Last updated: September 18, 2019

PowerPoint presentations are a useful way to communicate information efficiently, but slide after slide of text can make people tune out. The human brain thrives on variety, so keep your audience engaged with varied content. Adding eye-catching images and embedding videos are quick ways to keep your viewers on the ball.

We’ve put together this article to make it easy for you to embed videos directly into your presentation. You won’t need to navigate away, just click play! Here’s what we’ll cover:

  1. Which version of PowerPoint are you using?
    1. How to embed video in PowerPoint 2010 to 2019
    2. How to embed video in PowerPoint 2007
  2. Common problems with videos in PowerPoint
  3. How to convert and compress videos to make them PowerPoint-compatible
  4. Create PowerPoint-ready videos
  5. Supported video formats, video codecs and audio codecs in all PowerPoint versions

1. Which version of PowerPoint are you using?

The first thing to check is which version of PowerPoint you have installed. As you’d expect, every generation of the program comes with its own advantages and disadvantages when working with video files and supports a different set of video formats, video codecs and audio codecs.

Unsurprisingly, Office 2016 is the most modern and versatile – it allows you to actually embed videos directly in a presentation where the PowerPoint file gets saved with the videos inside, just like images.

This helps to get rid of an issue users encountered over the years – broken linking between a presentation and video files that are saved somewhere else on your computer – a problem all too common in older PowerPoints.

Saving videos inside the file can create a new problem – these files can get very large, which is a nuisance if you want to share them, upload them to a team share or use them on someone else’s computer.

A. How to embed video in PowerPoint 2010 to 2019

PowerPoint 2013, 2016, and 2019 are all compatible with most video formats, especially MP4, while WMV is recommended for PowerPoint 2010. But all four versions can embed videos directly into slides, so don’t worry if you don’t have the newest make.

You can either drag and drop your video onto a slide or click “Insert” in the ribbon, then on “Video” to select video files from your hard drive. Embedded videos can be played straight away.

embed-videos-powerpoint-2010

 However, PowerPoint 2016 can’t handle all video formats due to unrecognized codecs. If you’re having this problem look at our troubleshooting tips below.

powerpoint-video-filesize

Adding videos to your PowerPoint presentation can also cause the file size to balloon.

In our example, the original slideshow with six embedded videos had a file size of roughly 1 GB. You can compress videos online using Clipchamp Utilities. Have a look at the example below to see how we reduced that file size to 622 MB, a saving of around 40%.

By converting to a ‘safe’ file type like MP4, you’ll also ensure your embedded videos are playable on all devices and in other versions of PowerPoint.

videos-powerpoint-convert

You can also compress using Clipchamp’s “Mobile” output setting. In this case, doing so brought the total file size down to 507 MB, around 50% of the original size.

B. How to embed video in PowerPoint 2007

If you’re using Powerpoint 2007, things will look a little different. Here’s how you can embed videos in your PowerPoint presentation using the 2007 version:

To add a video, click on Insert, and then Movie in the ribbon

videos-powerpoint-insert-movie

Select a movie file from your computer

videos-powerpoint-insert

If the video is in a recognized format, this is how it will appear in your presentation

video-powerpoint-clipchamp

2. Common problems with videos in PowerPoint

Generally, these are the most common problems people run into:

  • Videos get displayed as a thumbnail on a slide but then don’t play during the presentation due to broken links
  • PowerPoint doesn’t recognize the video format, video codec or audio codec of your movie clip
  • Videos show an error and can’t be inserted into your slides at all. Older versions like PowerPoint 2003 or 2007 suffer from this, exotic video formats can be another reason.
  • Presentation files get very large when videos are embedded and are difficult to share, upload and use
  • YouTube videos that are linked to from a slide can’t get played due to loss of internet connectivity or the video owner deleted it

Especially if you’re using an older operating system (Windows Vista, Windows 7) and/or an older Office version (2007, 2010), missing codecs can be an all too familiar occurrence.

If a video or audio codec is not installed on your computer or is not supported by your version of PowerPoint, the video file you’d like to use just won’t work – users of QuickTime and PowerPoint 2010 or 2013 know this very well.

How to solve these problems

In order to overcome these issues and minimize the risks associated with them, the 2 most important points to consider are:

  1. Smaller video files are always easier to handle so it’s a good idea to compress them before you embed or link to them.
  2. Videos should be in a format that PowerPoint recognizes without any hiccups, thus converting them to either WMV/ASF or MP4 will help.

convert-video-powerpoint

Making files smaller and changing them into a PowerPoint-compatible format will reduce possible errors and unplayable clips. You still have to make sure that videos you link to from inside a presentation are available in their original folder and also rather link to a local version than a copy on YouTube in case of internet connection problems.

It’s actually safest to copy all videos you want to use into the same folder on your device that the ppt or pptx file is in and treat the whole package as one archive to ensure they always stay together.

3. How to convert & compress videos to make them PowerPoint-compatible

You can achieve both objectives mentioned above by processing your videos in Clipchamp’s online video converter and compressor.

All videos you process in Clipchamp remain private and secure. Despite being a totally online app, Clipchamp works on files directly on your computer, so you don’t need to upload anything directly to the site.

videos-powerpoint-convert-compress

Your files don’t get uploaded to any servers outside of your control and are available on your computer as soon as Clipchamp has finished converting & compressing them, ready to add to PowerPoint instantly.

For older versions up to PowerPoint 2007, it’s best to convert videos into a Microsoft proprietary codec such as WMV using the .ASF container format. Videos converted this way will also work on older computers running Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7. Please note that ASF files can be larger than the original video so you might not be able to reduce your presentation’s overall file size with ASF.

For PowerPoint 2010, you can either convert your video to WMV/ASF or to MP4. However in the latter case you also need to have Apple QuickTime installed on your computer and might still run into problems with QuickTime encoded videos unless you convert them to MP4 with Clipchamp.

Things get a bit easier with PowerPoint 2013 and 2016 where the preferred video format is MP4. However, the video and audio codecs in the MP4 container should be H.264 and AAC for the video to work reliably.

Converting the video to WMV will also work and PowerPoint 2016 accepts a wider range of video formats than any of its predecessors. Though MP4 is still the most versatile option and compressed MP4 will help with reducing the presentation’s size if you embed videos directly.

4. Create PowerPoint-ready videos

In order to create a movie file that is guaranteed to work in any PowerPoint version for Windows, convert your original video using the “Windows” output option on clipchamp.com.

This will result in a file in the .ASF format where the video is encoded using WMV and the audio is encoded using WMA. Note that these videos might not work in some PowerPoint versions on Mac.

videos-powerpoint-create

For newer versions of PowerPoint (2013, 2016) on both Windows and Mac, convert your videos using the “Web” output option on Clipchamp, which will produce MP4 video files. To get even smaller videos, use the “Mobile” output option.

videos-powerpoint-newer-version

5. Supported video formats, video codecs and audio codecs in all PowerPoint versions

To conclude, this overview table shows all supported video and audio file formats for each PowerPoint version for Windows over the years.

If your clip is in one of the formats listed in the table, there’s a high chance that it’ll work fine in PowerPoint 2007 up to 2016. Nevertheless, compressing & converting your videos as mentioned above will allow you to use them more easily.

PowerPoint Version Video File Formats Audio File Formats
2019
  • Windows Video (.asf),
  • Windows Video (.avi),
  • MP4 Video (.mp4, .m4v, .mov),
  • Movie (.mpg or .mpeg),
  • Adobe Flash (.swf),
  • Windows Media Video File (.wmv)
  • AIFF Audio (.aiff),
  • AU Audio (.au),
  • MIDI (.mid or .midi),
  • MP3 (.mp3),
  • Advanced Audio Coding – MPEG-4 Audio File (.m4a, .mp4),
  • Windows Audio (.wav),
  • Windows Media Audio (.wma)
2016
  • Windows Video (.asf),
  • Windows Video (.avi),
  • MP4 Video (.mp4, .m4v, .mov),
  • Movie (.mpg or .mpeg),
  • Adobe Flash (.swf),
  • Windows Media Video File (.wmv)
  • AIFF Audio (.aiff),
  • AU Audio (.au),
  • MIDI (.mid or .midi),
  • MP3 (.mp3),
  • Advanced Audio Coding – MPEG-4 Audio File (.m4a, .mp4),
  • Windows Audio (.wav),
  • Windows Media Audio (.wma)
2013
  • Windows Media (.asf),
  • Windows Video (.avi),
  • MP4 Video (.mp4, .m4v, .mov),
  • Movie (.mpg or .mpeg),
  • Adobe Flash (.swf),
  • Windows Media Video (.wmv)
  • AIFF Audio (.aiff),
  • AU Audio (.au),
  • MIDI (.mid or .midi),
  • MP3 (.mp3),
  • Advanced Audio Coding – MPEG-4 (.m4a, .mp4),
  • Windows Audio (.wav),
  • Windows Media Audio (.wma)
2010
  • Adobe Flash Media (.swf),
  • Windows Media (.asf),
  • Windows Video (.avi),
  • Movie (.mpg or .mpeg),
  • Windows Media Video (.wmv)
  • AIFF Audio (.aiff),
  • AU Audio (.au),
  • MIDI (.mid or .midi),
  • MP3 (.mp3),
  • Windows Audio (.wav),
  • Windows Media Audio (.wma)
2007
  • Windows Media (.asf),
  • Windows Video (.avi),
  • Movie (.mpg or .mpeg),
  • Windows Media Video (.wmv)
  • AIFF Audio (.aiff),
  • AU Audio (.au),
  • MIDI (.mid or .midi),
  • MP3 (.mp3),
  • Windows Audio (.wav),
  • Windows Media Audio (.wma)
2003 PowerPoint itself doesn’t play video files, Microsoft proprietary formats are required, Windows Media Player and DirectX need to be installed PowerPoint itself doesn’t play audio files, Microsoft proprietary formats are required, Windows Media Player and DirectX need to be installed

 


Please note that if you’re on a Mac, it’s best to convert videos to MP4 where the video and audio are H.264 and AAC encoded. Clipchamp offers a number of suitable output presets under Mobile or Web. You can also convert a video to WMV on your Mac.

Even though newer Office versions can handle video much better than their predecessors, movie files bring inherent challenges with them that Clipchamp is able to help with, such as getting them in the right format, using the right video & audio codecs and reducing their file size.


Further reading