Incorporating videos in PowerPoint


The easiest way to include videos in PowerPoint is to download the video and insert it using Video>Video on My PC… from the Insert ribbon. If you then select the video, you have access to a range of fairly intuitive tools from the AnimationsFormat and Playback tabs on the video.

In recent versions of PowerPoint (from  2013) the video gets incorporated into the saved presentation and in my experience you rarely run into problems moving from computer to computer as long as that computer is running PowerPoint 2013 or later (beware, computers running earlier versions are still not uncommon in churches).

There are two major disadvantages of inserting video.

  • Saved presentations can get very large. Given how much storage is available nowadays in different formats I don’t generally find this is a problem for individual presentations, but if you save lots of presentations with video content then the space requirements can easily build up.
  • It is becoming increasingly difficult to download videos. Platforms like YouTube and Vimeo want you to stream videos live (so they can track your viewing habits and feed you adverts). If you Google “download youtube video” you will get links to sites that allow you to do this but these get shut down quite regularly and you’ll have to move from one to another as this happens (and of course this is indicative of the fact that this may infringe copyright and thus be illegal).


An alternative that is offered within PowerPoint 2013 and 2016 is to embed videos so that they stream live through to the PowerPoint presentation when it is run.

At one level this is quite similar to inserting a video. Select Video>Online Video… from the Insert ribbon and use the first option to search for a YouTube video either using general search terms or the YouTube reference from the URL (e.g. XWKRCgzKuK4). The problem with this is that you have very little control. For example you cannot get the video to run automatically or start and stop at specific times.

If you want to do this you need to use the second technique and paste an embed code into the box next to the second option given when you select Video>Online Video… The embed code is an instruction to the computer about how to handle the video. It is quite easy to obtain from a YouTube video, simply right click on the video and select copy embed code. This copies the code to the clipboard and, if you right click where it says paste embed code here, then you get the option to paste the code directly into the box. You then select the little insert arrow to the right of the box and the video will be embedded.

If you just do this you won’t get much more control than if you’d used the first option. In order to do this you need to edit the embed code. You can do this within the box within PowerPoint (use the left and right arrows to move the cursor to the correct place in the text) but it can be easier to paste the link into a word processor, edit it and then copy and paste the editted version into PowerPoint.

If you copy the embed code into a word processeor it will look something like this:youtube embed text well woman raw(Couple of notes on this. First, because of the way this blogging software works you won’t be able to copy and paste any of these snippets of code [its actually an image]. Second, PowerPoint only accepts a single line of code [although this can be as long as you want] so make suere that there aren’t any line breaks hidden in your word processor version).

In order to specify how the video behaves you need to add in a number of tags  in the embed code. These are:

autoplay=1 start video automatically
start=23 play video from 23 seconds from start
end=125 play video until 125 seconds from start
controls=0 don’t show controls (but be warned that this reduces the flexibility you have to interact with the video if you want to).

A full list of codes can be found at this link on the YouTube support web-site.

To include just one tag then insert “?” and the tag before the quotation mark at the end of the URL. For example:youtube embed text well woman autoplaywill result in the video playing automatically.

To include multiple tags then insert a “&” between tags. For example:youtube embed text well woman autoplay and stopwill result in the video playing automatically but stopping after 5 seconds.

Once you get used to this process for YouTube videos you should be able to find similar techniques for videos from other repositories or web-sites … but remember that PowerPoint requires that embed code to be entered as a single line of code.