Playing Video in PowerPoint

Using Video in PowerPoint Tips Advice

Using relevant video in your PowerPoint presentations can help your message be remembered by your audience. Although inserting a video seems to straightforward, there are a few approaches you may take - each with their pros and cons.

Before you go ahead and find your favourite video clip of 'kittens misbehaving' (or whatever it is), consider the message you want to convey. Ask yourself, "Is video the most appropriate best medium?" 

The two approaches are:

  • Linking to YouTube
  • Inserting a Video Clip From a File

Linking to YouTube

Before telling you how to embed a video into PowerPoint, it's worth remembering that resulting presentation will depend on a connection to the internet.

No internet on presentation day = no video.

You should also ensure you're not in breach of copyright law if connecting to a video that isn't your own. 


Copy the video's embed code. For example, on YouTube click "Embed" below the video and copying the (iFrame) code.

Switch to PowerPoint and click 'Insert', 'Video' and 'Video from Web Site...' (see below). Then paste the copied code into the box.

Inserting a YouTube video into PowerPoint

Test whether the video plays correctly (as some videos have restrictions preventing them from being embedded into PowerPoint).

Inserting a Video Clip From File

This method does not require an internet connection. However, it considerably increases the size of your presentation file.

It is possible to download royalty free videos from sites such as Vimeo. You can use third party applications to download videos from other sites, and should make sure you have permission of the copyright holder.

Here are the file formats supported by PowerPoint:

File Format Extension
Windows Media file .asf
Windows Video file (Some .avi files may require additional codecs) .avi
MP4 Video file* .mp4, .m4v, .mov
Movie file .mpg or .mpeg
Adobe Flash Media** .swf
Windows Media Video file .wmv

*PowerPoint 2013 and later only. Videos in the .mp4, .mov, and .qt formats can be played in PowerPoint 2010 if the Apple QuickTime player is installed.
**Adobe Flash isn’t available in Office on a Windows RT PC. 

In a Windows environment we have found the Windows Media Video File (.wmv) to be most reliable. If your video file isn't already in this format you will need to reformat it using a video editing application - this may result in some loss of quality.


Once in PowerPoint, click 'Insert', 'Video' and 'Video from File...' (see below). Then locate the file within your Library.

Inserting a video into PowerPoint from file

Other Video Tips

Video Aspect Ratio vs Slide Aspect Ratio

Remember to first check whether you will be presenting on a 16:9 or a 4:3 screen.

If the aspect ratio of your video matches that of your PowerPoint slides, the video can be played full screen without the need of horizontal black bars.


Whilst you have the video object selected within PowerPoint, click on "Playback" within "Video Tools" on the ribbon.

PowerPoint Video Playback Options

We recommend you give your video its own slide and set the video to play automatically. That way when you transition from the previous slide (a black slate slide for example), the video will automatically play.

You also have the option here to trim your video, apply a fade in or out, etc.


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