In this article, you’ll learn how to embed a video in PowerPoint directly from your hard drive as pictured below.

On top of that, you’ll learn what you can and can’t do when embedding 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!

If you want to grab the latest version of Microsoft Office (Microsoft 365) like I’m using in this tutorial, you can check it out here.

But before you get carried away adding videos to PowerPoint, it’s important to first understand what your options are.

Embedding 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.

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.

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.

So that’s something else to keep in mind when working with online videos.To learn how to embed a YouTube video in PowerPoint (including find the proper URL), read our guide here.

How to embed a video in PowerPoint

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.

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 trim an embedded video in PowerPoint

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, 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.

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

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)

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.

2. Importing a video thumbnail (or Poster Frame)

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 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 (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.

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, simply:

  1. Navigate to File
  2. Select the Info tab (selected by default)
  3. Open the Compress Media drop down
  4. Choose between 1080p720p and 480p

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

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 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 to compress your PowerPoint presentations, making them easier to share with your clients and colleagues, check out our compression 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.

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