Tricks to using YouTube videos into PowerPoint

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Online videos from YouTube and other sources can be played within a PowerPoint slide and there are tricks to work around some limitations.

The ability to insert online videos from YouTube and other sources has been in PowerPoint for some time.  Insert | Media | Video | Online Video

But you don’t get the same control as a video saved to your computer.  The Playback ribbon is full of disabled, greyed out options.

All you can do is change the start option between Automatic, In-click sequence or When clicked on.

A Decade of Sun

For this article we’ll use a really cool video from NASA – A Decade of Sun.  A video compilation of daily shots from the Solar Dynamics Observatory.

We want to use the video as a prelude to a presentation – something a little interesting on the screen before the talk begins.  That’s possible with a little Office Watch cunning.

Start video at certain time

One missing option is starting the online video at a particular time.  Normally you can do that from Playback | Editing | Fade in option.

It’s still possible by changing the YouTube link before inserting into PowerPoint.

A standard non-shortened YouTube link looks like this:

The v  parameter is a unique identifying one video.  Get that link or code from the browser address bar.

There are variations on that url but the principle is the same.

Skip the start of a YouTube video

We’d like to skip the opening titles and jump right into the main video.

Do that by adding an extra parameter to the YouTube link..  Url parameters are always separated by & symbols.

For starting time control there are two parameters that do the same thing:

Officially the start video time option is Start followed by a value in seconds like this:

Many YouTube regulars know that  t   also works, it’s the parameter used by YouTube itself when sharing a video.  Eg.

Other parameters

There are other YouTube url parameters that would be useful, if they worked!  We could not get these to work in the browser or PowerPoint using a variety of url formats. If you know the secret, please let us know.

There’s a Youtube parameter to stop a video before the end.  Amazingly it’s called   end   e.g.  &end=120

 &loop=1  should make the video replay automatically.

 &controls=0  should stop the video player controls appearing.

 &modestbranding=1 is supposed to remove most of the YouTube logos

Text over an online video

One thing you can’t do with an online video is overlay it with text or other objects.  No matter what you do (Send to Back on the video or Bring Forward for the objects) the online video plays over other slide content. Grrrrr.  Ideally, we’d like to do something like this.

The workaround is putting the online video and a text box side by-side with a background to make them look seamless.

Change the slide background to black or a color that matches the video background.

Insert the online video on one side and a text box on the other.

Change the video start to Automatically (one of the few Playback controls available in PowerPoint) so it plays right away.

Downloading YouTube videos

The ultimate solution is to download the YouTube video to a video file on your computer.  That gives you much more control over playback in PowerPoint and isn’t reliant on an Internet connection.

Very few YouTube videos have a download option. Look for a download button among the controls.  It’s an option for the video publisher but isn’t often enabled.

For short videos, try a video screen grab using a tool which records a video of what’s on your screen.

That’s not practical for longer videos.  There are many programs out there which convert online videos into locally stored video files.  For many years we’ve used Any Video Converter  mostly to convert older videos into modern formats but it also downloads online videos.

Keep in mind that online videos from YouTube etc. are usually copyrighted.

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