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How to add text in iMovie video projects

Whether it's closing credits or cinematic effects, iMovie has your text needs covered.

Published onApril 18, 2023

Every movie or TV show has text. Whether it’s opening credits, closing credits, or someone’s name at the bottom of the screen, knowing how to add text is a must for any video editor. In iMovie, the process is simple, although the choices are rather limited and the effects are rather boring. Here’s how to add text to iMovie to turn an otherwise tedious film into something a bit more entertaining.


To add text to a video in iMovie on a Mac, click on Titles at the top-left of the iMovie interface. Now drag your desired text template to the video footage below. Double-click the text on the preview screen to edit it. On an iPhone, drag the video to the spot you want to add the text. Hold down the footage with your finger till options come up, including the text option. Select your text style and type in what you want to say.


How to add text to a video in iMovie on Mac

To add text to a video in iMovie, select Titles at the top-left of the iMovie interface. You will now see the various available text templates. Click the one you want.

mac imovie titles

Using your mouse or trackpad, drag the template down to the video footage area. If you want the text to appear on a black screen before the movie starts, you will need to push the text template to the start of the video timeline.

mac imovie drag text

The preview screen will now show your default text, which you can naturally edit. Just click on the preview screen and change the text to your requirements. As you can see here, it looks like a mess but don’t worry. When you enter your text and play the video, you’ll see it actually looks fine.

mac imovie edit screen text

Placing the text in the middle of the movie

mac imovie split clip

If you want to add the text on a black background in the middle of the movie, you will first need to cut the video footage where you want the text to go. Simply double-click on the space you want the text to go, and a yellow vertical line will appear in that spot. Right-click and, in the pop-up menu that appears, select Split Clip. A space will now open up and you can squeeze your text template in.

Adding overlay text in iMovie

The other option is to add overlay text to your movie. This is when the text sits on top of the video footage as it plays in the background. Again, choose your desired text template but this time, drop it above the video footage where you want the overlay text to appear.

mac imovie adding text again

If you look at the preview screen, you’ll see the text sitting on top of the footage. Double-click the default text and change it to whatever you want.

mac imovie editing overlay text

How to add text to a video in iMovie on iOS

Adding text to a video in iMovie on iOS is more or less the same procedure as the Mac method. However, due to the smaller screen, it is a bit less intuitive to do it on an iPhone screen, especially if you have big fingers. Wherever possible, we recommend you do this on a Mac device if you have access to one.

However, for quick no-frills iMovie text additions on an iPhone, here’s how to do it.

  • Open the video project file in iMovie.
  • Move the video timeline with your finger to the point where you want to add the text.
  • Hold down on the video footage with your finger till it is highlighted yellow. You’ll now see some options down below, including a T which is the text option.
ios imovie adding text

Some text style templates will appear at the bottom. Select the one you want and it will appear on your video preview screen. Not the right one? Not to worry – just tap the Undo button which is the one to the bottom-right of the preview screen (the arrow curling left). That will wipe your last action and you can start again.

ios imovie editing text

Double-tap the text on the preview screen and your keyboard will pop up. Type in your desired text and save it.

If your video is now finished, it may be time to export the iMovie file?


Yes, but only on macOS. iMovie uses the fonts installed on your Mac, so install the font on your Mac device and it will then show up on iMovie. You will most likely have to restart iMovie first for it to appear.

Yes, this can be done the same way as on a Mac machine.

You need to find a text template in iMovie that is not an animation. Moving your cursor over each template will reveal which ones are animated and which ones aren’t.

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