For a lot of us, Microsoft PowerPoint represents a part of our lives we don’t often look fondly on. Whether that’s making presentations for school or work, with over one million companies using Office 365 worldwide, it’s safe to say you’ve either used it, or you will use it in the future.

However, PowerPoint (ppt) presentations don’t have to be boring with all text and a few images here and there. One trick you try to make your presentations more interesting and engaging is to embed video into your PowerPoint slides. 

If the idea of adding video inside your slides is new to you (instead of minimizing the program and finding the video to play), then this guide will help you understand the benefits of using embedded videos, and how to do it with different video formats.

For reference, throughout this guide I’ll be using Version 16.51 PowerPoint for Mac (from Microsoft Office 365) and a standard design template for this tutorial. You may have a previous version of PowerPoint with slightly different wordings for buttons (which I’ll point out).

Why embed a video in a PowerPoint presentation?

First things first, let us take a look at some of the awesome benefits of adding video to PowerPoint presentations. While there are more than three benefits (particularly if you enjoy creating instructional videos), or if your company makes use of asynchronous meetings, these are the main ones when it comes to the audience’s experience.

Videos help to explain complexity

You may have heard some statistics floating around on the internet about how “65% of the population are visual learners”. While this particular stat isn’t actually based on empirical research to date, many people I’ve encountered throughout life seem to prefer videos in both learning and business environments.

The most obvious reason for these preferences is that videos often help to explain complexity a little easier than reading about it. 

For example, in a 2018 Frontiers in Surgery study, viewing operative videos (vs reading a manuscript) greatly improved the confidence of trainee surgeons in performing difficult surgery.

Minimizes information overload

Have you ever seen a presentation slide that was almost a full screen of block text and inwardly groaned at having to read it or watch the speaker read from the screen word for word?

Having too much information on a single slide is not only a design mistake but also contributes to information overload — which happens when someone faces “a level of information that is greater than their information processing capacity”. 

Using video can help combat this problem by pacing out information at an easier rate than slamming someone with a huge wall of text all at once.

Mixing mediums keeps your audience engaged

Similar to the point above, having a whole bunch of text in your presentation without anything else to break it up is a quick way to lose the interest of your audience.

Going to either extreme of using only text or only video isn’t likely to help people engage with the information you’re trying to give. However, giving a mix of mediums has a much better chance of increasing engagement in a learning environment. 

In a business context, research suggests that the overwhelming majority (94%) of people surveyed report “watching explainer videos to learn more about a product, with 84% being swayed to make a purchase”. So including them in a sales deck may well work to persuade your audience into buying.

How to embed a Vimeo video in PowerPoint

Perhaps you have a portfolio of videos on your Vimeo account you want to add to your presentation instead. Thankfully, adding a Vimeo video to your slide show is just as easy as adding a YouTube video!

In fact, all the starting steps (insert video ➡️ online film ➡️ URL/embed code) are exactly the same. The only difference is the source of the video itself (and whether or not the video belongs to you).

From your own video library

So, from opening up the dialog box, you’ll want to head over to your Vimeo video library, which you can do by hovering over your profile picture and hitting the “videos” option in the drop-down menu:

From there, you’ll want to go to the video you want to embed (in this case, me playing a song I wrote) and click on the ‘link’ icon which will give you the option to either copy the URL or the embed code. 

As I said before, for PowerPoint presentations, it doesn’t matter which one you choose since you need the internet to play them anyway.

With these options, simply paste your URL or embed code into the dialog box and it will insert the video to your slide.

As an additional measure, if for some reason the shortened embed code doesn’t work, you can also click on the video and copy the full embed code from the video options, like so:

From there, just as before you can paste the embed code in the PowerPoint dialog box and it works the same way. 

A video that’s not yours

To insert a video that doesn’t belong to you (but you have permission to use), it’s similar to how you would insert a YouTube video only the design is obviously different.

When you get to the Vimeo video you want to embed, click on the “share” button shaped like a paper airplane and you’ll get all the same options as before. All you have to do is copy either the URL or the embed code:

Just as before, paste either of these into the “online film” dialog box and your video will appear on the slide.

Quick note: to embed the video in PowerPoint, the video must be publicly available, or at least viewable via link. You can’t embed a video that is set to “only me”. 

How to add a YouTube video to a PowerPoint

Whether you’re using the most updated version of PowerPoint or an older one, the steps are exactly the same here with the only difference being that older versions like PowerPoint 2010 may ask “video from website” rather than online video/film/movie depending on your localization. 

There are two main ways you can insert a YouTube video into a slide in PowerPoint, and both require you to be connected to the internet when you add and play the video.

Add YouTube video via URL

The easiest way to add a video in PowerPoint is to first, select the slide you want the video to appear on, then hit the insert tab and find the video icon towards the right:

From here, you’ll get a drop-down menu for various insert video options. Depending on your level of subscription, you may also see the “stock videos” option, which might be helpful in other situations. For now, choose “online film” (or movie/video).

After that, you’ll get a pop-up that asks you to paste the YouTube video URL into the box. In previous versions, you may also have the option here to search for a YouTube video inside PowerPoint, but it seems recent updates have removed that feature.

From here, you’ll need to find the YouTube video you want to add to your presentation, then either copy the URL from the address bar, from the right-click options, or hit the “share” button on the video and copy the URL from there:

Once you’ve copied the URL, paste it into the dialog box on PowerPoint and press “insert” or hit enter.

If you had an empty media box in the slide already (like I have in my slide above) your video will automatically paste into that box which you can resize afterward:

Shoutout to Abbie Emmons’ awesome YouTube channel for fiction writers. 

However, if you had a blank slide before adding your video, it will appear in the middle of the slide. Resize and reposition however you want the video to appear.

Add YouTube video via embed code

Since YouTube videos require an internet connection for playback, it doesn’t necessarily matter whether you use the URL or the embed code. However, if you really want to use it, the embed code is a way for you to add the YouTube video without the link.

The starting steps are exactly the same as inserting a video via URL, except when you go to your chosen YouTube video, instead of copying the URL, you should click “Embed”. When you do, you’ll see the following screen:

If you click on the code box it should automatically select all of the code, but if you accidentally double-click you can either use your select-all keyboard shortcut (cmd+a for Mac, ctrl+a for Windows) or click off the box and back on it to reselect all.

Alternatively, if you right-click on the video itself, you can also copy the embed code from the options there.

Copy the embed code and paste it in the same dialog box as you do with the URL and you’ll get the same results.

How to insert all other video types into PowerPoint

After all of the above, what if you have a different video format to work with, or that the connection will be bad where you’re delivering your presentation? In this case, you’ll want to try embedding a video file from your computer.

Before you start, here’s a list of the video formats PowerPoint currently supports:

Mac:

  • AVI movie (Some .avi files may require additional codecs) (.avi or .vfw)
  • MPEG-4 movie (.mp4, .mpg4)
  • Apple MPEG-4 movie (.mv4)
  • MPEG movie (.mpg, .mpeg, .mpe, .m75, .m15)
  • MPEG-2 video (.m2v)
  • MPEG-2 Transport Stream (.ts)
  • QuickTime movie (.mov, .qt)
  • DVI movie (.dif)

Windows:

  • Windows Video file (Some .avi files may require additional codecs) (.asf, .avi)
  • MP4 Video file (only from 2013) (.mp4, .m4v, .mov)
  • Movie file (.mpg, .mpeg)
  • Windows Media Video file (.wmv)

As long as your video is one of the above formats, you’ll be fine. If not, you should try converting your file to one of the above before trying to embed it in your presentation.

So, in order to embed a video file, you’ll want to head back over to the “insert” tab and instead of clicking “online film”, select either “video browser” or “video from file”. Though in older versions, it will have “video on my pc” instead.

It may be unique to Mac, but if you select “video browser”, a “photos” window will pop up where you can browse videos from your photos app. In most cases though, you’ll want to pick “video from file” as it will take you to your folder manager (finder in Mac). 

From here, you’ll be able to find the video you want to insert into your PowerPoint from the folder where it belongs:

When you select a video, the “insert” button will be available and you can click it to add the video to your slide.

Whether you decide to add a video from an online source or from your computer, here are the main points to keep in mind:

  • Inserting a video from your computer will significantly increase the PowerPoint file size whereas an online video won’t.
  • Using an online video requires an internet connection for the video to play while using a video file from your computer doesn’t.

Now you know how to add a video to your presentation, next we’ll briefly look at some of the options you have in terms of playing videos during your presentation.

After adding videos to your presentation

Beyond simply adding the video to your slide, there are a couple of other considerations to take into account.

Thumbnail

A lot of the time, you won’t have control over the thumbnail of the video you want to embed. However, if you want to change the thumbnail to an image you already have, you can do that by clicking on the “video format” tab and selecting either the “current frame” or “image from file” option, like so:

Changing the thumbnail also changes how it appears in the presentation overview in the left pane, and when you run through the presentation the video plays as normal.

Background video

If you want your video to appear in the background of your slide, all you need to do is make sure your video is high quality enough and resize it to fit the slide frame. If you want other elements to appear over the top, simply change the position using the “arrange” button in the Home tab.

The playback tab

The playback tab will also appear when you click on the embedded video, where you can change settings like whether the video starts automatically, when clicked on, or in the click sequence (handy if you have slide animations or text to work through first). 

You can find these settings when you click on “start”:

Just below “start sequence” you can also check a box if you want the video to play full screen (not advisable with the automatic playback setting, or if you want the video to appear as part of the slide design).

If you’re working on a video you’ve embedded from your computer, you can also add bookmarks to let you quickly navigate different parts of the video, even during the presentation — great for topic changes or other segmentation.

Adding video to PowerPoint FAQs

How do I embed a video in a PowerPoint without a link?

You can either use a video stored on your computer by choosing the “video from file” option in the insert video tab or find the embed code of an online video.

How do I get a YouTube video to play automatically in PowerPoint?

Embed the video in your slide and then click on it to reveal the “Playback” tab. In there you’ll find the “start” settings where you can select “automatically” instead of the default “In Click Sequence” option.

Where is the embed code on a YouTube video?

You can either right-click on the video (on YouTube or any other site) and select the “copy embed code” option or hit the “share” button. In there you’ll find the “embed” option that brings up a window with the full embed code for you to copy.

Wrapping up

At this point, you should know what the benefits are for including video in your presentations and exactly how to embed a video in PowerPoint, along with some bonus tips for using them. 

Hopefully, you’ve come to realize just how easy it is to do and you’re feeling inspired to spice up your next presentation, or maybe even record your presentation to share it with the world!

Recording and sharing your presentation is a great, scalable way to asynchronously share information with your team or audience, so if you’re ready for the next step, check out video tools by Vimeo.

Embed your beautiful videos anywhere with Vimeo