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.
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.
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.
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 ‘/’
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.
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).
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:
- Embedding YouTube Videos in PPT 2007, the Easy way
- Embedding YouTube videos in PPT 2010
- Embedding YouTube videos in PPT 2013
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.