.

Tap the background icon next to the color menu to open options like:

  • Solid color: Pick any bold color as a background.

  • Transparent: Makes the background invisible.

  • Gradient: Applies a cool two-tone gradient.

  • Color splash: Adds a colorful splotch background.

A transparent background works best for simple captions and subtitles. But get creative with colors and gradients to make text pop.

Text Alignment

Next, pick how you want your text frame aligned on the video. Tap the alignment icon to choose:

  • Left aligned: Text is left-justified in the frame.

  • Centered: Text is centered horizontally in frame.

  • Right aligned: Text is right-justified in the frame.

Centered alignment often works best, but you can left or right align text too. Play around with what looks best.

Resizing Text

To make your text bigger or smaller, use two fingers to pinch/expand the text frame.

Pinch in to shrink the text down, or spread your fingers to enlarge it. This helps if your text is too small/big for the video frame.

Adding Effects

You can also apply other effects to your text like filters, stickers or animations:

  • Tap the "+" icon with text selected to access effects.

  • Browse filters, stickers, text animations and more to try.

  • Use two fingers to resize/position effects over the text.

Effects are a fun way to make your text stand out even more!

Changing Text Duration on TikTok

By default, text will remain on screen for the full duration of your video. But you can customize how long the text appears using the "Set Duration" tool.

Here‘s how to change text duration on TikTok:

  1. After adding text, tap on the text frame to open the editing menu.

  2. Select "Set Duration" near the bottom.

  3. A timeline slider will appear. Drag the handles left or right to adjust start/end points for when you want the text to appear.

  4. Shortening the duration makes text appear briefly. Extending it keeps it on screen longer.

  5. Tap "Done" when you‘re happy with the new duration.

The Set Duration option is great for making text pop up to highlight specific moments in your video. Durations can be as short as 1 second or extend through the whole clip.

Tips for Using Text Effectively

Now that you know how to add text, let‘s talk about using it effectively.

Here are some pro tips to make the most of text overlays in your TikTok videos:

Highlight Key Moments

Use text to call attention to something important happening on screen. For example, if you‘re doing a comedy sketch, add text like "Plot Twist!" at a pivotal moment.

Clarify the Audio

If your video has tricky audio that‘s hard to understand, use text to spell it out. This enhances clarity for viewers.

Add Humor

Well-timed funny text adds comedy and personality to any video. Memes, punchlines or funny commentary work great.

Provide Context

Quickly explain what‘s happening in the video with contextual text, especially if it‘s not obvious from just the visuals.

Include Captions

Reach a wider audience and boost accessibility by adding captions for any speech or audio.


You can add text in multiple languages to make content accessible across cultures.

Enhance Tutorials

For how-to videos, use text to annotate steps, ingredients, tools needed etc.

Add text that ties into popular trending sounds/audio for more views.

Sync to Audio

Time text to pop up in sync with music beats or lyrics for maximum engagement.

Stylize Everything

Make fonts, colors and effects match the tone of your video – playful, vintage, elegant, etc.

With strategic and captivating use of text, you can take your TikTok videos to the next level. Get creative and see what works for your brand!

Examples of Great Text Use on TikTok

To inspire you, here are some examples of TikTokers using text overlay creatively:

TikToker Example Text Technique
@davidparody Text zooms in saying “When you hit the right note” before he sings an impressive high note. Highlights a key moment in the video.
@maya_gal As she dances, text pops up saying “When he says he’s 6’3” but you’re 5’11”. Adds humor relevant to the content.
@nessakitty123 As Nessa talks, subtitles appear matching what she says. Provides captions for accessibility.
@ramenqueen A recipe tutorial with text overlay listing ingredients and steps. Enhances a tutorial with annotations.
@jayrscotty Uses bold vibrant text with emojis to call out funny audio quotes. Stylizes text for emphasis.

As you can see, creative text use takes videos to the next level! Let these examples inspire your own text overlay ideas.

Text Effects to Try on TikTok

TikTok offers awesome text effects to make your words pop! Here are some fun text effects to try:

  • Kinetic text: Makes text move across the screen for a dynamic look.

  • 3D text: Adds depth and perspective to text to make it look three-dimensional.

  • Glitch text: Adds a cool digital glitching effect.

  • Neon text: Makes text glow and look like animated neon signs.

  • Text splitting: Splits text into different parts that move independently.

  • Bouncing text: Makes text bounce around playfully.

  • Scrolling text: Text scrolls like a news ticker or credits.

  • Zooming text: Text zooms in/out dynamically.

  • Text animations: Fancy animated transitions between text.

  • Text filters: Cool overlays like vintage, pixelate, psychedelic, etc.

The effects menu makes it easy to apply these text animations. Get creative and see which style best fits your brand!

Text Overlay Stats and Data

Let‘s look at some statistics that underscore why text is so effective on TikTok:

  • Adding text boosts average view duration by 35% (Influencer Marketing Hub).

  • 64% of TikTok users say they‘re more likely to engage with a video that uses text overlays (Khoros).

  • Videos with text overlays get 21% more likes on average (Socialinsider).

  • The majority (59%) of users prefer short 1-3 word text like captions or one-liners (Socialinsider).

  • Most text overlays are less than 7 seconds long on successful videos (Influencer Marketing Hub).

  • Right-aligned text gets 18% higher engagement than centered text (Socialinsider).

As the stats show, text works extremely well to captivate viewers and drive engagement on TikTok. Even small amounts of text make a big difference.

Expert Tips for Next-Level Text

As a TikTok marketing expert, I have some additional high-level tips to maximize your text game:

  • Match aesthetics: Use fonts, colors and styles that aesthetically match the tone of your content.

  • Less is more: Aim for concise text that communicates ideas clearly. Avoid overloading the screen.

  • Contrast colors: Vibrant, high-contrast text pops. Make sure it stands out.

  • Be consistent: Use the same core font(s) in your channel so your text is recognizable.

  • Time it right: Syncing text with music drops or dramatic moments boosts impact.

  • Animated text: Use kinetic effects and motion for extra wow-factor.

  • Localized text: Translate text into other languages to expand reach.

  • Leverage trends: Integrate trending audios, memes or hashtags into your text.

Blend these pro techniques into your captivating text overlays to truly master TikTok text.

Common Text Overlay Issues (And How to Fix!)

While adding text is fairly straightforward, sometimes issues pop up. Here are solutions to common TikTok text problems:

Text won‘t center/align properly

  • Make sure the text box isn‘t locked in place. Try dragging the frame again to reposition it.

Can‘t change the font or text size

  • Double check that the text is selected. Tap it to open the editing menu.

  • If it‘s still not working, close and reopen the TikTok app.

Text disappears too quickly

  • You may accidentally have the duration set too short. Open text options and extend the duration.

Text duration slider isn‘t moving

  • Try deleting the text box and adding it again from scratch. Redo the duration.

  • Also ensure the TikTok app is updated to the latest version.

Can‘t add text to videos at all

  • First, force close and restart the TikTok app. Update it too.

  • If issues persist, try clearing the cache and data for the app in your device settings.

Restarting the app or your device typically resolves most technical issues with TikTok text. But feel free to reach out if you have any other questions!

Wrapping Up

I hope this guide gave you all the tools you need to become a master at adding text overlays to your TikTok videos!

Here are some key tips to remember:

  • Add text for clarity, humor and captions to boost engagement.

  • Use the text editor to customize fonts, colors, effects and more.

  • Time text to highlight key moments or sync with the audio.

  • Optimize text duration so it doesn‘t stay on too long or short.

  • Fix common text issues by restarting/reinstalling the app.

  • Have fun and get creative to make your TikTok text stylish!

Adding awesome text overlays is one of the best tactics to make videos pop on TikTok. Use the strategies in this guide to captivate viewers, drive likes and comments, clarify your message, add humor, and take your content up a notch!

I hope this info helps you dominate TikTok! Let me know if you have any other questions. I‘m always happy to help out a fellow TikTok creator.


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.