Issue #179 February 24, 2009

PowerPoint Tip: Using FLV videos in PowerPoint

There are two types of video files that do not work well in PowerPoint for Windows: MOV QuickTime files and FLV Flash video files. In a previous newsletter I dealt with how to play QuickTime videos in PowerPoint (if you missed that issue, click here to read it in the archives). Today I will deal with Flash video files. Flash video is the most popular video format on the Web because virtually every browser has the Flash player installed and the video plays automatically. You may have a Flash video file on your web site that you’d like to use in your presentation, but you will run into two problems. First, how do you get the video off the web and on to your computer. Second, how do you get the video file to play in your presentation. Let’s address each of these. To get the Flash video file off the web and on to your computer, you may need to follow one of the following methods. If you can right-click on the web page link to the video, you can save the file directly to your computer as an FLV file type. Many flash videos are run from within an HTML web page and need a special method to capture the video that plays on the page. You can use a free tool located at to capture the video from a web page (Thanks to Kim Komando for creating this download utility and suggesting a good FLV player). Now that you have the file, you need to be able to play it. PowerPoint does not natively play Flash video files, and, while you will see instructions on some web sites on how to include a Flash video by inserting objects and setting parameters, it can be complicated and prone to problems if you don’t set every parameter just right. I think it is easier to download a Flash player program like the VLC media player at Once you have installed the player application, you associate FLV files with that application in the Tools – Folder Options – File Types tab in Windows Explorer. On your slide, create a hyperlink from a shape or text to the FLV file on your computer. When you activate the hyperlink in your presentation, the Flash Player will open and play the video. It is a good idea to open the player in full screen mode or know the key combination to switch it to full screen as soon as it starts. I know some of you will say that integrating the Flash video using the object method is a cleaner way to play the video and I would have to agree. But the reality is that for most non-technical presenters, setting object parameters is too complex and the above method, while not as smooth, is more reliable, which is what most presenters are looking for. If you do want to try the object method, click here to see the instructions at