Playing a Video in PowerPoint on the Mac

By Elizabeth Mott

Incorporate movies to present a structured view of company scenarios.
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Integrating movie footage into your business presentations can help you demonstrate techniques to employees or give a prospective client a guided tour of your facilities. Using Microsoft PowerPoint for Mac, you can embed QuickTime movies, MPEG-4 and digital video files, animated GIFs, Autodesk Animation files, SMIL video, AVI files and -- with third-party video add-ons -- Windows Media Video. To play these video files within PowerPoint, set playback options in your presentation file.

Click on the "Slides" tab in the navigation pane of the Normal view of your presentation. Click on the slide to which you want to add a movie file.

Switch to the Home tab of the Microsoft PowerPoint ribbon and locate the Insert group. Click on the "Movie From File" button and choose "Movie From File." Navigate to the file you want to use and click on the "Insert" button to embed the movie.

Set playback-start options for your movie. On the slide on which you've placed the movie, click on the file to select it. Switch to the Format Movie tab of the PowerPoint ribbon and locate the Movie Options section. From the Start menu, choose either "Automatically" so the movie begins playing as soon as its slide appears in your presentation, or "On Click" to trigger movie playback by clicking on the movie yourself at presentation time.

Set presentation options for the movie. With the file selected on your slide, open the "Playback Options" menu in the Movie Options section and select "Play Full Screen" so the movie frame enlarges to fill your presentation screen while it plays. To keep the movie hidden until it plays, select "Hide While Not Playing" and animate the movie object to trigger playback with a fade in or other effect. Use the "Rewind After Playing" setting to return the movie to its beginning once playback ends. If your presentation will play from a trade-show kiosk or other unattended hardware setup, choose "Loop Until Stopped" to keep the movie playing continuously.

Set a poster frame for your movie to determine what shows as its preview image. To select a specific frame, play the movie in PowerPoint and pause it when you reach the point you want to become the preview. Open the "Playback Options" menu in the Movie Options section and select "Current Frame" to set the poster frame to the point at which you stopped the footage.

Present your PowerPoint file, and use either automatic or triggered playback to start the movie. If you must start the movie yourself, click on the movie object to instigate playback.


Use the Flip4Mac Windows Media Components for QuickTime (see Resources) to enable your Mac to play WMV files in PowerPoint.

If you activate the "Link to File" check box in the Movie From File dialog box, you create a link to your movie file rather than embedding the footage within PowerPoint. If you move your PowerPoint file to another Mac to present it, you must copy all linked files as well as your PPTX file.

If you select automatic playback and your presentation uses timed animations to trigger slide-to-slide transitions, verify that your timing works properly with your movie file.


QuickTime VR files use the same file extensions as movie files that PowerPoint can play, but these documents won't play from a PowerPoint presentation.