YouTube annotation converter
This tool no longer works! YouTube removed all annotation data from videos on January
If you still have XML files containing annotations, you can convert them in bulk using this program I threw together.
What's this about?
Annotations are boxes of text and/or links that could be placed anywhere inside a video. Since May 2017 you can no longer add new annotations, and on January 15, 2019, even existing annotations will disappear. This is really unfortunate for older videos that make heavy use of them, providing commentary, background info, or corrections.
What does this tool do?
If you want to preserve your videos' annotations, you can use this tool to convert them into subtitles instead.
- Enter a video URL
- Click "Convert" and get an .srt file containing all the annotation text
- Upload the .srt file in YouTube Studio to add the text as subtitles
To check which of your videos have annotations, use AnnoFetch.
Isn't this a bad idea?
Almost certainly! I'm just waiting for someone to tell me why.
It's probably not the intended use for subtitles, but it seems better than nothing — at least you can keep the annotation text around in some form.
Credit is due
I wrote all the code myself, but the ideas aren't mine.
- From This video by EposVox, I learned YouTube was getting rid of annotations.
- This video by KarolaTea linked to AnnoFetch by slayweb, which shows you which of your videos have annotations.
- germanger made the original tool to convert annotations to subtitles (HTML/JS version), but they seemed to spit them out in an invalid format, and I decided I'd try making my own.
- From this web app, which can copy annotation data across videos, I learned how to fetch annotation data from YouTube given a video ID.