How to Add a YouTube or Offline Video to Word Documents

Add Video Word Featured

YouTube has become the standard for video sharing. It’s a mighty marketing tool and also serves as an educational platform. Not only can you embed YouTube videos on your websites, but you can also insert a YouTube video in a Word document. This tutorial gives you step-by-step guides for adding a YouTube or offline video to your Microsoft Word documents.

How to Insert a YouTube Video in a Word Document

Word supports inserting online videos, including videos from YouTube, Vimeo and SlideShare. For this tutorial, we’re using Office 2016.

  1. In your browser, navigate to and copy the video URL you want to embed.
  2. Back in Word, click on the “Insert” tab in the upper-left corner after “File” and “Home.”
  3. Click on the “Online Videos” icon in the ribbon.
Add Video Word Insert Online Vid
  1. A new window will pop up asking you to enter the video’s HTTP address. Paste the video’s address from your web browser into the box and click on the “Insert” button.
Add Video Word Add Url 2
  1. Alternatively, you can click on YouTube’s “Share” button underneath the video.
Add Video Word Share Yt Vid
  1. Click on the “Copy” option when a new window pops up.
Add Video Word Start From Time
  1. If you want the video to start at a specific time, check the “Start at” box at the timestamp of your choice.
  2. Paste the address into the prompt box on your Word document.

After you’ve clicked on the “Insert” button, you will see the YouTube video embedded into your document. More precisely, you will see its thumbnail as an image, just as it appears on YouTube when it hasn’t started playing yet.

Add Video Word Embedded Thumbnail

If you want to play the video, simply press the “Play” button. A container pops up on the screen and plays the video for you.

Format Your YouTube Video to Integrate It Properly

Leaving the video as is doesn’t look very nice, so you’ll need to edit it a little bit.

  1. Click on the video and press Ctrl + E on your keyboard to center the video. Make sure you’ve clicked on the video to select it before attempting that.
  2. Also, you can resize the video thumbnail by selecting, clicking and dragging its border circles as required.
Add Video Word Resize
  1. Take a look at the top of your Word window. You’ll see the “Picture Format” menu, which allows you to customize your video further. For instance, tapping on one of the icons that look like framed pictures will change the “Style” of the video. In our example, it adds a faded border effect to the video container.
Add Video Word Try Different Styles
  1. Word views the embedded video as an image, so there are various other menu options that you may not be able to take advantage of, such as “Change Picture” or “Compress Picture.” You can apply the Picture Effects and Picture Borders, though.
Add Video Word Picture Border Effects
  1. you can also try using Artistic Effects and Colors. However, these will be applied to the video thumbnail and not to the video, per se, which will appear normal while playing. You can also edit the video container’s height and width from the same panel.
Add Video Word Artistic Effects

How to Add an Offline Video to a Word Document

The downside to adding offline videos (or videos from your computer’s storage) to Word documents is that they will only play on your PC. Videos added from your computer won’t play if you send the document to someone else – this is why offline videos are not as useful as online videos.

Even so, if you’re making a presentation that you’ll end up playing from your laptop, adding one of your personal videos is a viable option. There are two ways to add a local video to your Word document. The first has you activate the “Developer” option in Word.

1. Use Developer Mode

  1. Open your Word document and go to “File.”
Add Video Word File
  1. Click “Options” at the bottom.
Add Video Word Options Bottom
  1. Click “Customize Ribbon” from the menu on the left.
Add Video Word Enable Developer
  1. Check the box in front of “Developer” and click “OK.”
  1. Once you’ve followed these steps, you should find a “Developer” tab on your Word document as shown below.
Add Video Word Developer Tab
  1. Now you are all set to put your video in your Word document. Click the “Developer” tab and the icon labeled “Legacy Tools” as shown in the image below.
Add Video Word Legacy Tools
  1. From the drop-down menu (under ActiveX Controls), click on the icon labeled “More Controls,” and a dialog box like the one below will appear.
  2. Scroll down to “Windows Media Player,” select it, and click the “OK” button.
Add Video Word Windows Media Player
  1. You’ll see Windows Media Player displayed on your Word document (as shown below). This stage is also the right time to set your Media Player’s height and width by dragging the margins of the player. It’s important that you make this adjustment now, as it will not be possible afterward.
Add Video Word Media Player View Doc
  1. Windows Media Player, at this point, won’t play any content. To add content to the player, right-click on it and select “Properties.”
Add Video Word Properties
  1. The Properties panel should show up on the left side of the display. At the top, you should see the “Custom” option. Click the horizontal three-dot icon next to it.
Add Video Word Properties More
  1. A dialog box will pop up, allowing you to use the “Browse” button to locate the video you want to add to Word.
Add Video Word Browse Local Videos
  1. Once you’ve found it and it shows in the “File Name or” field, press the “OK” button to continue.
  1. At this point, your video is about ready to play, but you need to do one more thing. To get your video playing in your Word document, head to your “Developer Tab” and click on “Design Mode.”
Add Video Word Exit Design Mode
  1. The video will automatically start playing.
  1. To remove this video, click on “Design Mode” again and hit Backspace.

2. Insert an Object

If you’re looking for a shorter method, you can try this alternative, but it’s not as elegant as the other, as it simply embeds an icon for your video into the Word document. To play the video, you’ll need to double-click on the icon. This approach could be useful if you want to remember to play the video at a particular point while you’re reading the document.

  1. In Word, select the “Insert” option.
  2. On the far right corner of the display, select “Object.”
Add Video Word Add Object
  1. Select the “Create from File” tab in the pop-up that appears.
  2. In the new window, find the video you wish to add to the document by pressing “Browse” followed by “OK.”
Add Video Word Browse For Video
  1. The media icon should now appear in your document.
Add Video Word Double Click Song Icon
  1. Double-click the icon, and a window will pop up asking whether you’d like to open the file.
  2. Click “Open” for the video to play in Windows Media Player.
Add Video Word Open Video

Frequently Asked Questions

Why isn't my online video showing up in Word?

Not all online videos are allowed to be embedded in Word. You’ll need to check on the video site to find out whether a certain video can be embedded. See if embedding another video works; if it does, you’ll know the original video you wanted to use in your Word document is not eligible.

Why is the “Online Video” option grayed out in Word?

If you’re using Word 2013 to 2019, and the “Online Video” option appears grayed out, make sure you’re not in “Compatibility Mode.” If that’s the case, you’ll notice [Compatibility Mode] after the document name in the title bar at the top of your Word window. To convert your document to normal mode, click on “File -> Info -> Convert.”

Can I add a YouTube video in Word for mobile?

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to embed the link. What you can do is copy-paste the link so that when the reader taps on it, they will be redirected to YouTube. The video won’t be available as a thumbnail, and you won’t be able to play it from within the Word app.

What happens to an embedded YouTube video if I convert the document to PDF? Will the video still be playable?

That won’t be the case. In the PDF, the video will take the form of a simple image (the video thumbnail). If you wish to add a video link to your PDF, you’ll need to use a third-party tool, such as Adobe Acrobat (paid version) or PDFelement. A web-based paid alternative is pdfFiller.

Image credit: Windows via Unsplash All screenshots by Alexandra Arici

Alexandra Arici
Alexandra Arici

Alexandra is passionate about mobile tech and can be often found fiddling with a smartphone from some obscure company. She kick-started her career in tech journalism in 2013, after working a few years as a middle-school teacher. Constantly driven by curiosity, Alexandra likes to know how things work and to share that knowledge with everyone.

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