Selecting Video Formats for PowerPoint Decks (Windows or Mac)

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated June 29, 2016

Applies to: Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2010, 2013 and 2016 (Windows) and 2011, 2014 and 2016 (Mac)

If you are going to insert video in PowerPoint, you should have a basic understanding of video formats. For Windows users, newer available formats like MP4 can provide great quality but can't be used if you're running Windows 7 or an earlier version of Windows.

If you are having trouble playing videos, you may need to install the video and/or audio codec files.

Recommended article: How to Insert Video in PowerPoint (from a File on Your PC or a Shared Drive)

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Video formats for PowerPoint 2013 and 2016 (Windows 8 or 10)

If you are running Windows 8 or 10, you can insert MP4 videos in PowerPoint 2013 and 2016.

You can insert videos in the following formats:

  • ASF (Windows media file)
  • AVI (Windows video files – some require additional codecs)
  • MPG (movie file)
  • MPEG (movie file)
  • SWF (Adobe Flash media file)
  • WMV (Windows media video file)
  • MOV (MP4 video file)
  • M4V (MP4 video file)
  • MP4

For those with Windows 8 or 10, if you use MP4 videos encoded with H.264 video and AAC audio and embed in PowerPoint 2013 or 2016, you will get the best playback experience.

However, if you need to play your presentation on other computers and you don't know the operating system, the recommended video format for embedding in PowerPoint 2013 or 2016 is MPEG. In this case, you may want to create two copies of your presentation – one with the MP4 video and the other with MPEG as a backup.

Video formats for PowerPoint 2013 and 2016 (Windows 7, Vista or XP)

Windows 7, Vista and XP support the following video formats:

  • ASF (Windows media file)
  • WMV (Windows media video file)
  • AVI (Windows video files – some require additional codecs)
  • MPEG (movie file)

If you use Windows 7, Vista or XP, use WMV or MPEG videos for the best playback experience. WMV is the authentic Windows Media format and MPEG is standard for video and audio compression and can be played back on any computer system.

Video formats for PowerPoint 2010 (Windows)

In PowerPoint 2010, you can insert video in the following file formats:

  • ASF (Windows media file)
  • AVI (Windows video files – some require additional codecs)
  • MPG (movie file)
  • MPEG (movie file)
  • SWF (Adobe Flash media file)
  • WMV (Windows media video file)
  • MP4 (with QuickTime installed)

The best video format to embed in PowerPoint 2010 is WMV or MPEG.

If you want to play MP4 videos in PowerPoint 2010, you will need Windows 8 or 10 and you will also need to install QuickTime. Depending on your computer's hardware, the results may not be ideal.

Video formats for PowerPoint 2011 and 2016 (Mac)

On a Mac, regardless of the operating system, MP4 is the native and best playback format.

In PowerPoint 2011 and 2016 on the Mac, you can insert the following video file formats:

  • AVI (Windows video files)
  • WMV (Windows media video file with Flip4Mac installed)
  • MPG (movie file)
  • MPEG (movie file)
  • SWF (Adobe Flash media file)
  • MOV (MP4 video file)
  • MP4

If you need to play your presentation on a Mac or Windows computer, the recommended format is MPEG.

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More resources

How to Embed a YouTube Video in PowerPoint

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts to Play and Control Video During a Presentation

How to Animate Text, Images and Other Objects in PowerPoint

Related courses

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Microsoft PowerPoint: Design for Non-Designers

Microsoft PowerPoint: Animations Bootcamp

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