Office 64-bit won’t work with MPEG-4 or QuickTime video

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A hidden trap in the 64-bit versions of Microsoft Office 2016 or 2013, they can’t work with MPEG-4 video .mp4, audio  .m4a, nor QuickTime .mov .

If you’ve ever seen this error message:

“PowerPoint cannot insert a video from the selected file. Verify that the necessary 64-bit codec for this media format is installed, and then try again.”

It means you have PowerPoint 64-bit version but Windows (also 64-bit) doesn’t have the proper video and audio support.  Microsoft left the codecs (which translate the media file) in 32-bit form even on what’s supposed to be a 64-bit operating system.

The error message is worded to put the responsibility on the customer for the problem.  What the message should say is:

“PowerPoint 64-bit version cannot insert this file because Windows doesn’t have the necessary 64-bit codec support”.

Installing Apple’s QuickTime isn’t an option anymore.  Apple stopped supporting Windows back in 2009.

The fix

The workaround is to convert the media file into something that any PowerPoint (2010, 2013 or 2016) will understand like Windows Media or MP3 for audio.

Hiding without lying

Microsoft is a master at hiding their limitations without overtly lying. They skirt around this nasty in their support page about PowerPoint video and audio support.

If you read between the lines of that page, you’d see that 64-bit support isn’t complete.

Near the bottom they refer to the error message we’ve copied above with a support page that tells the sad story.

Why no Windows 64-bit codec support?

Microsoft hasn’t bothered to update Windows or as Microsoft itself says:

“because currently the Windows operating system does not have a 64-bit video or audio codec for the three QuickTime media formats.”

Even this excuse doesn’t tell the whole story.  They use the term ‘Quicktime’ to imply a proprietary Apple system, but that’s not true.  MPEG-4 is NOT a QuickTime format, it’s been a global standard since 2001.  Sixteen years is more than enough time for Microsoft to develop proper support in Windows.

Microsoft has chosen to save some development costs by not updating the MPEG-4 codecs.  The fact that MPEG-4 came from rival Apple may have something to do with Redmond’s reluctance.

Windows development money is funneled into ‘sexy’ features that will grab headlines or cloud related technologies.  Boring but important things like full 64-bit support get pushed down the list.

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