Some time ago we published a post about getting videos to embed and play in PowerPoint. Since then, Microsoft released new Office versions for Windows and Mac so here’s an updated post that includes the latest information of how to add videos to all PowerPoint versions up to 2016.
As you’d suspect, 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 pptx 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.
However, saving videos inside the pptx 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.
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 recognise 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 minimise the risks associated with them, the 2 most important points to consider are:
- Smaller video files are always easier to handle so it’s a good idea to compress them before you embed or link to them.
- Videos should be in a format that PowerPoint recognizes without any hiccups, thus converting them to either WMV/ASF or MP4 will help.
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.
How to convert & compress videos to make them PowerPoint-compatible
You can achieve both objectives mentioned above by processing your videos in a video converter and video compressor such as the one we offer at clipchamp.com. All videos you process in Clipchamp remain private and secure as the app uses your browser on your own computer as the platform to run on – a bit like a hybrid between installable software and an online application.
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.
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.
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.
How to embed video in PowerPoint 2016
Here is an example using PowerPoint 2016. This latest Microsoft Office version accepts more video formats – we tested MP4, MKV, M4V, MOV, WMV and AVI files – and videos can also get embedded directly into a slideshow like photos.
Just drag & drop the videos onto the slide or click on “Insert” in the ribbon, then on “Video” to add files. Embedded videos can be played straight away.
However, even PowerPoint 2016 can’t handle some video formats due to unrecognized codecs. As suggested before, converting these files with Clipchamp will help.
In addition, depending on how many and what types of videos you add, the pptx can get very large.
In our example, the original slideshow with 6 embedded videos had a file size of roughly 1 GB. After clipchamping the videos and turning them into MP4s using our app’s default “Web” output option, the file size of the presentation went down to 622 MB, a saving of approx. 40%.
As an added benefit, the slides and videos were now playable on any device without issues. This is the case even if you share the presentation and open it in different Office versions.
Going 1 step further and compressing the videos with Clipchamp’s “Mobile” output setting, the total file size went down further to 507 MB, roughly 50% of the original size.
How to embed video in PowerPoint 2007
As the screens and sequence of steps to go through are slightly different depending on the PowerPoint version you are using, here is a 2nd example that uses PowerPoint 2007.
To add a video, click on Insert, and then Movie in the ribbon
Select a movie file from your computer
If the video is in a recognized format, this is how it will appear in your presentation
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|
|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.