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Embedding YouTube Videos in PowerPoint? Nope!

Perhaps you are preparing to present to your board of directors and found a compelling video to illustrate your point. Or maybe you are readying for a job interview and want to impress your interviewers with a catchy clip that would leave them smiling. Or, you're ramping up an opening keynote for a conference with an anticipated audience of a thousand people and found the sounds of a groovy avant-garde ensemble for energizing the crowd.

Plan A.

You know your stuff. You create a slick slide deck, add the video, and then test it in presenter mode. Bingo. The video plays at the exact moment you expect. You then practice the slide show dozens of times in advance of the big day, nailing the timing and your content precisely during your final runthroughs.

Now, it's game day. You're in the spotlight. You're rockin' the podium. You have your audience fully engaged, nodding heads, leaning forward, inquisitive brows - energized participants anticipating your next move and hanging on to your every word. You're feeling pretty darn good about the presentation and think quietly to yourself, 'wait til they see this video!'

You get to the slide where the video is embedded.


Your audience is staring at a black square on the large screen where the video should be playing.

Your mouth goes dry, your palms sweat, your mind is racing ('but, I practiced this!'), and you panic. Maybe your clicker is busted? Clicker, click, click. Keyboard escape, mouse click back to slide show mode, enter... backspace! Spacebar!! Now your eyes are like saucers facing a sea of blank and empathetic stares, and you're wishing for a magic wand and a hole into which to crawl.

Plan B.

You got this. You skip the video. You tell your audience how fabulous it is, and suggest they find it later on YouTube to experience this wicked-good musical quartet you've discovered.

After the presentation, you return home, test the slide deck, everything works. 

What the....

You're confused, disappointed, and try to raise your spirits by watching and listening to said video on YouTube.

You likely already know that embedding videos into your slide deck the traditional way, from a browser window such as YouTube, requires an internet connection. We sometimes forget though, that that same connection is required to play the video when presenting. You may have wifi at your office or home or wherever else you create and practice your presentations, but that automatic connectivity to which we grow accustomed may not be readily available offsite.

Secure workplaces or schools may have public wifi disabled. The location of your presentation may be remote and has either intermittent or poor internet connectivity in the building. Or, as the guest speaker, you may arrive onsite without the information (or time) required for connecting.

Whatever the situation, running through all possible scenarios during your practice phase and being aware that this hiccup could present itself, allows for planning and mitigation.

Plan C (which could become your Plan A).

Download the video in advance and insert it onto your slide as you would a picture. Boom. No internet connection required after that.

Did that add a bit of swagger back into your presentation skills?

How do you download the video from YouTube and add it to your PowerPoint slide deck? You need a tool. As a Mac user, I found an inexpensive, effective add-on to Firefox that, until recently, was free.* Alternatives? Pop some comments below.



1. Install the Firefox Quantum browser from 


2. In the Firefox browser window, select Add-ons from the Tools menu; the following displays:


3. Click the Find more add-ons button and search for youtube video downloader, then hit Enter or click the grey arrow inside the search box:


4. Click on the Easy Youtube Video Downloader Express (scroll down until you see it in the list): 


5. Click the + Add to Firefox button:



6. Click Add, then OK:




Once Firefox and the downloader software are installed, you're ready to start adding the video files to your slide deck.


Add downloaded YouTube videos to PowerPoint:

1. Head on over to YouTube, in your Firefox browser, and locate the video you want to add to your slide deck. Notice the green button?



2. Click the DOWNLOAD AS: button and select the format (e.g. MP4), then save the file to your hard drive. 

3. Open PowerPoint. Choose Insert from the top menu bar, then choose Movie from File... from the Video dropdown menu:


Easy peezy, lemon squeezy.

Once the video has been inserted onto the slide, it is then up to your creative juices to resize the footprint of the video on the slide's real estate. You can also turn into a super-editor: select the video to activate the Playback menu, within which you can adjust the volume, trim the video, set it to fade in/out, automatically play, or, my favourite, play in full screen when the slide show is in presenter mode.

My plea, play fair.

Give credit where credit is due and check that you have the permission or license to use someone else's material or content legally. Copyright and intellectual property rights do not disappear with the use of these download tools. If videos (or other creative assets, such as pictures) are in the public domain (or fall under Creative Commons), you may only need cite the source of the YouTube video clearly and visibly on the PowerPoint slide (or the previous slide). 

It is advisable to cite your sources, where appropriate and permissible, or create your own intellectual property. It should also be noted that certain rules apply when playing music in your training workshops or events - assume you need a license (e.g. In Canada, you may require a SOCAN license to play music at your event to fairly compensate the artists for the use of their intellectual property). 


So, thinking about a new Plan A to add videos to your presentation and elevate your awesomeness?


Now, about that wicked-good music. I never said my tastes were mainstream (although some of that is okay, too), but DakhaBrakha? At times intimate, others rousing, always outstanding.


-Tisha Parker Kemp


Photo and YouTube video of DakhaBrakha - Torokh: retrieved from KEXP, and recommended by Yours Truly. 


 *Easy YouTube Video Download Express comes at the cost of a one-time 'donation' / activation fee of $10 USD and installs in less than a minute. Please share in the comments if you have alternatives, for Mac or Windows, FREE or otherwise.


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