"How to Trouble Shoot Issues with YouTube Videos in PowerPoint"

YouTube Videos In PowerPoint Not Playing – Troubleshooting Guide

There are a variety of things that can go wrong when trying to embed YouTube videos in PowerPoint. Below are some common issues I’ve encountered in descending order of frequency and how to troubleshoot and solve them.

So if you’re seeing a black or white box and your video isn’t playing, I would recommending scrolling down this post and testing each of these scenarios to see if that solves it for you.

If you encounter an issue not described below, leave us a comment and we will update this page.

No Internet Connection:

This might seem obvious, but this is the first thing that will cause YouTube videos in PowerPoint to not play.

To stream a video in PowerPoint, regardless of which version you are using, you need an active internet connection.

Dealing with a Slow Internet Connection

If you have a slow internet connection when you run your presentation, your videos might take a while to buffer and load.

My suggestion is to start and then pause the video when you get to that slide, to give it time to load while you talk about something else.

Dealing with No Internet Connection

If you have embedded YouTube videos and no internet connection when you run your presentation, the YouTube videos will appear as white boxes in Presentation Mode and black boxes in the Normal View of your deck.

"Embedded YouTube - Trouble Shooting Guide - No Internet Connection"

If you know you will not have an internet connection during your presentation, you will need to download the YouTube videos onto your computer and insert them as normal videos.

Doing so does break the YouTube license agreement, so I can’t recommend doing that. That said, there are lots of free services that you can use to download YouTube videos directly onto your computer.

URL Issues

Double-check that you have the correct URL or the full URL (you DO need the ‘http://’ part).

Also, make sure that you’ve selected the URL for the video + playlist or video alone, according to what you’re looking to insert and which version of PowerPoint you’re in. Remember, you can’t insert a video from a playlist in PowerPoint 2007.

If you are using the Shockwave ActiveX object to insert your YouTube videos in PowerPoint 2007 (the classic method), you need to be careful that you install the YouTube video itself and not the YouTube playlist because the Shockwave ActiveX object cannot play a YouTube playlist.

It’s an easy mistake to make so check out our post on the “hard” way to embed a YouTube video in PowerPoint 2007.

How to Tell a YouTube Video and a YouTube Playlist Apart

The easiest way to tell the difference between a video and a playlist, is by the length of its URL.

Notice in the picture below how much longer the same video is when it includes its playlist.


"Embed YouTube PowerPoint 2007 - Hard Method - Step #3 - Grab the Short YouTube URL"

Special note: If you’re trying to embed a YouTube playlist (PowerPoint 2010 or 2013), you will need to use the embed code method that we cover in our post, and not the old Shockwave ActiveX object method. That method won’t accept playlist URLs.

Correct URL Manipulation

If you are using the Shockwave ActiveX object to add your YouTube video into PowerPoint (see embedding YouTube Videos in PowerPoint 2007, the ‘hard’ way), you need to make sure you CORRECTLY manipulate the URL so that the video plays correctly.

After pasting in the YouTube URL, you need to make the two following adjustments to the URL:

#1: Delete the ‘watch?’ from the URL
#2: Replace the ‘=’ with ‘/’

"Embed YouTube PowerPoint 2007 - Hard Method - Step #5 - Adjust the YouTube URL"

Installing / Updating the Adobe Shockwave Player

If your YouTube videos still will not play in PowerPoint, make sure you have the Adobe Shockwave Player installed on your computer. After downloading and installing the file, you might need to restart your computer.


If you install the Shockwave Player and it still doesn’t work, make sure you have the object class enabled within PowerPoint. See how to do that below under “Enabling the Shockwave and Flash Objects”.

Installing / Updating Adobe Flash Player

If your YouTube videos are still not playing in PowerPoint, make sure you have the latest addition of Adobe’s Flash Player installed on your computer. After downloading and installing the file, you might need to restart your computer.


Enabling the Shockwave and Flash Objects

If you have updated Shockwave and Flash objects AND have restarted your computer and the YouTube videos are still not playing, next, make sure you have these objects enabled within PowerPoint.

Within PowerPoint hit ALT + F11 to open the VBA Window, and then select Tools and References.

"Embedded YouTube - Trouble Shooting Guide - Enabling Shock Wave File 1"

Within the References dialog box, scroll down and make sure that you have both the Shockwave ActiveX Control and the Shockwave Flash objects enabled (i.e. with a check mark next to them).

"Embedded YouTube - Trouble Shooting Guide - Enabling Shock Wave File 2"

Conflicting Versions of PowerPoint

If you have multiple versions of PowerPoint installed on your computer (like I do), you might find that manually inserting the Shockwave ActiveX object method does not work on your computer…this was driving me nuts when creating the different tutorials.

Although you might not be able to manually embed videos with the Shockwave ActiveX, you can still add YouTube videos the following ways:

YouTube Videos Still Not Playing?

Describe what is happening below in the comments and we’ll do our best to help you out and update this page.

  • Dina G-David

    Thanks for a great explanation!
    The full clip plays but I’d like to play only a part of it. Can it be done? How?
    (The url I get from youtube with starting point at X sec, doesn’t work.)

  • Antony Kustura

    How do you get shockwave if you don’t have it already?

    • Antony Kustura

      The shockwave you need to embed a YouTube video

  • Maurice

    I have ppt 2010. After copying the embedded iframe into the “insert video from Web site” box I clicked on “insert”
    The response was “ppt cannot insert a video from this embed code”
    Is there something I’m doing wrong?
    I’m trying to copy “bon qui qui” from you tube
    Please help; I have to make a presentation

    • Sorry to hear it’s still not working for you and apologies for the late reply on this…

      I don’t have PowerPoint 2010 anymore, so I can’t trouble shoot on my machine, but below are two options to bypass the issue:

      Option #1: Skip that error all together and get the free add-in to automatically insert the videos for you (see link below). The add-in is labeled for PPT 2007, but it works in ALL versions of PowerPoint.


      Option #2: Download the YouTube video and insert it into your deck as a normal video (just note, legally you are not allowed to do this). On YouTube just search for “how to download a YouTube video”…there are bunch of different ways to do it.

      Hope that helps!

  • Rebecca Oehlert

    I’ve inserted videos into multiple slides using both insert methods – From YouTube and From a Video Embed Code. All videos were working properly this morning. I did some editing to the presentation, and now the videos won’t play at all in either Normal View or Presentation View. Help!

    • Rebecca Oehlert

      I should note that I am using PPT 2013

      • Hi Rebecca, sorry to hear that!

        Not knowing what’s going wrong specifically, I would just download the YouTube videos to your computer using a free service like clipconveter – http://www.clipconverter.cc/

        You can then insert the videos like any normal video and you won’t have to be online to play them either.

        Hope that helps!