Description of four methods that you can use to insert a movie into a presentation in PowerPoint

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SUMMARY

To insert a movie into a presentation, you can use any of the following methods:
  • Insert a movie from a file.
  • Insert a movie file as an object.
  • Use the Wmp.ppa add-in.
  • Insert the movie as a package.
This article contains detailed information about each method. This includes how movie playback occurs with each method. Additionally, this article describes issues that may occur during movie playback when you send a presentation that contains a movie to another user.

INTRODUCTION

This article discusses methods that you can use to insert a movie into a presentation in Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003, in Microsoft PowerPoint 2002, and in Microsoft PowerPoint 2000.

MORE INFORMATION

Method 1: Insert a movie from a file

To insert a movie into a PowerPoint presentation, use the Movie from File option on the Insert menu. If the presentation is located anywhere in the file path at which the movie file is located, PowerPoint stores the movie file as a relative path in the presentation. If the presentation is not located at the path at which the movie file is stored, PowerPoint stores the movie file as an absolute path in the presentation. For example, you have a presentation that is located in the following folder:
C:\Documents and Settings\User\My Documents
You insert a movie from the following folder into this presentation:
C:\Documents and Settings\User\My Documents\My Movies
In this example, the following path is inserted into the presentation:
.\My Movies\Movie_name.avi
If the movie file is located on a server, PowerPoint stores the file as an absolute path in the presentation. If PowerPoint cannot find the movie file in the \\Server_name\Share_name\Folder_name folder, PowerPoint looks for the file in the \\Server_name\Share_name folder. If PowerPoint does not find the movie file in this folder, PowerPoint looks in the relative path of the presentation. For example, PowerPoint searches My Documents if the presentation is located in the following folder:
C:\Documents and Settings\User\My Documents
If PowerPoint cannot find the movie file in My Documents, the movie will not be played.

Movie playback

When you use this method to insert a movie, PowerPoint controls the movie playback process by using Media Control Interface (MCI). Therefore, this method is the best method to use to insert a movie into a presentation.

When you play a movie in a presentation, PowerPoint first looks for the name of the movie file. If PowerPoint finds a file that has the same name, PowerPoint examines the size of the file. PowerPoint will not find the file if the following conditions are true:
  • The movie file has been moved from its original location.
  • You create a file that has the same name. But, the file is a different size.
If the movie does not play on another computer, the movie file may not be using a standard codec. You may have to use movie editing software to resave the movie file by using a different codec or compression option. You can use the Cinepak codec if Cinepak is an option for .avi files. If Cinepak is not an option, try to save the movie as an .mpeg file or as another supported format.

Method 2: Insert a movie file as an object

When you insert a movie as an object, PowerPoint is not involved in the process. The process occurs in Microsoft Windows Media Player. Windows Media Player has a set of APIs that PowerPoint 2003 uses primarily for movie playback. Windows Media Player keeps its own set of codecs. And, it uses the Windows registry file types to determine which format and codec to use. Windows Media Player looks for a codec signature in the file and then matches the codec that it finds. If Windows Media Player cannot find an appropriate codec, it searches the Web for a valid codec.

Windows Media Player stores the movie file as an absolute path in the presentation. If Windows Media Player cannot find the original file at the original absolute path, it looks in the path for a file that has the same file name extension and the same size. For example, if you rename the original file from "mymovie.avi" to "yourmovie.avi", Windows Media Player can find the file. However, if you move the file to a different folder, Windows Media Player would be unable to find the file. Windows Media Player cannot use a relative base path because it does not know that the movie file is linked in a PowerPoint presentation. Windows Media Player does not know where that PowerPoint presentation is stored.

When you insert a movie file as an object, you link the object to the presentation. You cannot embed an object into the presentation. If you try to embed an object by clearing the Link check box when you insert the object, the size of the presentation that contains the object will be the same as the size of the presentation that is created when you click to select the Link check box. The object has not been embedded.

For an object to be embedded, the object must have an interface with OLE2 to be able to create an OLE stream in the PowerPoint presentation. In an embedded object, the OLE stream is read back into memory. Then, the OLE stream is loaded into the OLE application server object. However, Windows Media Player does not have an interface through OLE2. Therefore, all movie files are linked. This is the default behavior.

Note The Link check box is for sound files. You can embed sound files in a presentation because PowerPoint actually creates a special stream for sound files. However, if the sound file is larger than 100 KB, the presentation may not run as expected. Therefore, when you insert sound files that are larger than 100 KB into a presentation, these files are automatically linked to the presentation.

Movie playback

When you play a movie file that was inserted as an object, PowerPoint initiates MCI. Then, MCI chooses the best program to play the movie.

When you click the link to the movie, the movie plays either in a popup window or in the media playback program that is used on the computer. Movie playback does not occur in PowerPoint. When you use this method, you remove all control that PowerPoint has over the object. For example, if a user has installed a third-party media playback program that takes all the extensions from Windows Media Player, this third-party program will start when the user clicks a link to a movie in a PowerPoint presentation. You cannot control what program plays the movie if you use method 2.

Method 3: Use the Wmp.ppa add-in

By default, when you use the Wmp.ppa add-in to insert a movie file into a PowerPoint presentation, PowerPoint stores the movie file as an absolute path in the presentation. If the movie file is not in the absolute path, the movie does not play. The add-in also contains an option that you can use to copy the movie file into the same folder as the presentation. When you use this option, PowerPoint stores the movie file as a relative path in the presentation. When you play the movie file in the presentation, PowerPoint looks for the presentation in the folder that is defined when the presentation is created. If the movie file is not in that folder, the movie will not play.

We do not recommend that you use this add-in if you are using PowerPoint 2003. PowerPoint 2003 uses Windows Media Player to play most movies.

Method 4: Insert the movie as a package

You can insert a movie file as a package in a PowerPoint presentation. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. On the Insert menu, click Object.
  2. Click Create new, and then click Package under Object type.
When you insert a movie as a package in a PowerPoint presentation, the movie file is kept inside a package that is embedded in the presentation. If you move the presentation to another location, the package is also moved to this location.

This method is the only way that you can embed a movie into a PowerPoint presentation. A package is an OLE2 wrapper object that embeds an OLE stream into a file. This file registers itself as a Packager object. When the Packager object is opened, the contents are read. Then, the appropriate extension verb is called. Typically, an .avi file is verb-activated with Windows Media Player.

You may want to use this option if you are not concerned about the size of the PowerPoint presentation or about the speed at which the presentation will play. When you use this method, make sure that all the content is in one file. If you use this method to insert larger .avi files, the computer may experience performance issues.

Movie playback

To make the Packager object function in a presentation, follow these steps:
  1. Right-click the inserted object, and then click Action Settings.
  2. Click Object Actions. Then, click Activate Contents in the Object Actions list.
When you click the Packager object in a presentation, the movie is played back in a separate window above the presentation.

Playback issues that may occur when you send the presentation to another user

Issues with linked movie files

When you use method 1, method 2, or method 3 to insert a movie into a PowerPoint presentation, PowerPoint creates a link to the movie file. When you play the movie, PowerPoint runs the movie from its original location. The movie in the presentation will not play if either of the following conditions is true:
  • You move the movie file to another location.
  • You delete the movie file.
To work around this issue, put the movie file and the presentation in the same folder. Then, zip this folder when you send the presentation to another user. When you do this, you can prevent issues that may occur during movie playback.

If you are using PowerPoint 2003, you can save a presentation in the Single File Web page (MHTML) format. When you do this, the presentation is saved as an HTML file that is compiled into a single .mht file for easy transport. When you use this option, all the linked files are included in the .mht file.

Issues with .avi files

If you insert .avi files that were created in a third-party program, the movie may not play if you send the presentation to another user. This issue occurs if the third-party program does not use a standard codec. For example, Dazzle uses a specific codec that is only available if you install Dazzle. To prevent issues that may occur when you use a third-party program, make sure that you use one of the standard Microsoft Windows codecs. When you do this, users with whom you share the presentation will have the codec for the movie file.

The third-party products that this article discusses are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance or reliability of these products.

Properties

Article ID: 885915 - Last Review: August 28, 2006 - Revision: 1.1
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2000 Standard Edition
Keywords: 
kbaddin kbhowto KB885915

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