How to Embed YouTube Video in PowerPoint 2013


Regular users of PowerPoint have by now noticed that the tool adding YouTube embed code to a PowerPoint 2013 (and 2010) slide has disappeared.  It is no longer possible to simply grab the code, click Insert > Video > Online Video, and paste it in.  The why of it is a bit mysterious, but the trouble started when Google updated their YouTube API from ver. 2 to 3, and only became worse over time as Google and Microsoft have had public disagreements. Whatever the causes, the tool that stopped working in PowerPoint has now, with the latest Office updates, been removed.  Unfortunately, this is still the number one thing that most people, at least in an academic setting, want to do in PowerPoint.  So here is the fix:  There is an old fashioned way that still works to get the YouTube player embedded on a PowrPoint slide.  It’s a bit complex, but if you want to do it badly enough, here is the way.

First, modify the ribbon to add the Developer tab.  (I may have lost a good deal of my audience at the mention of “modify the ribbon” but if you are still with me…)  Open a presentation and click the File tab.  Click on Options, then Customize Ribbon.  Place a check next to Developer in the main tabs box, and then return to normal view.  You will now have a DEVELOPER tab on the ribbon.

Add Developer Tab

On the Developer tab click the More Controls command in the Controls group.

More Controls

Scroll down the More Controls dialog box and select Shockwave Flash Object, then click OK.

Shockwave Flash Object

The dominant way, to this day, of playing a YouTube video is as a Flash file so be sure the Flash player is installed on the computer you will be using to present, as it almost certainly will be.

Once you click OK in the dialog box illustrated above, your cursor will turn to a cross-hair.  Hold down the mouse button and draw a rectangle.  When you release the mouse button the rectangle will appear with an X in it.

Before we proceed, the question naturally arises, how large a rectangle should be drawn?  What dimensions will accomodate the video without distortion?

Generally (especially if you are in a hurry) any approximately 16:9 aspect ratio box will work, and the video will scale to fit, unless it is just too small.  If it is drawn too small in one dimension, however, the video may be clipped.  Here is what I do to guarantee the proper dimensions.

Draw the rectangle then, with it selected click the Drawing Tools tab.  Using the Size command size the rectangle to an exact 16:9 aspect ratio.  Since I use a high resolution screen, my slide sizes are by default 13.33″ x 7.5″, also a 16:9 perspective (the new default in PowerPoint 2013).  I want the video to look inserted on the slide, rather than being full-slide size, so I make my size 10″ x 5.63 inches, another 16:9 perspective.  It is easy to go from pixels to inches by using a converter like Pixelyzer, and to make sure I am using 16:9 a  calculator like the 16:9 Aspect Ratio calculator.  Of course these numbers may vary depending on your own screen resolution, default slide sizes, and aspect ratio of the video, though the default YouTube player will always be a 16:9 rectangle, with controls, even when the video was originally recorded as an old 4:3 standard.  As I say, these technicalities are only for those who really care about rendering the video in exactly the correct aspect ratio.  A rough and ready rectangle will work fine as long as it is not too large or small.  To make this easy for future embeds, I have created a piece of artwork with a 16:9 target for drawing my Flash Objects, and insert it on the slide prior to the video.


Once you create a template like this, with the correct sized rectangle in its correct aspect ratio, all you need to do is draw your rectangle to match the one in the template.

In any event, the next step is to get the URL for the video you want to embed from the YouTube site.  Do not use the Share URL, but get the URL from the address bar.

Copy that URL, then right click the X in the rectangle you have drawn for the Shockwave Flash Object.  Select Property Sheet from the context menu.

Property Sheet

In the resulting Properties dialog, click in the blank field next to Movie, and paste in the URL from the YouTube address bar.  It will look something like this:

Pasted Address

Now, here is the trick to getting it to work.  Delete from this address the word “watch” followed by the question mark.  Leave the “v”.  Delete the “=” and replace it with a slash (/) so that the address looks like this:

Modified Address

Then close the Properties box.  That’s it.

To recap, change like this:


To see the video play you will have to go to slide show view (or the new reading view).  You may have to click the object, and go back and forth between reading and normal view a couple of times to see it size correctly, but it will.  Now you have an embedded YouTube video in the fully functional (except for the full screen control) YouTube player.

Why Not Just Download the Video?

I can hear it now.  That’s a lot of work.  Why not just download the video from YouTube, or capture it with a program like Camtasia, and then insert it the normal way as a file on your PowerPoint slide?

Because it is a violation of the YouTube terms of use to do so.  I suppose most people do not read the terms of use, but they explicitly say:

“By using or visiting the YouTube website or any YouTube products, software, data feeds, and services provided to you on, from, or through the YouTube website (collectively the “Service”) you signify your agreement to (1) these terms and conditions…” (Sec. 1A)


“You agree not to distribute in any medium any part of the Service or the Content without YouTube’s prior written authorization, unless YouTube makes available the means for such distribution through functionality offered by the Service (such as the Embeddable Player).” (Sec. 4A)

and finally,

“You may access Content for your information and personal use solely as intended through the provided functionality of the Service and as permitted under these Terms of Service. You shall not download any Content unless you see a “download” or similar link displayed by YouTube on the Service for that Content.” (Sec. 5B).

The Terms are at

Now, I know there a bunches of browser helper apps that make downloading YouTube videos easy, and simply capturing the video in Camtasia is just a bit more work, but since you have already agreed not to do so, I think you should stick with the agreement, or else write to Google to obtain permission, as the Terms suggest.

So even though Microsoft and Google are having their difficulties, and in effect disabling parts of their products that use the other company’s technologies, there is still a workaround that will work while remaining legal, since you are embedding the full YouTube player on your PowerPoint slide.  If this strikes you as just too much work to achieve the desired end, then you can always simply link out from the slide to the YouTube page by using the Insert > Hyperlink tool.