Layman's Lens

Life is beautiful.

Videos in PowerPoint 2003

with 4 comments

In the UK they like using 'point' to name things. This is a help point. They also have cash points instead of bank machines.

Getting videos to work in PowerPoint on a PC can be frustrating. Here are some things to try if you’re stuck.

The key is your video must in a compatible format (e.g. avi, mpeg, mp4 (also called Quicktime), wmv, mov…) AND it must be compressed with a compatible codec (CoDec – stands for compressor/decompressor e.g. Cinepak, DivX, Xvid, huffyuv, wmv1, wmv2, x264…).

PC users are best off working with avi files that have been encoded using the Cinepak codec by Radius.

What if you’re given a video that doesn’t work in PowerPoint? There are two free tools and one you have to pay for that I’ve found can help convert a video to make it work:

I always try VideoMach first. It lets you save an avi using the Cinepak codec directly. VideoMach can not read mp4 files.

If Videomach can’t read the file, I try Any Video Converter. Export to avi using the wmv1 codec. This mostly works in PowerPoint but is not as nice as a Cinepak avi. A Cinepak avi will play in PowerPoint whether your in ‘slide show’ mode or in the ‘edit’ mode. A wmv1 avi will only play in ‘slide show’ mode. If you want the wmv1 avi to work in edit mode, resave it as a cinepak avi using VideoMach.

Or, if it’s a Quicktime (mp4) movie (from a Mac user let’s say) I’d suggest paying $38 to get Quicktime Pro. You can use it to convert you mp4 to a Cinepak avi. Any Video Converter works too, but with the limitation that you’ll have to use the wmv1 codec.

Note 1: Just because a video plays in Windows Media Player does not mean it will work in PowerPoint. PowerPoint hands videos off to Windows to play. Windows uses something called the Multimedia Control Interface for playback. It does not use Windows Media Player.

Note 2: Here’s a good reference for more info.

Note 3: There are probably a million other ways to make videos work in PowerPoint. These are just the quickest and easiest methods to the most common issues I’ve come across.


Written by Tilak Dutta

May 13, 2010 at 10:31 am

Posted in PowerPoint, Video

4 Responses

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  1. As an FYI, the Excel equivalent is named "Calc".


    May 17, 2010 at 1:57 pm

  2. Hi Tilak,Thank you for the very useful post. Regarding the movies and PowerPoint, I just wanted to add I never faced any problem in inserting Movie files in OpenOffice-Presentation. Today, I just double checked again; I created a slide with an MPEG2 file (downloaded from the lab's SONY camcorder) embedded in PowerPoint and inserted the same clip in OpenOffice-Presentation in my Linux box. Unlike PowerPoint , OpenOffice presentation did play the clip! I assume openoffice will perform well in Windows, too. I would suggest try using Openoffice tools as a free and maybe better alternative to Microsoft Office tool. In some cases, I even like OpenOffice spreadsheet better than Excel.


    May 14, 2010 at 3:16 pm

  3. No shortage of photos. But I thought I'd add in the odd thing I come across that I wish someone had told me sooner. So, yes – wider scope for the blog.


    May 13, 2010 at 3:49 pm

  4. Is the scope of this blog changing? Are you running out of photos Tilak?


    May 13, 2010 at 3:26 pm

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