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When I play a video in VLC it always starts with subtitles! I don't want this! I want subtitles OFF until I choose to turn them ON.

I tried unchecking 'enable sub-pictures' in the preferences menu, but this removed the subtitle user interface entirely, making it difficult to get subtitles on the occasions I really do want them (foreign films).

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up vote 58 down vote accepted
  1. Browse to the menu Tools / Preferences / (Show settings: All) / Input/Codecs
  2. Then set 'Subtitles Track ID' to 0

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+1 Warning to others, there's also an option just above Subtitles Track ID called just Subtitles Track that won't work. What a complicated way do disable something that should be disabled by default. I mean really, how often does the average person actually want their native language subtitled? – devios Jun 16 '13 at 1:47
wow so obvious how did I miss that ಠ_ಠ – Damon Dec 11 '13 at 3:10
Completely unintuitive. – Koobz Jan 8 '14 at 7:18
They totally need to make this more prominent and simpler. Also it should default to off - most people don't want subtitles on. – niico May 25 '15 at 20:47
Also, you need to click the "Show All" settings button to find these preferences. – Fabian Tamp Jun 28 at 12:31

Setting it to 0 doesn't always work. It works about 50% of the time. I set mine to 99 which seems to work better ;-)

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The accepted answer didn't work for me, but this did. Thank you. – nc01 Sep 21 '13 at 8:22
Same here - accepted answer didn't work; this one did. – David Feb 24 '15 at 3:42
finally, after all these years, thanks so much – malhal Jan 20 at 2:42

Just wanted to say that you can do this using the "simple" options as well: it's tools / preferences / and then "subtitles/OSD" which is the 4th big button on the left of the preferences menu, right above "input/codecs."

Then just uncheck "enable subtitles," the subtitles will remain available anytime via r-click/subtitles.

Also, after doing this, then switching to "show settings: all" in the lower left, the "subtitles track ID" that Colonel Panic suggests, is set to -1, not 0, which could be why some folks are having trouble with it. You can manually set this to -1, to achieve the same result. Cheerio!

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