Last updated: October 14, 2019

As you may have already discovered, the Microsoft Outlook application (versions including 2007, 2010, 2013 and above) does not support embedding video in emails.

Along with many other providers, Microsoft decided to discontinue video support in email due to an increasing number of viruses and malware being found in these kinds of files. But including video content with your marketing emails is a great idea, as video is a powerful digital tool.

Luckily, you can still embed videos in Outlook Live and there are some simple workarounds for the desktop app too. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  1. Embedding videos in Outlook Live emails
  2. Embed a video in Outlook emails by linking it to a picture
  3. Add video to Outlook emails by inserting it as an attachment
  4. Embedding videos in Outlook emails using HTML5

1. Embedding videos in Outlook Live emails

If you’re using the online version of Outlook – rather than the desktop app – then embedding emails is very easy:

Step 1: First, you’ll need to go to YouTube and copy the link to the video you want to share. If it’s a video you’ve created, you’ll need to optimize it for YouTube and upload it to the site.

Step 2: Next, create a new message and paste the link into the body of the email. You’ll see a preview of the video pop up under the link:

Video preview on Outlook Live

Step 3: Now you can delete the link and write your message – the preview will remain:

Delete video URL

Step 4: Once your email is sent, the recipient can click the link and watch the video without having to open a new window:

Watch video on Outlook

In the Outlook phone app the video will open in the YouTube app.

2. Embed a video in Outlook emails by linking it to a picture

If you’re using the Outlook desktop application, pasting the YouTube link won’t work. But as suggested in this article, you can embed YouTube videos into Outlook emails as follows:

Step 1: Take a screenshot of your video and embed the image in the body of your email.

Step 2: Link it to the video hosted on YouTube (see below for a tip of how to get your videos onto YouTube faster).

Step 3: When viewers click on the picture, it will allow them to view the video by opening it in a new browser window.

Link to a picture

You can even add a play button over the center of the image using Photoshop or a similar program to make clicking the video more obvious.

We recommend linking to a video hosted on YouTube as there’s a better chance Outlook will allow the image to be displayed automatically, over one that links to a video on other sites.

You should also use a call to action as your ALT image attribute for people who have their email images turned off.

3. Add video to Outlook emails by inserting it as an attachment

You can also add videos to Outlook emails as an attachment. While doing so, you might run into Outlook’s maximum attachment file size restrictions (20 MB) as some video files are too big to send via email attachment.

The way to get around this, which works for many video files, is to compress them before adding them to your email. This can reduce the video’s size to get it below 20 MB.

Using Clipchamp’s free online video compressor and online video converter to compress and convert your video files to MP4 will enable you to attach them to your Outlook email.

Attach video to email

After signing in to the app in your browser – you can create a free account and process up to 5 videos for free per month – simply select your input video, then choose Optimize for Mobile, MP4, Medium or Low quality and a resolution of 240p, 360p or 480p on the screen where you can optimize your file to compress your video sufficiently to embed as an email attachment.

Optimize for mobile on Clipchamp

After processing is finished, you’ll see the file size of the output video on Clipchamp’s “Save & Share” screen. If the output video is still too large then you can try a different set of compression settings by clicking on “Compress another file” without saving the first output video.

If the output file is small enough, save it to your computer, then attach it to your email just like you would with any other file attachment. This way recipients of your email can open the video and watch it right away.

Successful compression

Thanks to Clipchamp’s free online MP4 converter, which is part of the compression process, your videos will be able to be played back on any modern computer, tablet and smartphone.

Please note that some videos, especially those with higher resolutions, higher frame rates and those of longer duration, might be too large to get their file size below 20 MB.

To get these kinds of videos into email, we recommend to upload them to YouTube and to link to the YouTube video from your email as described in 1) above. However even for videos you add to emails this way, compressing them will help as smaller videos will upload to YouTube much faster.

4. Embedding videos in Outlook emails using HTML5

If you have a knack with HTML5 you can add code to your email that will embed your video along with a preview image of your choice.

Just look through the code and replace the preset titles, video, and image with you own. For example, in the following set of tags, you would update the text between the title tags to suit the content of your email:

<!doctype html>
<html>
<head>
<title>Video in Email Test</title>

Depending on the device and email server you’re using the exact code needed is a little different. There are also fallback codes for cases where recipients email servers or devices don’t allow for HTML5 embedding. If you’re having any issues, check out this article for more information.