Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text.
If you've mastered how to upload a video to YouTube — or just have a favorite YouTube video — and now want to showcase it in a relevant business presentation, I highly recommend doing so. Video is proven to be more engaging, effective, and memorable than any other medium.
So if you’re about to give a presentation on the job and you’re worried about retaining the audience’s attention, consider including a relevant video.
How to embed a YouTube video in PowerPoint
Navigate to PowerPoint slide
Copy the YouTube video link that you wish to add
On the Insert tab in PowerPoint, click Movie, then Online Movie. Paste the link and insert
Format the video using the Video Format and Playback tabs
If you’re presenting on PowerPoint, adding a video may not feel intuitive. In fact, it can quickly become frustrating. This should not be keeping you up the night before the presentation. I’ll guide you through the steps so you can focus on more important things — like perfecting the message you want to get across — before the big day.
This article demonstrates how to embed YouTube videos in PowerPoint. Keep reading to learn how with a url or embed code, or jump ahead for the offline method, how to embed a video from your files.
How to embed a YouTube video in PowerPoint
There are two ways to add a video to PowerPoint: embedding it from YouTube or inserting a video file from your computer. I’ll go over each of these and how you can edit your video to make it as attractive and seamless as possible.
Tip: YouTube is the only platform that PowerPoint supports for embedding videos. Vimeo, for example, cannot be embedded into PowerPoint presentations. Jump ahead for steps on how to download and embed both YouTube and non-YouTube videos from your files.
Keep in mind that if you use the following method, you will have to be online when you give your presentation, otherwise the video will not play.
1. Navigate to PowerPoint slide
Decide which slide you want to feature your video. Let that slide be dedicated solely to the video itself. If you try to add a lot of text to the slide, it may become overwhelming. However, it is wise to continue using the same background or color scheme throughout the presentation.
2. Choose the YouTube video
Now, open up YouTube. Navigate to the video you wish to include. Once on that video’s page, copy the URL at the top of the browser.
3. Embed the YouTube video in PowerPoint
Back in PowerPoint, go to the Insert menu. It is situated right next to Home at the top of your screen. Next, go to Video (or Movie, depending on if you have a Mac or PC) and click it. In that drop-down menu, select Online Movie.
From there a window will pop up asking that you enter the URL for the online video. So go ahead and do so! Paste the URL you just copied into the empty field and then hit Insert.
Tip: You can also use the video's embed code instead of URL for the same results.
That window will disappear and your video will appear on the PowerPoint slide.
4. Format YouTube video in PowerPoint
Once embedded, you should have a new tab on the menu banner available to you — the Video Format tab. Here, you’ll find a variety of editing options available to you.
You can choose from a wide range of borders and special effects. You can also crop and resize the video.
If you click Format Pane on the right, a sidebar will pop open. This can help make some of these editing options more easily accessible. You can choose for yourself which way you’d like to work.
If you go to the Playback tab, located to the right of the Video Format tab, you can see additional editing options. This Playback tab is most likely where you’ll make the majority of your changes.
Here you can trim the video, decide at what time you’d like to it to fade in or out, and you can play with the volume. But the editing features don’t stop there! My favorite options are choosing how to start the video, and whether or not the video plays full screen or remains the same size.
Tip: You cannot change the poster frame, or thumbnail, when embedding a YouTube video. The only exception is if you created the video yourself, in which case you can go into your YouTube account and change the picture. Make sure you follow the Youtube thumbnail size requirements!
I’ll walk you through each of the above options now.
How to start a video at a certain time
In the Playback tab, look toward the middle of the banner where it says Start. You’ll notice a drop-down menu is available. In Click Sequence is automatically selected for you, which means the video will begin playing as you continue hitting enter or clicking to advance the presentation. If you want to change that, hit the drop-down menu and select your start preference.
Personally, I like to select When Clicked On because then I have full authority over when the video plays. In Click Sequence is fine, too, but if you accidentally hit Enter too many times during your presentation it might start playing before you are ready.
Another reason I prefer When Clicked On is so I can pause and take a moment to introduce the concept surrounding the video before playing it. That way your audience knows exactly what and why they’re about to watch it.
How to play a video full screen
If you want your video to take up the entire screen when it plays, check the box located below the Start drop-down menu. It is intuitively named Play Full Screen.
How to embed videos into PowerPoint from your files
If you want to add a video that is saved to your computer, it’s easy to do so. The good news with these is the internet connection will not impact video quality during your presentation.
Tip: You can download YouTube or Vimeo videos at your own discretion, just make sure you adhere to copyright laws.
1. Navigate to your PowerPoint slide
Again, choose the slide you want to present the video on. Just like when we embedded the video, I highly recommend either having no text on the slide or only including an accompanying headline. Let the video breathe a little and be the center of attention. It just looks like a cleaner design this way!
2. Select your video
From your slide, click Insert. It is the second tab on your menu banner right next to Home. A new banner will open up revealing all the Insert options. Go all the way to the right and click on Video. In that drop-down menu, select Movie from File.
From there, a new “Choose a Movie” window will appear giving you access to all the files on your computer. Find and select the video you want to include in your PowerPoint presentation.
3. Insert the video into PowerPoint
Double click on the video or click Insert in the bottom right corner. The window should disappear and your video should appear within PowerPoint. Most likely, it has taken over the entire slide and looks overwhelming. Fortunately, you can edit it to look how you want!
4. Format video
Now that the video is in your PowerPoint, you can play around with the formatting of it. You’ll automatically be directed to a new tab on the menu banner called Video Format.
On the right of your screen, if you click Format Pane an editing sidebar will appear.
You can edit the brightness of the video, crop it, add a border, and change the size of it there. Change the size of the video simply by dragging the corners until you’re satisfied.
Once you’re comfortable with how the video looks, you can navigate to the Playback tab. There you can choose when and how the video starts during your presentation. My personal preference is for it to start when I click on it specifically.
To do this, navigate to where it says Start in the middle of the banner.
Use the drop-down menu next to it. You’ll notice In Click Sequence is automatically selected. That means the video will start when you hit enter or click the screen to advance the presentation. If you don’t mind that, go ahead and keep it!
If you’re nervous about public speaking and/or this presentation has high stakes, you might let your nerves get the best of you and hit Enter too many times. I know I’ve done this before. When it happens, you have to apologize and rewind the video to the beginning again. Awkard.
Since I prefer having more control, I’m going to select When Clicked On from that drop-down menu. That way the video only starts when I specifically click on the Play button within the PowerPoint slide.
How to play a video full screen
Right below that menu is a checkbox with the words Play Full Screen. Not surprisingly, if you want your video to become full-screen when you play it, you should check that box.
How to change the poster frame
After embedding your video, one still image from the video will appear as the “poster frame.” This is the image that represents the video until you hit play. If you aren’t happy with the image that was automatically loaded, you can change it to something more exciting!
Tip: This only works for videos you insert from a computer file. It will not work for YouTube videos that you embed.
Hit play on the video in PowerPoint. Allow it to play until you find a frame you want to use. Pause it on that frame.
Now go to the Video Format tab. Select Poster Frame. A drop-down menu will appear. From there, hit Current Frame.
Now when you navigate to that slide, the image you picked should be the new poster frame.
Your presentation now has a video!
See, embedding a video from YouTube or your files is not nearly as time-consuming as you thought! Now you can move on and focus on the big picture of your PowerPoint, not worry over minuscule details.
Holly is a manager on the content marketing team. An avid reader and writer, Holly graduated from the University of Missouri with a dual major in Journalism and English. She firmly believes in the power of content and is constantly seeking ways to better engage and delight readers.