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Adding Video to Your PowerPoint Presentation

This article applies only to PowerPoint 2002 and above on Windows XP.

Adding video to a PowerPoint presentation can add a new level of style and profession to your slide show. In the following article, we will guide you through various mean of inserting movies. How you'd like your video to be displayed or controlled will determine which one of the following methods is best suited for you.

Inserting Video

Using the 'Insert Movie' function is the most common method of adding video into PowerPoint. This method allows you to insert the following video formats:

  • AVI
  • MOV (older versions only)
  • MPG
  • WMV
  • ASF

Much control is given over the size, appearance and timing of the video in PowerPoint. This makes the 'Insert Movie' method ideal for customizing a movie to match similar settings and layouts in your PowerPoint Presentation.

How to add a video using the 'Insert Movie' function:

  1. Locate the slide where you would like to insert a video.
  2. Click "Insert > Movies and Sounds > Movie from File..." and choose the desired video file.
  3. Select whether or not you would like the video to play automatically or when clicked by the user when PowerPoint asks you.

Unless you have a reason for the video to play only when clicked by the user, it's best to select "Yes" for this behavior. You can always change this behavior among others down the road in the 'Custom Animation' options.

To modify the behavior for an inserted video to play automatically, do the following:

  1. Select the movie and go to "Slide Show > Custom Animation".
  2. Press the tab pointing down located next to the name of the movie file in the Custom Animation Box and select 'Timing' from the pull-down.
  3. Next, choose 'After Previous' from the 'Start' pull-down and type 0 in the 'Delay' field. Press 'OK'.

Resizing Video:

Movies may be resized after being inserted into a PPT presentation. If selected, eight small circles appear around the outside of the movie-box. You can resize the movie using these "handles" three different ways:

  • Click, hold and drag the corner handles to resize the movie proportionately
  • Click, hold and drag the side, top and bottom handles to resize without preserving proportions
  • Click, hold and drag handle while pressing the Ctrl and Shift keys to resize movie starting from center


If the movie you would like to insert does not already fade in before it starts playing, you have the opportunity to do so with PowerPoint. A Fade-in is an effective way to clearly and peacefully introduce your video while avoiding abrupt beginnings. Fading-in a video in PowerPoint is quick and easy:

  1. Bring up the "Custom Animation" options by right-clicking the video and selecting "Custom Animation"
  2. Pull-down the "Add Effects" tab (star icon), and choose "Entrance > Fade". If you cannot see "Fade" as an Entrance option, choose "More Effects" instead. Once the "Add Entrance Effect" dialog box pops up, choose "Fade" under the Subtle options and click "OK".
  3. PowerPoint automatically selects "On Click" as the start option. To have the video fade in-and play immediately, choose "With Previous".
  4. To change the speed of the fade-in from the default (medium), click the "Speed" tab and choose a desired speed (i.e. Very Fast).

Linking Videos from Text, Graphics, etc.

For video formats which cannot be included in your presentation using the 'Insert Video" function (such as QuckTime and RealVideo), linking a video from a hyperlink or graphic can be just as an effective alternative.

How to link a video from text, an Action button, inserted picture or AutoShape:

  1. Right-click the text, graphic or object which you would like to link the video from and click "Action Settings..."
  2. In the "Action Settings" dialog box, choose the "Hyperlink to" radio button and select "Other File" from the drop-down list
  3. Use the file browser to navigate to the video you would like to use and click "OK"

When you view your slide show presentation, clicking the object that you assigned the Action Setting to will open the associated media player. For instance, clicking text linked to a QuickTime movie will open the QuickTime player on top of PowerPoint and play. No matter which video format is chosen, when linking to a file, the player must be closed separate of PowerPoint.

Note: You may use this feature to open file types other than videos from within PowerPoint.

Play Video with Controller (Video Objects)

If you would like to include a controller with the video displayed within your PowerPoint slide show, the Insert Video Object is the way to go. This way the user has much more control over the playback of the movie (play, pause, stop, rewind, fast-forward, etc.).

How to Insert a Video Object in a PowerPoint Slide:

  1. Click "Insert > Object..."
  2. Once the "Insert Object" dialog box pops up, select "Create new" (which already should be by default) and scroll down to "Windows Media Player" in the object type. Press "OK"
  3. You will now see a Windows Media Player Object placed inside the slide. To set the necessary settings including which video file to play, right click the Object and click "Properties"
  4. After the Properties options box pops up, click the field next to "(Custom)" and press the button with the three dotted lines
  5. Under the "General" tab, click "Browse" located in the "Source" section to locate the video that you would like to play.

    Note: PowerPoint's Windows Media Player Object properties allows you to set various settings that effect the video's playback including auto start, volume levels and full screen mode.
  6. You may resize and reposition the video either by clicking and dragging the object in the slide, or by manually typing in the coordinate in the properties window

Movies inserted using the video object feature will not play on PowerPoint:mac versions.

Linking Problems with PowerPoint

When a movie or movie object is inserted into PowerPoint, it is externally linked to the presentation instead of embedded. The reasoning is to prevent overly-large file sizes. This decreases the chances of the slide show being severely bogged down as well as to keep loading times to a minimum.

PowerPoint's linking method does propose a bothersome problem: If you relocate your presentation to another computer, PowerPoint will most likely not retain the movie link resulting in no video playback within the slide show. You won't even have the option of locating the video for PowerPoint.

To prevent this dilemma, place all the video files you would like to include in the same folder as the PPT presentation (do this before you insert the video). Make sure you save the PowerPoint presentation at least once before inserting the videos. Now when you move the presentation, relocate the entire folder and PowerPoint should remember the movie's link location.