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Video Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

Constrain video clips to play within different shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows. Make sure that the video shape you choose is expansive enough so that your video content is not cropped too much.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 and higher



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When you insert a video clip within a PowerPoint slide, you'll find it placed as a traditional rectangular shape. And that's exactly what most users expect, since it seems safe and conventional. However, PowerPoint does allow you to have your video playing in different shapes such as a circle or oval, a wave, a triangle, or any of the shapes that PowerPoint includes. Just the fact that a video can be placed within a shape is no reason to forego the conventional rectangle. Do remember that most other shapes may crop out important parts of your video clips.

Follow these steps to constrain your video to play within a specific shape in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows:

  1. Open your presentation, and navigate to the required slide where you have already inserted a video clip. Select or double-click the video clip to bring up the two Video Tools tabs in the Ribbon. These two tabs are Format and Playback. Click the Format tab to activate it, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 1, below.
  2. Video Tools Format tab of the Ribbon
    Figure 1: Video Tools Format tab of the Ribbon
  3. Contextual Tab

  4. The Video Tools Format tab is a Contextual tab. Contextual tabs are special tabs in the Ribbon that are not visible all the time. They only make an appearance when you are working with a particular slide object which can be edited using special options.
  5. When you insert a video on your slide, it may display a black rectangle on the slide, as shown in Figure 1, above. If your video clip does not show a black rectangle, then directly proceed to Step 3.
  6. If you see the black rectangle in place of the video clip, then you will have to add a Poster Frame to your video clip, as shown in Figure 2, below.
  7. What’s a Poster Frame?

  8. A Poster Frame is a still picture from your video clip. You can manually choose a Poster Frame, especially if you see just a black rectangle on your slide, at the time of inserting the video clip. When you are choose different Video Effects, it is good to see a Live Preview of the actual video clip being applied with those Video Effects, rather than seeing a black rectangle. Anyhow, applying a Poster Frame is entirely optional, and has no relation to your being able to follow the rest of this tutorial.
  9. Video clip with a poster frame added
    Figure 2: Video clip with a poster frame added
  10. Within the Video Tools Format tab, click the Video Shape button, as shown highlighted in blue within Figure 1, shown previously on this page, to access the Video Shape drop-down gallery that you can see in Figure 3, below.
  11. Video Shape drop-down gallery
    Figure 3: Video Shape drop-down gallery
  12. Are Video Shapes the Same as Conventional Shapes?

  13. The Video Shape drop-down gallery is similar to Shapes gallery in PowerPoint 2013.
  14. Now, select any shape from the Video Shape drop-down gallery that suits your requirements. For this tutorial, we have chosen the Isosceles Triangle, as shown in Figure 3, above.
  15. This step constrains the selected video within the Isosceles Triangle shape. Play your video at least once to ensure that no important parts get cropped out. Figure 4, below, shows previously inserted video playing within the Isosceles Triangle.
  16. Video within the Isosceles Triangle shape
    Figure 4: Video within the Isosceles Triangle shape
  17. Once the shape of the video is changed, you can use Video Effects, Video Border, and the Video Styles to enhance its look.
  18. Rectangle or Rounded Rectangle?

  19. Try using shapes that are similar to a conventional rectangle such as a Rounded Rectangle or any of the Snipped rectangles, as shown in Figure 5, below. This way you can prevent large areas of the video from being cropped out when a shape is added. Even then, make sure you preview your video clip to make sure that no important areas are cropped out.
  20. Shapes similar to a rectangle work good as Video Shapes
    Figure 5: Shapes similar to a rectangle work good as Video Shapes
  21. Make sure to save your presentation.

See Also:

14 02 09 - Video in PowerPoint - Basics: Video Shapes in PowerPoint (Glossary Page)

Video Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Video Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Video Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

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