Changing the Thumbnail of a Video Clip in PowerPoint

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated April 30, 2021

Applies to: Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2016, 2019 and 365 (Windows)

If you have inserted a video on a PowerPoint slide, you can display a custom thumbnail (or Poster Frame) for the video during a slide show. The thumbnail will display when you run a PowerPoint slide show and disappears when you start the video. For most videos, the thumbnail that displays is the first frame of the video clip. You can use the Poster Frame command to display a different frame in the video clip or a picture from another source as a thumbnail. A picture thumbnail could be either an image or an icon.

Note: Buttons and Ribbon tabs may display in a different way (with or without text) depending on your version of PowerPoint, the size of your screen and your Control Panel settings. For PowerPoint 365 users, Ribbon tabs may appear with different names. For example, the Video Tools Playback tab may appear as Video Playback. Screenshots in this article are from 365 but are similar in previous versions of PowerPoint.

The Poster Frame command appears on the Video Tools Format or Video Format tab in the Ribbon when a video is selected:

Video Format tab in the Ribbon in PowerPoint with Poster Frame command.

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Recommended article: How to Compress Video (or Audio) Media in PowerPoint to Reduce File Size

Changing a video thumbnail to a different frame in a video

To change a video thumbnail to a different frame in a video:

  1. In Normal View, navigate to the slide the contains the video clip.
  2. Click or double-click the video. A Video Tools Format or Video Format tab appears in the Ribbon.
  3. Click Play in the Media Controls below the video. The video clip will begin playing.
  4. When the frame you want to display as a thumbnail appears, pause the video by clicking Pause in the Media Controls below the video.
  5. If necessary, click the Video Tools Format or Video Format tab.
  6. Click Poster Frame in the Adjust group. A drop-down menu appears.
  7. Select Current Frame. The frame or thumbnail will appear when you run a slide show until you start the video.

The Poster Frame command offers the option to select the current frame from the video (only if you have played and paused the video) as follows:

Poster Frame drop-down menu in PowerPoint.

Changing a video thumbnail to a picture from your computer

To change a video thumbnail to a picture:

  1. In Normal View, navigate to the slide the contains the video clip.
  2. Click or double-click the video. A Video Tools Format or Video Format tab appears in the Ribbon.
  3. If necessary, click the Video Tools Format or Video Format tab.
  4. Click Poster Frame in the Adjust group. A drop-down menu appears.
  5. Select From File. A dialog box appears.
  6. Navigate to the location of the picture file.
  7. Double-click the picture you want to use as a thumbnail.

When you click the Poster Frame command, a drop-down menu appears with several options (Stock Images is available only in PowerPoint 365):

Insert Pictures dialog box in PowerPoint to change video thumbnail.

Changing a video thumbnail to an online picture or stock image

To change a video thumbnail to an online picture or stock image:

  1. In Normal View, navigate to the slide the contains the video clip.
  2. Click or double-click the video. A Video Tools Format or Video Format tab appears in the Ribbon.
  3. If necessary, click the Video Tools Format or Video Format tab.
  4. Click Poster Frame in the Adjust group. A drop-down menu appears.
  5. Select Online Pictures or Stock Images (365 only). A dialog box appears.
  6. Navigate through the online pictures or stock images. You can also search for a picture or stock image.
  7. Double-click the picture you want to use as a thumbnail.

Recommended Article: How to Insert Pictures n PowerPoint 365 (from a Drive, Stock Images or Online Pictures).

Changing a video thumbnail to an icon

To change a video thumbnail to an icon:

  1. In Normal View, navigate to the slide the contains the video clip.
  2. Click or double-click the video. A Video Tools Format or Video Format tab appears in the Ribbon.
  3. If necessary, click the Video Tools Format or Video Format tab.
  4. Click Poster Frame in the Adjust group. A drop-down menu appears.
  5. Select Icons. A dialog box appears.
  6. Navigate through the icons. You can also search for an icon.
  7. Double-click the icon you want to use as a thumbnail.

Removing a thumbnail or Poster Frame

To remove a thumbnail or Poster Frame:

  1. In Normal View, navigate to the slide the contains the video clip.
  2. Click or double-click the video. A Video Tools Format or Video Format tab appears in the Ribbon.
  3. If necessary, click the Video Tools Format or Video Format tab.
  4. Click Poster Frame in the Adjust group. A drop-down menu appears.
  5. Select Online Pictures. A dialog box appears.
  6. Navigate through the online pictures. You can also search for a picture.
  7. Double-click the picture you want to use as a thumbnail.

You can create some interesting video thumbnails with the Poster Frame command in PowerPoint.

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Summary
How to Change the Thumbnail for a Video in PowerPoint (using the Poster Frame Tool)
Article Name
How to Change the Thumbnail for a Video in PowerPoint (using the Poster Frame Tool)
Description
If you have inserted a video on a PowerPoint slide, you can display a custom thumbnail (or Poster Frame) for the video during a slide show. The thumbnail will display when you run a PowerPoint slide show and disappears when you start the video. For most videos, the thumbnail that displays is the first frame of the video clip. You can use the Poster Frame command to display a different frame in the video clip or a picture from another source as a thumbnail. A picture thumbnail could be either an image or an icon.
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Avantix Learning

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