I have some movies in matroska format. They have english subtitles in. The problem is I have to manually select those by either clicking V or selecting them from the context menu.

Now I've seen those threads:

How can I make VLC auto-select subtitles in an MKV file?

Can VLC be set to enable subtitles by default?

The first one suggests that I should set the Subtitle track ID option in VLC to match the subtitle track id from my movie. Fair enough, it works, but when I launch a different one - it doesn't.

The second one suggests using -1 for Subtitle track and Subtitle track ID and selecting English as a preferred language. Now, this is better as it works for most kind of files, but there is one problem: What if the subtitles are not named as English (i.e. they are just Sub track 1)? Well, then it doesn't work.

So my question here would be: Is there a way to modify those files (i.e. with mkvmerge), and by modifying I mean just changing the subtitles name (or language name - don't know how it works in matroska)? And if not - can I somehow make it work in VLC then?

  • 1
    I can't make it not play by default, for me it always plays the first subs track if the languages aren't specified. Try a settings wipe.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 4, 2019 at 8:27

1 Answer 1


You have two options:

1) You can change your settings in VLC by going to Tools > Preferences > Subtitles/OSD and set Preferred Subtitle Language as eng. It will make English subtitles as default.

2) You can use mkvpropedit in order to set all the English subtiltes as forced:

mkvpropedit video.mkv --edit track:s1 --set forced-track=1

For batch processing your files in the same folder, open a command line and type on Windows:

FOR %G IN (*.mkv) DO (mkvpropedit.exe "%~nG.mkv" --edit track:s1 --set forced-track=1)

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