1. PowerPoint Tutorials
  2. Shortcuts & Hacks
  3. How to Embed a Video in PowerPoint (Step-by-Step)

How to Embed a Video in PowerPoint (Step-by-Step)

By

In this article, you’ll learn how to embed a video in PowerPoint, including how to embed a YouTube video in PowerPoint, as pictured below.

Example of a video embedded in PowerPoint

On top of that, you’ll learn what you can and can't do when inserting videos into PowerPoint, including:

  • How to trim a video (including how to trim a YouTube video)
  • Getting your video to play full screen
  • Creating a video thumbnail or Poster Frame
  • How to compress your videos
  • And more!

You can even convert your PowerPoint presentations into video, and then embed them in other presentation. To learn how to convert PowerPoint to video like this, read our conversion guide here.

But before you get carried away adding videos to PowerPoint, it's important to first understand what your options are, and how they affect the playback quality of your videos in PowerPoint.


Online videos vs. Desktop videos

There are two different types of videos you can embed in PowerPoint:

  1. Videos from your computer
  2. Videos from online sources like YouTube

As you will see in this article, the main difference between these two types of videos, is how much formatting control you have over them inside of PowerPoint.

So here is a quick rundown of the differences between embedding a video that's on your computer, versus one that is online.


1. Video size

An online video (like a YouTube video) will not increase the size of your PowerPoint presentation. That's because the video will stream from the web, where it resides.

So whereas a 45 MB video embedded from your computer will increase the size of your presentation by 45 MB, a 45 MB video uploaded to YouTube and then embedded in PowerPoint will not increase the size of your presentation.

Example of the size difference between an online video and a PC video embedded in a PowerPoint presentation

You can see proof of this in the picture above. I added the same video to a blank PowerPoint presentation. One embedded from my computer, the other embedded from YouTube (after I uploaded it to YouTube).

So keep in mind file size when choosing between adding online videos or videos from your computer.


2. Internet connection

Online videos require a good - STRONG - internet connection to play properly.

That means that if you embed a YouTube video in your PowerPoint and the conference room you are presenting in has a weak internet connection, you are in trouble.

So I highly recommend spot checking the internet quality of the room you will be presenting in before working with any online video in your presentation.

If your internet connection is weak, be prepared to skip the video in your presentation.

On the flip side, videos you embed from your computer will always play (rain or shine) simply because they require no internet connection to work. The biggest downside is, they will significantly increase the size of your presentation (as discussed above).


3. Playback options

Online videos have limited playback options you can work with in PowerPoint.

Notice in the picture below how all of the options in the Playback tab are not available for online videos - they are grayed out.

Limited playback options in PowerPoint for embedded online videos

This is not the end of the world, but it does limit you in how you play the video during your presentation.

On top of that, if you embed a YouTube video into PowerPoint, you will be stuck with all of the YouTube features (subscribe, share, watch later, etc.) as pictured below.

YouTube playback features that show up when you add a YouTube video to PowerPoint

So that's something else to keep in mind when working with online videos.


How to embed a video in PowerPoint 

To embed  a video, from the insert tab select video, video on my pc, navigate to the video, select the video and select insert

To embed a video in PowerPoint from your computer, simply:

  1. Navigate to the Insert tab
  2. Open the Video drop down (within the Media group)
  3. Choose Video on my PC
  4. Navigate to where the video resides on your PC
  5. Select the Video
  6. Click Insert

Clicking Insert, the video is added to your PowerPoint slide as an editable PowerPoint object, as you can see below.

Example of a video embedded in a PowerPoint slide

With the video now inserted on your slide, you can use the features found in the Video Playback and Formatting tabs. These tabs will be discussed below.

If you convert your presentation into a video, your embedded video will play within your video (if that makes sense). To learn how to convert PowerPoint to video, read our guide here.


How to embed a YouTube video into PowerPoint (or any online video)

Adding an online video into PowerPoint is a two-step process.

First (and most importantly), you need to find the proper URL of the video you want to embed. Then (and only then), are you ready to embed it.

In the steps below, I will walk you through how to embed a YouTube into PowerPoint.

Note: To see how to embed YouTube videos in all versions of PowerPoint (including 2007), see our detailed guide here.


1. Find your YouTube video's proper URL

This might sound obvious, but if you don't find the proper URL for your YouTube video, it won't work the way you expect it to.

Steps to find and copy the right YouTube video URL to use in PowerPoint

To find the right URL for your YouTube video to embed into PowerPoint, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to YouTube.com
  2. Use the Search Bar to find your video
  3. Select your video to open the YouTube Player
  4. Click Share at the bottom of the video player
  5. Click Copy

The same is true if you are using an online video from another source.

You want to make sure you use the Share button (or similar feature) to get the proper URL for your video before you embed it into PowerPoint.

Otherwise it might not play properly, as discussed below.

WARNING: Get the right YouTube URL

You want to make sure you copy your video’s URL using the share button. DO NOT use the URL from your web browser.

That’s because the URL in your web browser tends to start where you last left off in the video and not at the beginning of the video.

Example of the wrong YouTube URL being copied for a video to add to PowerPoint

In the picture above this is reflected in the URL with T=60s. This means the video will start 60 seconds into the video, and not from the beginning.

This can lead to an embarrassing presentation, where you play the video at the punchline that you want to make instead of the full video that leads up to the punch line.


2. Insert the YouTube video into PowerPoint

Once you have the CORRECT URL for your video, then you can insert it into PowerPoint.

From the Insert tab, open the video drop down, select Online video, paste your YouTube URL into the box and click Insert

To embed a YouTube video in PowerPoint, simply:

  1. Navigate to the Insert tab
  2. Select the Video drop down (within the Media group)
  3. Choose Online Video
  4. Where it says Enter the URL for the Online Video, simply Paste in (Ctrl + V) your URL
  5. Click Insert

Clicking Insert, a message at the bottom of your screen will tell you the video is processing. Once it's done, the video will appear on your slide.

Example of a YouTube video embedded in a PowerPoint slide

When using online videos like this, it's important to properly cite your sources so you don't get into legal trouble. To learn how to cite a YouTube video (and other online sources), read our citing guide here.

Note: When you open a presentation with a video embedded from an online source like YouTube, you will see the following security warning.

Security warning when your PowerPoint presentation opens with embedded online videos

You need to select Enable Content before your video will play in PowerPoint

If this isn't working for you, see our detailed guide here for embedding YouTube videos in all versions of PowerPoint (including 2007).


How to trim a video (embedded from your computer)

If you add a video to PowerPoint from your computer, you can use the built-in trimming command to adjust when your video starts and stops.

To trim a video in PowerPoint, select the video, open the Playback tab, select the Trim Video command and adjust the start and end times of your video

To trim a video in PowerPoint, simply:

  1. Select your video
  2. Navigate to the Playback tab
  3. Select the Trim Video command
  4. Adjust the Green Start Time cursor
  5. Adjust the Red End Time cursor
  6. Click OK

Instead of manually adjusting the start and end time cursors, you can also adjust the start and end times in the timing dialog boxes as pictured below.

The start time and end time timing boxes in the trim video command

Clicking OK, the start and end times of your video are reset based on your adjustments.


How to trim a YouTube video

As discussed above, you are limited in what you can do with online videos within PowerPoint.

If you want to trim a YouTube video, you have one of two choices:

  1. Trim the video by adjusting it's start time BEFORE you copy the video's URL.
  2. Download the YouTube video to your computer (make sure you have the author's permission to do so), embed the video from your PC and then trim it as discussed above.
Trimming a YouTube video's start time before copying the video's URL

To trim a YouTube video by adjusting its start time, simply:

  1. Open your YouTube video's watch page
  2. Click the Share button
  3. Adjust the video's Start at time
  4. Click Copy 

Adjusting the YouTube video's start time, you'll see the new start time reflected in the URL, as pictured below.

Example of a trimmed YouTube video's updated URL to reflect the new start time for the video

This ensures that the YouTube video starts at your desired location when you embed it in PowerPoint.

This is also why you want to make sure you grab the proper URL before you insert it into PowerPoint.

Note: There is currently no way to trim a YouTube video's end time.

The only way to do this is to first download the YouTube video to your computer and then insert into PowerPoint. This then allows you to use the Trim Video command in PowerPoint as discussed above


How to add a Video thumbnail

Adding a video thumbnail (or what PowerPoint calls a Poster Frame) is super easy.

But this is only applicable to videos you add to your presentation from your computer. That's because online videos will automatically populate with whatever thumbnail their creator gave it (you cannot edit it or change it in PowerPoint).

There are two types of thumbnails you can add to your videos in PowerPoint:

  1. Use a frame from your video as the thumbnail (easiest)
  2. Import your own custom thumbnail image (most flexible)

Neither is better or worse (your video will still play the same either way), it's just a personal preference.

What is a video thumbnail and why is it important?

A video thumbnail is simply an image that is displayed before you play your video. You will see these on YouTube videos all the time before you click to play them.

In PowerPoint, the thumbnail image can become an important part of your overall slide design theme.

If you don't add your own thumbnail, the first frame of your video will automatically be used as the video's Poster Frame.

Adding a Poster Frame is an optional step, but can go a long way to improving the overall design of your PowerPoint slides.

Here are the different ways to add a thumbnail or Poster Frame to your embedded video:


1. Using a video frame as the thumbnail (or Poster Frame)

Select the fame of your video that you want to use as a poster frame and then select Current Frame from the Post Frame drop down

To use a frame of the video as the Poster Frame:

  1. Select your video
  2. Scrub to the video frame you want to use as your thumbnail
  3. Navigate to the Video Format tab
  4. Open the Poster Frame drop down
  5. Select Current Frame

Selecting Current Frame, your video timeline will say Poster Frame Set, as you can see in the picture below.

Example of the Poster Frame Set message in your embedded PowerPoint video

2. Importing a video thumbnail (or Poster Frame)

To import your own video thumbnail, select your video, video format tab, poster frame drop down, image from file, select the file and click insert

To import your own custom Poster Frame to use as your video's thumbnail in PowerPoint, simply:

  1. Select your video
  2. Navigate to the Video Format tab
  3. Open the Poster Frame drop down
  4. Choose Image from file…
  5. Select From a File
  6. Navigate to the image on your computer
  7. Select the image you wan to use
  8. Click Insert

For help creating your own video thumbnail, you can see how to crop photos in PowerPoint here and how to remove an image background here.​​


How to reset a thumbnail (or Poster Frame)

If you don't like the thumbnail image you chose for your video, you can always pick a new one or reset the thumbnail image.

To remove a Poster Frame from your embedded video, select Reset from the Post Frame drop down

To Reset your video Poster Frame in PowerPoint, simply:

  1. Select your video
  2. Navigate to the Video Format tab
  3. Open the Poster Frame drop down
  4. Select Reset

Selecting Reset, whatever Poster Frame you set for your video is removed. Doing so, PowerPoint once again uses the default Poster Frame for your video (its first frame). 

After resetting your Poster Frame, you can always add a new one as discussed above.


How to make a video play full screen

If you embedded a video from your computer into PowerPoint, you can get it to play full screen without having to resize it.

If you are working with an online video in your presentation, see the note down below about Getting an online video to play full screen.

To make a video play full screen in PowerPoint, select your video, Playback tab and select Play Full Screen

To make a video Play Full Screen in PowerPoint (regardless of its size on your slide), simply:

  1. Select the video on your slide
  2. Navigate to the Playback tab
  3. Click Play Full Screen

Now whenever you play that video inside your presentation, the video will play in full screen, regardless of how you resize it on your slide.

The cool thing about this Play Full Screen feature is, you can then design your slide any way you like with your videos, and have them play full screen when you click them.

For example, you could put 3 instructional videos on the same slide, and have each one play in full screen when you click it.

Getting an online video to play full screen

Because the Play Full Screen command is not available for online videos in PowerPoint, online videos will play in whatever frame size they exist in on your slide.

That means that if you want your video to play full screen during your presentation, you first need to resize the video to fit your entire slide space, as pictured below.

Example of resizing an online video in PowerPoint so that it will play full screen during a presentation

How to compress a video in PowerPoint

If you have inserted a lot of videos from your computer and your presentation is running slowly (or is too big to share with others), you can reduce your file size by compressing your videos.

This is only applicable to videos you embed from your computer (online videos don't require compression as they don't take up space within your presentation).

To compress a video in PowerPoint, click the file tab, select info, open the Compress Media options and choose a compression resolution

To compress a video in PowerPoint, simply:

  1. Navigate to File
  2. Select the Info tab (selected by default)
  3. Open the Compress Media drop down
  4. Choose between 1080p, 720p and 480p

After selecting a compression option, PowerPoint begins compressing all the videos within your presentation.

Example of the Compress Media dialog box that displays as PowerPoint compresses your videos

For the best video and audio quality playback, choose the Full HD (1080p) resolution. This can still significantly decrease the size of videos embedded from your computer.

The video compression options in PowerPoint are Full HD 1080p, HD 720p and Standard 480p

The video compression options available to you in PowerPoint are:

  • Full HD (1080p): Save space while maintaining overall audio and video quality.
  • HD (720p): Quality will be comparable to media which is streamed over the Internet.
  • Standard (480p): Use when space is limited, such as when sending presentations via e-mail.

The smaller you compress your videos, the more room you will save in your presentation, but the lower the quality.

To learn 5 additional ways for how to compress PowerPoint presentations to make them easier to share with your clients and colleagues, check out our guide here.


Conclusion

So that's how to embed a video in PowerPoint, including how to embed a YouTube video in PowerPoint.

You also learned about the different formatting options available to you, which can determine which type of video you want to embed in your PowerPoint presentations in the first place.

When used well, videos are a great way to back up your main points and improve the overall quality of your presentation as they are more engaging than static images.

If you enjoyed the depth of this article, you'll love our PowerPoint training courses and other free resources. To learn more, visit us here.

What’s next?

Updated on November 6, 2019

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles