Video in PowerPoint: How (and How Not) to Include It.

videoinpowerpointAmong the possibilities to enhance your PowerPoint presentations, including video in your slides is one that’s easy to implement. And when used tastefully, it’s also one that can be very effective. But before you go nuts loading up on the video files, remember that this element alone will not make a stellar presentation. You need to choose the video content and method for including it wisely. If you’re not thoughtful about how you go about this, you might end up with a hefty file that’s hard to share and work with.

So with that said, this guide will give you the basics on adding video to your slides as well as a few pointers to help you avoid pitfalls and make the element work in your favor. Beyond that, if you want to learn some strategies on making exceptional PowerPoint presentations, you might consider taking an online course in applying good design practices in Microsoft PowerPoint.

Embedding a video file from your computer

If you have a video file stored on your PC that you want to include in your presentation, the method for inserting it is pretty straightforward.

1. In the normal view, select the location on your slide where you want the video to go, click on the insert tab.

2. In the media group at the right, you will see audio and video options. Click on video.

3. A file browser will come up. Use it to locate your video file. When you have it, click on it and then click insert.

Simple enough. But remember that this method has its pros and cons.  On the plus side, it will play your video directly within the presentation. However, it will also add to the file size by including the video data within your presentation file. So if you planned on plugging in a five minute video file, understand that your file will end up being huge.

Ultimately, it’s a method that is best used for short clips that won’t take up too much space.

Embedding a GIF

Another option you have for short video content is to embed GIF files. Even if you are unfamiliar with this filetype, you have likely seen them on popular web sites, where they are often used to express a reaction or emotion visually.

If you are a fan of this style, you may be excited to learn that GIFs are very easy to work with in PowerPoint.

Even though this is an animated file type, you will treat it as an image when you place it in your document.

1. Click on the location in your slide where the GIF should go.

2. Click on the insert tab, and select Picture from the Images group.

3. Locate your file and highlight it by clicking on it. Then click insert.

Keep in mind that GIFs can also increase the size of your presentation, particularly if you are using several of them. If you plan on sending your presentation through email, you might run in to limitations due to file size restrictions on many email servers.  So use them sparingly.

Additionally, since GIFs will play in a loop, you may not want to include them as part of a slide you’ll be spending a lot of time on. Consider arranging the presentation so they have their own slide, and use them as a way to add some interest between more substantive slides.

If you are additionally interested in the option of making your own animated GIFS, you can learn how to do this in a course covering Adobe Illustrator.

Linking to a file on your computer

Instead of embedding a local file directly in your presentation, you have the option of linking to it, which gives you the advantage of keeping down the file size when you want to include a large file.

However, a drawback is that the presentation will be dependent on that file in order to play the video. That means you will need to have access to the location you specify for the video.  It would therefore not be the best option if you are emailing or sending the document online.

If you want to use this method and you will be presenting using a computer other than your own, you will want to keep all of your data in a folder on removable media, such as an SD card or thumb drive.

Here is how you link to a local video file:

1. As is the case for embedding video, you will click on the insert tab and then click on video

2. In the file browser, point to the file’s location and click on the file to highlight it. Do not click insert

3. Click the downward arrow next to the insert button, and on the menu that comes up, click Link to File.

This method emphasizes the need to be comfortable with how file systems work and how your computer goes about accessing them.  If you feel you might benefit from brushing up these skills, you might consider a course on computer essentials.

Linking to video on a website

Sites that allow you to upload video content, like YouTube and Vimeo, can be a good solution if you are certain you will be internet connected during a presentation. You can link to the file using its embed code and play the video from the site within your presentation.

Here is how that is done:

1. Go to the Web site hosting your video and find its embed code. How you get this code will depend on the site. Here are the directions for YouTube:

a.  Navigate to the page for your video

b.  Click the Share button located beneath the view count.

c. Click Embed.

d. Check the last box on the menu, which says Use old embed code.

e. The embed code will come up in the scrolling text box. That is the text you will want to copy.  Note that, even though this is an embed code, you will be linking the video through the Power point application

Now with your embed code, head back to your PowerPoint presentation to create the link.

2. Go to the insert tab, and select video from the Media group

3. Select Video from Web site

4. In the dialog box that opens up, paste your embed code and click Insert.

You now have the link created and can play your video from the site. If you would like to better understand how to use video sharing sites, including how to upload your content there and even how to use them effectively for marketing, you might start with an online course on becoming a YouTube Rockstar.

You should see now that you have a number of options to insert video in your PowerPoint.  You should also see that there is most likely a right and wrong way to do it, depending on your circumstances. And finally, you should see that relying too heavily on video in this format could run you in to trouble. Find some video that will enhance your presentation, and use the methods here to put it in your presentation in a way that makes sense.