Issue #162 June 24, 2008

PowerPoint Tip: Playing Quicktime videos in PowerPoint

When you start incorporating video in to your PowerPoint presentations, you will likely hit one of the roadblocks that many presenters find frustrating. It has to do with video file formats. There are many video file formats. Some of the most popular ones you will see are AVI, WMV, and MOV. The problem is with the last file format, the MOV format. It is the Quicktime format created by Apple. It is a good format for quality and size of file, but it unfortunately does not work well in PowerPoint on Windows. The reason the MOV file format is so common is that it is the default format on Apple computers. But if you are working on a Windows machine, why should that matter? Because almost every video editing or production company uses Apple computers for video work. They are usually much better at that task. And your video company is likely going to give you an MOV file as the final output. If you try to insert it like any other video in PowerPoint, it won’t recognize the format because there is no Quicktime player built in to PowerPoint on Windows. So what can you do? You have two options. Option 1 is to convert the MOV file to a format like WMV or AVI that PowerPoint can recognize. This requires a video conversion package. The simplest is Apple’s Quicktime Pro, which you can purchase from their web site. It allows you to export the video to the AVI format. I have found that the results aren’t always high quality depending on the input video. You can search for other video conversion software, but it adds another step to your production process. Option 2 is to link to the MOV video file from a PowerPoint slide using the built-in ability of PowerPoint to link to outside content. You create a hyperlink from some text, shape or picture to the MOV file on your computer. When you activate that link during the presentation, it automatically runs the movie in the Quicktime player (a free download from Apple). When the movie is playing, you can expand it to full screen by pressing Ctrl+F. When it is done, exit the Quicktime player and you are back to your presentation. If you want to see Option 2 in a step-by-step video, check out the video on this specific topic at . Video of all types is a hot topic and I have posted four other how-to videos at the above link that walk you through capturing, editing, inserting and e-mailing a video in a presentation. Don’t let video file formats stop you from including video in your next presentation.