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PowerPoint & QuickTime

Learn about PowerPoint & QuickTime.

By: Geetesh Bajaj and Jim Gordon

If you have just 2 minutes, read this...

If you don't have time to read two pages and want a quick solution to inserting QuickTime content in PowerPoint for Windows, you can either:

  • Ask the source of the QuickTime video/movie if they have the same clip available in a PowerPoint for Windows friendly format like AVI, MPEG, or WMV.
  • Buy a license of the QTVR ActiveX control and insert all sorts of QuickTime content in your PowerPoint slides - this is a free redistribution license one registers for, so they can ship it to clients with their content or their applications that make use of the control - and the conrol itself costs US$ 150 - and you'll have to follow the instructions here.... (and that will take at least half an hour). Also, it's now confirmed that the control works within PowerPoint 2007 too.
  • Convert your QuickTime MOV videos/movies to the AVI format using QuickTime Professional or some video converter products - instructions can be found here... (assuming you have the video conversion program, this might still take half an hour).

QuickTime Versions And Compressions
A Few PowerPoint-QuickTime Links
Inserting QuickTime in PowerPoint / Macintosh
Inserting QuickTime in PowerPoint / Windows
Inserting QuickTime Conventionally
Linked QuickTime Movie

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When one talks about using PowerPoint with QuickTime, you'll be forgiven for imagining we are working on the Macintosh. Actually, we are not discussing the Mac or Windows -- we're just looking at ways to use both PowerPoint and QuickTime together. While it is true that the relationship is without perils on the Mac, usage in Windows does have its pitfalls -- and we'll try to avoid those very pitfalls.

With so many unfathomable depths, you cannot fault those who suggest avoiding QuickTime altogether in the PowerPoint scheme of things. Yet, in today's world it is almost impossible to avoid QuickTime -- the format is everywhere -- from movie trailers to digital camera outputs and everywhere in between. 

This seems a good time to discuss the framework of this article -- we'll take a brief look at QuickTime, its cross platform virtues and vices, usage of QuickTime media in both Mac and Windows versions of PowerPoint -- and helpful hints to avoid bottlenecks. We'll wrap up with a look at QuickTime viewing technologies as well as QuickTime Professional. 


QuickTime Versions & Compressions

What's QuickTime? It's almost unbelievable that I'm asking this question here -- but more often that not, most of the problems occur because users don't understand the very concept of QuickTime.

QuickTime is a video compression and delivery format from Apple Computer -- first announced in May 1991. The first release of QuickTime on the Macintosh was launched on December 1991. The first Windows version of QuickTime was version 2, launched in November 1994. A complete QuickTime chronology can be found at the following site:

QuickTime History

The current version of QuickTime is 7.x - you can find more information at the QuickTime site:


Due to the restrictions in licenses, Windows versions of PowerPoint are not as QuickTime-friendly as their Mac counterparts. While you can insert almost any QuickTime movie in PowerPoint 98, 2001, 'X' or 2004 on the Macintosh, the same does not hold true for PowerPoint 97, 2000, 2002, 2003, or 2007 on Windows. These restrictions are more due to the way PowerPoint handles multimedia, specifically on the Windows platform, where you can only insert QuickTime version 1, 2 and 2.5 files. You can read more specifics and details at Austin Myer's famous PowerPoint multimedia treatise:

PowerPoint And Multimedia

George Birbilis who creates the QTVR ActiveX Control has provided more info:

On the Mac version of PowerPoint, Microsoft uses the QuickTime API but on Windows they don't use it; they seem to use their own libraries or QuickTime for Windows (that is actually QuickTime 2.0, which can coexist with QuickTime 3 and higher, for example QuickTime 6. Unfotunately, QuickTime 2 was only a subset of the MacOS QuickTime and not a cross-platform MacOS/Windows API as QT3+ is.

Now that we have a basic understanding of QuickTime involvement in the PowerPoint world, we can proceed to look at more ideas, resources and techniques.


A Few PowerPoint-QuickTime Links

An excellent introduction to QuickTime authoring on the Mac using PowerPoint 2001 by Derrick Story can be found OReilly's MacDevcenter.

Edu-Tech Center provides a rather informational introduction to PowerPoint multimedia.

You might also want to check up these Knowledge Base articles from Microsoft:

PPT: Error inserting QuickTime Movie (*.mov)
PPT98: QuickTime Movie Flashes, Blinks with Slide Transition
PPT97: Slide Show Hangs Playing QuickTime Movies on Windows NT
PPT2000: Unable to Insert QuickTime Movies
PPT2000: QuickTime Movies Play on Some Computers, Not Others

Here are a few links to Mactopia, the Mac section on Microsoft's site. These links were recommended by Jim Gordon:

Present with PowerPoint on any platform
Taking your PowerPoint presentations on the road
Collecting linked files in PowerPoint Packages


Inserting QuickTime in PowerPoint / Macintosh

Jim Gordon, a fellow MVP for PowerPoint has kindly provided this information:

QuickTime is supported directly in PowerPoint 98, 2001, X and 2004. The latest versions of PowerPoint (PPT X and 2004) have the most up to date QuickTime support.

It's very easy to insert a QuickTime movie. Just go to View -> Toolbars -> Movie to display the Movie toolbar. Click the Insert Movie button. You can choose a frame to display, set looping, etc. Or use Insert -> Movie from the file menu. Or put a button for this on any toolbar by customizing it.


Inserting QuickTime in PowerPoint / Windows

As such, PowerPoint versions 97, 2000, 2002 and 2003 allow you to insert QuickTime movies upto version 2.5 or any QuickTime movie that's rendered with the QuickTime Cinepak codec - unfortunately, newer QuickTime formats are not natively supported. In such a scenario, you can either link to a QuickTime movie as an object or convert your QuickTime movie to the AVI format or an older QuickTime format - we'll examine all these techniques on this page.


Inserting QuickTime Conventionally

This is the easiest route - eminently suitable if your QuickTime movie is pre version 2.5. Follow these steps:

  1. In PowerPoint, choose Insert -> Movies & Sounds -> Movie From File and navigate to your QuickTime movie.

  2. PowerPoint will prompt you if you want your movie to play automatically or not - choose your option. You're done!


Linked QuickTime Movie

This procedure links to a QuickTime movie - and is dependent on the availability of a QuickTime viewing engine such as QuickTime Player on the delivery machine.

  1. Create a text box or insert a picture to hyperlink from.

  2. Choose Insert -> Hyperlink.

  3. In the resultant dialog box, select 'Existing File or Web Page' on the Links pane on the left. Click the 'Browse' button to navigate to the QuickTime movie you want to play.

  4. During an actual show you can click this hyperlink to play the QuickTime movie if an associated viewing engine is available.


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