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.

Student Use of Video Everywhere in Blackboard


I just got off the phone with a faculty member who was planning to have students use the Video Everywhere tool. If you don’t recall, that’s the simple tool embedded in the Content Editor in Blackboard that allows for easy recording of video from a webcam or embedding YouTube videos into the course. The tool is available for student use in tools like the Discussion Board, so this professor was going to have students record their presentations and grant access to their fellow students that way.

I’m certain the attempt will go off well, as all the Video Everywhere tool truly does is leverage the technology developed by YouTube, and YouTube just… works. That’s the beauty of it. However this professor did have one concern, that of the comfort level of students on posting a video to YouTube. Perhaps some will not want to have video of themselves out on the Internet for all the world to see.

Of course, it’s far more likely that students will already be posting content to YouTube, and that this will be just one more way they include content on their own channels. Still, that’s a very valid concern, and I felt I should discuss the “security” of videos created using that Video Everywhere tool.

By default, when you post a newly recorded video to your YouTube account using the Video Everywhere tool, it’s set to a status of “Unlisted”. (That’s as opposed to “Public” or “Private,” by the way.) An Unlisted video is one that is publicly visible, but not indexed in any search tools. So the only typical way in which somebody is going to see an Unlisted video is if they are provided with a link to it, or see it embedded in a page somewhere. It is, technically, possible that somebody might be randomly typing in URLs and run across it… more on that a bit later.

Now, why would Blackboard not just make the video Private instead? Because Private YouTube videos only allow specific, invited individuals to view them. I suppose it might be possible for a video integration tool to leverage YouTube’s invitation system, but there is a maximum limit of 50 users who could be invited to view such a video, which would certainly make such a tool less than useful for large courses. So instead the tool leverages that Unlisted status, allowing anybody to view the video provided they have the address. This, of course, is all well documented on the appropriate YouTube page.

So what should you tell a student who is nervous about somebody actually finding their video by randomly typing in addresses? For that, I’d turn to the cliché “needle in a haystack.” Actually, it’s worse than a needle hidden in a haystack, that would be a case of a needle hidden in a warehouse piled high with needles, with a constant stream of new needles being dumped onto the pile with each passing moment. Seriously, have you ever considered how much content there is on YouTube? I did wonder, so I tried to find out. The question is posed on the YouTube FAQ page, “How many videos are on YouTube?” They don’t actually answer that question, but instead say that “48 hours of video are uploaded every minute, resulting in nearly 8 years of content uploaded every day.”

I’m going to say that if a student is concerned that somebody will randomly URL-type their way to seeing that video, they should rest assured that it is very unlikely, to the point of being somewhat silly to worry about.

Oh, and if you had no idea what this whole “Video Everywhere” thing is, you may want to take a look at this video detailing how the tool works. And yes, this video is hosted on YouTube.

Video Everywhere

Ever wish you could assign your students to leave a video recording of themselves presenting something, right into a discussion board post in Blackboard? Ever have a need to quickly record feedback for a student, so that they can review your comments when looking at their grade?

Blackboard has a way.

Starting with version 9.1 Service Pack 10, a new tool is available which can meet that need. Called, variously, either “Video Everywhere” or “Record from Webcam”, this simple tool leverages the YouTube service to not just allow playback of video (as the YouTube mashup component does), but also allows users in Blackboard to record new video footage into their YouTube accounts and immediately post the recording in the Blackboard content editor screen.

At the moment we only have this tool available on the Palomar Blackboard Sandbox environment, but beginning in early January this tool will be available on our production Blackboard system as well. There is a “Getting Started With Video Everywhere” document available from Blackboard, from among the other resources available on their “On Demand” site. Blackboard has also put together a video to explain how the Video Everywhere tool might be used:

I’ve also prepared a video demonstrating how someone would record and post a video using that tool. The Blackboard documentation does give some caveats about how Internet Explorer and Chrome browsers might need their settings changed, but I didn’t need to make such changes on my own system when using the Record from Webcam tool.

Submitted for your approval: Video Everywhere.

YouTubes in PowerPoint

There were two items on our agenda for last Friday’s PowerPoint 2 workshop that we didn’t have sufficient time to cover.  One was using exit effects to make things magically appear in PowerPoint, which I posted on Friday; the other was embedding YouTube videos in a PowerPoint presentation.  First I’ll show how it’s done, and then mention a couple of things that can go wrong.

The embed procedure is pretty simple.  First, locate the video at YouTube.  Click the Share button, and then click the Embed button.  Some time last year YouTube changed from using Object embeds to iframe embeds.  Don’t worry about the terminology, suffice it to say that iframe embeds will not work in PowerPoint, so you also have to check the “Use Old Embed Code” box to get the code that will work.

 get embed code

By default the setting “Show suggested videos when the video finishes” is turned on.  I suggest you turn this option off by unchecking the box.  The suggested videos that pop up are at best distracting.

Below the options illustrated above there are some player size choices, and they vary depending on the source video.  Here is a typical set from a 4:3 aspect ratio video (i.e., 4 wide by 3 high, like an old fashioned TV screen).

4x3 YouTube Choices
4:3 screen YouTube choices

And here are choices from a typical 16:9 aspect ratio video (i.e., like your new widescreen TV screen).

16x9 YouTube Choices
16:9 YouTube screen choices

(The YouTube site player window is by default 16:9, and places black pillar bars next to 4:3 videos).  When you make a YouTube player size selection, the embed code changes to reflect the player size, but this does not affect the player size window in PowerPoint.  What it does affect is the download resolution that you receive from YouTube when the video is played.

Now, after making your choices as illustrated above, copy the embed code that appears in the scrolling window by clicking it and pressing Ctrl-C, or right-clicking it and choosing paste.

Embed Code
YouTube embed code

Now, go to the PowerPoint slide on which you wish to embed the video.  You cannot use the video placeholder for this operation, so I suggest using a title only or blank slide layout.  Go to the Insert tab, click the drop-down uner the Video command, and choose “Video from Web Site…”.

Video From Web Site

A dialog box will appear.  Paste the embed code you copied from YouTube into this dialog box by pressing Ctrl-V or right-clicking and choosing Paste.

Paste Code

Now click Insert, and a 3.33 x 2.5 inch video player will appear centered on the slide.  This is the default player size in PowerPoint, and there is no convenient way to change it.  It corresponds to an old 320 x 240 pixel video player windows (based on the PC’s 96 ppi devault resolution—3.33*96=319.7 and 2.5*96=240).  To change the player window to a definite size, click the window to select it (if it isn’t selected already) then click the Video Tools Format tab, and change dimensions in the Size section of the ribbon.  To double the size of the 320×240 player, making it 640×480, the same as the player you selected in YouTube, change the width to 6.66 and the height to 5.  (By the way, you can launch the Size dialog box and turn off retain-aspect ratio to get a widescreen style player, but this setting will not persist).

Video Player Height Width

Now center the player and you will have a close 1 to 1 correspondence between the YouTube player and the window used to render it in PowerPoint.  It won’t be an exact correspondence because YouTube adds 25 pixels for the controls (the play button, volume button, etc) at the bottom of the video.  PowerPoint calculates this in, reduces the size of the video so that the controls can be added, and renders it in the window, adding pillar bars to the side to account for the reduced dimension because of the controls.

If you are embedding a widescreen video, you can do the math to create the PowerPoint player window close to the actual YouTube player window, but this is more work than most people are willing to do.  They are just as happy to live with pillar bars or letterbox bars (black bars above and below the video) rather than trying to create a player that exactly fits the dimensions of the video, and I’ll have to agree.  As the video plays the YouTube play/pause button works, as does the volume control and the ClosedCaptions button, but the full-screen button does not.  Nor do you have the choice, as you do with a video embedded from a local file, to play it full screen.

You can use the Playback tab of the Video Tools tab to test your video, but note that the editing capabilities of videos embedded from files are NOT available for YouTube videos.  You do, however, have the same player formatting options available.

I cannot, however, recommend relying on YouTube videos within PowerPoint presentations for a couple of reasons.  First, YouTube videos are a moving target, they get removed from YouTube all the time and you can’t count on them being there when you need them.  Secondly, if your internet connection is not very fast it takes time for the workstation from which you are presenting (assuming it has Internet connectivity, of course) to contact YouTube and serve up the video.  In the mean time, you are standing there with nothing on the screen and an awkward gap in your presentation.  This is especially significant in timed talks where you have to deliver your presentation in a very limited time frame.  Finally, and I’ve seen this one bit a few presenters, including yours truly, even though you have rehearsed your presentation time and again at your desktop computer, the computer in the classroom, or wherever, that you are going to be using to present from is not familiar with your presentation.  Meaning, that Microsoft Office, in its zeal to protect you from potentially hazardous macro viruses pops up a warning when your presentation is loaded.  It looks like this:

enable editing

If you don’t notice this (or you are standing at a rostrum and someone else is operating the computer does not notice it) your video will not play.  And even if you (or someone) does notice and clicks Enable Editing before launching the presentation, you will come to the slide with your embedded YouTube video and once again, it will not play.  No matter how long you wait it will not work.  In frustration you escape from the presentation to get back into the PowerPoint editing window and you notice a second warning only visible from there:

enable media content

So not only do you have to tell PowerPoint that it is OK to use this presentation on the current PC, you also have to tell it that it is OK to use external media, and you must do this BEFORE you start the presentation.  This last can vary with security settings, but for typical settings it will be in effect.

If, after all this, you still decide the YouTube video is just too good to pass up, go ahead and embed it, but remember the risks.

Our Greatest YouTube Hits for 2011

ATRC LogoWe in the Academic Technology Resource Center (ATRC) maintain a YouTube channel as one avenue for distributing our training videos.  The videos are almost all click-here/click-there screen videos, or “screencasts,” made with TechSmith’s Camtasia Studio (a product, incidentally, that we are now licensed for across our college District for District owned computers).  A screencast, if you don’t already know, usually illustrates the computer screen with the cursor moving, windows opening and closing, and procedures being performed while the presenter narrates the procedure.  Granted not the most compelling video experience, but the best way to illustrate otherwise complicated computer procedures.  Show me and tell me combined in the same operation.  Since these “screencasts” are not what you would call high drama, our viewership is small, but respectable, I must say, considering the content.  At any rate, in this post, since it is the time of year to do retrospectives, I present our YouTube channel video greatest hits.

Number 1, bar far, is our video on “Using Quick Parts in Outlook (and Word) 2010” which had nearly 7,000 views this year.  (You see what I mean about the dramatic nature of the titles and the respectability of viewership.  By our standards 7,000 is good).  Quick Parts are those time saving blocks of text you can insert anywhere in an Outlook email or Word document with a simple click.  You know, the terms “boilerplate” or “canned response” come to mind, or more charitably, a “carefully planned labor saving device.”  For professors who find themselves continually responding to the same questions in the same ways, or making the same observations repeatedly on the same student errors, these truly are labor saving, and can easily be personalized after they are inserted.  At any rate, if you are interested, here is a link to the video:

Quick Parts Video   “Using Quick Parts in Outlook (or Word) 2010

In view of the play time (8:23) and the dryness of the subject, I would say there is a real thirst for practical, labor saving Office procedures.

Our number 2, by a fairly distant margin (about 2,300 views) is “How to Download and Install Windows Live Movie Maker 2011.”  It is the first part in our 16-part series on Windows Live Movie Maker.

Movie Maker Install Video  “How to Download and Install Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

Movie Maker 2011 is VERY different from the old Movie Maker, the one known and loved/hated by Windows XP users.  It is the fastest, easiest way for you to create a sophisticated movie, with transitions, visual effects, pan and zoom, titles, captions, credits, music and the works.  If you are trying to get up to speed, see our series.

A very close number three to this one (2,200 views) is a video that described how to use pan and zoom effects in movie maker.

Pan-Zoom  “Windows Live Movie Maker: Pan and Zoom Effects.”

The control you are able to exercise with the new Movie Maker is not as fine as it was with the old, but the ease and power of use are much enhanced.

Number 4 in our hit parade has to do with how to install Flip video software, which is no longer very interesting seeing that Cisco purchased and then discontinued the product.  This, in my view, should be regarded as one of the tech scandals of the year.  Of course Cisco can do what they want with their billions, but to buy up an excellent company, one that had established top drawer relations with millions of consumers, and then trash them, shows an arrogance reserved only for tech aristocrats.  Shame.

At any rate, here is the video, even though it doesn’t have much of a future.

Flip Install Video  “How to Install the Flipshare Software

The Flipshare software was part of a series on using the Flip video camera for academic purposes.  We have now migrated to using the excellent Kodak line of low-cost camcorders.  (Yes, I know, there’s all kinds of talk about Kodak going bankrupt).  (Sheesh).

Rounding out our top five is a video that describes how to use Microsoft OneNote to create study flash cards.

One Note Video  “OneNote Flash Cards

OK, but not the most exciting.  I made a number of videos I thought more interesting and useful than these, like how to create custom study books from Wikipedia, how to create custom, editable handouts from PowerPoint 2010, or how to use Google Body, among many others, and these have found an audience, just not as large an audience as the top 5.  Our experience with a YouTube channel has been very positive, and YouTube itself is in the midst of big changes as Google strives to make it more useful and powerful by connecting potential audiences to existing contents.  I read this week that in 2011 over one-trillion videos were viewed via YouTube.  That’s trillion with a T.  That seems unbelievably impressive for a technology that has emerged so recently, until you stop to ponder just what videos are being watched.  A review of the top ten list is very depressing for those of us who care about a) education and b) culture in general, but we’re not going to give up.  Here’s to video in 2012.

Webcam Demo with Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

I thought before diving into step-by-step procedures, file formats, and the other how-tos we are going to be reviewing with Windows Movie Maker I would do something quick (5 minutes or less) and easy (just a couple of clicks) to accomplish one of the things a teacher might want to do with video.  That is, make a personal introduction or quickly review a key concept.  Let’s let the video do the talking.

Here’s how it was done.

First, you have to have a Windows 7 compatible webcam.  Mine is the Logitech QuickCam Ultra Vision.  As you can see, not an HD webcam (the aspect ratio is 4:3, not the more common—these days—16:9), and a couple of years old.  You can pick it up for under $50 now at Amazon, but when I purchased it I think it ran around $120.  You can get a great web cam for $120.

If you are like me, you have multiple microphones attached to your computer.  I typically use a USB mic to record screen video, but my webcam also has a mic built in.  I wanted to record the picture and audio from the same device (so I wouldn’t have to wear a headset in the video), so I first had to make the webcam mic the default mic.  To do this,go to the Windows Control Panel,click on Hardware and Sound (if you have your control panel organized in Category view), click Sound, click the Recording tab, and enable the webcam mic and make tit the default microphone.

webcam setup

While you are at it, be sure to select it, click properties, and check the recording levels.  They should be set about to 75%, but your milage may vary.  Don’t forget to set the default mic back where it was when you are done.

Open Movie Maker (if you read yesterday’s post and followed my suggestion, you will have pinned it to your Start menu and know right where it is).  Click the webcam icon on the Home tab of Movie Maker’s ribbon.

webcam icon

If this is the first time you have done this, a configuration selection dialog box will appear.  This box will only appear subsequently when you make a hardware configuration change affecting audio or video devices, but you can access it any time by clicking on the Movie Maker tab (what in an Office program would be the File tab or “Backstage View” tab on the far left of the ribbon) and choosing Options.  After setting configuration, a video preview window will open with a set of controls above it—about as simple as anything can get: a big red, round Record button; a dimmed square Stop button (dimmed because you are not yet recording); and a red X cancel button.  The rest of the ribbon disappears during your recording session.  Click the record button to begin recording.

Webcam Controls

Now, almost every guide I have read says to work from a script, rehearse what you are going to say, and be prepared.  Most of us do not do this most of the time, however, and just wing it.  I think most of us think that, unless it is a very elaborate project, it is easier to do take 2, take 3… than it is to spend a lot of time rehearsing.  The one thing I would recommend doing in advance though is making sure that the room lighting is adequate: not a great deal too much or a great deal too little.  Your camera will come with some software to help control contrast, brightness, and camera mirroring.  Most of us will not have time or resources to create a well lit, audio neutral recording environment, nor is there a crying need to spend a lot of time in setup, but just try to keep it from being far too dark or too washed out.

After you make your recording, save it with a memorable title.  It will be in WMV (Windows Media Video) format, which is fine for YouTube.  It is a snap to trim your video—beginning, end, or pieces out of the middle, but we’ll work more on that in another post.  For now, just click the YouTube button on the Movie Maker Home tab to upload to YouTube.

YouTube Button

First, you will be prompted for a movie resolution size.  Since my camera records in 4:3 aspect ration, my choices are the same.

Movie Resolution

Unless you have specific reasons for saving it to a smaller resolution (e.g., emailing it to someone, playing it on a handheld device) choose the highest.  YouTube will re-compress and scale it in any event.

After setting resolution, you will be prompted to sign-in to Windows Live—it’s all part of getting it for free—and after that, login to YouTube with your YouTube account credentials to upload the video.

That’s it.  The video is uploaded and ready to share (once it finishes processing) with the link or embed code from your YouTube site.