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PowerPoint and the Flash ActiveX Control

Learn about PowerPoint and the Flash ActiveX control.

By: Geetesh Bajaj

See Also: FlashPPT | PowerPoint And Flash Index | Inserting Flash Content in PowerPoint Manually | PowerPoint and Flash - Working Together | Tools that Insert Flash in PowerPoint

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Note: We also have a separate site called FlashPPT that provides updated content on using PowerPoint and Flash together

The Inevitable
No Direct Ways
So, What's ActiveX?
A Shockwave Flash Control?
Installing The Control

The Inevitable

Does Adobe Flash compete with Microsoft PowerPoint? True, PowerPoint has its own uses, its own following - but Flash is different, yet similar in a way. Conventionally, Flash is a web animation tool and PowerPoint is a premier presentation program. Yet, Flash is often used beyond its web boundaries as a multimedia, presentation or a game/quiz tool. PowerPoint has exceeded its limits to create web presentations, multimedia demos and the like.

Even then, Flash has no readymade equivalents of PowerPoint's outlines, transitions and bulleted lists. Nor can PowerPoint compete with Flash's output and streaming options. Somewhere down the line, a convergence between Flash and PowerPoint was inevitable.


No Direct Ways

So, how does one insert a Flash SWF movie into PowerPoint? You cannot insert a Flash SWF using the Insert | Movies & Sounds | Movie From File... command, If you do so, PowerPoint helpfully displays a dialog box detailing:

"PowerPoint couldn't insert a movie from the selected file. Either the file is non-standard, or QuickTime is not installed properly."

Wonder where QuickTime emerged within the PowerPoint-Flash connection!

Update: The message above appeared in older versions of PowerPoint.

Actually, importing a Flash movie into PowerPoint uses the ActiveX route - not QuickTime. So, what's ActiveX? Read on...


So, What's ActiveX?

ActiveX is the successor to OLE 1 and OLE 2 - in clear cut, unambiguous terms, this means that ActiveX is a technology that allows components, clients or controls to run individually integrated in another application.

The control could be a Shockwave Flash control - the applications are usually web browsers like Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Alternatively they can be any program which has the ability to communicate with an ActiveX control. In our case, this program happens to be Microsoft PowerPoint.

If you want to learn more about ActiveX, you can visit the following link:

Web Developer's Virtual Library has an excellent introduction to ActiveX. They also maintain an ActiveX links page.


A Shockwave Flash Control?

We've already established the fact that PowerPoint can accept an ActiveX control, enabling it to run independently within PowerPoint. There are more than a thousand ready-to-use ActiveX controls available presently, with newer ones being developed regularly.

There's even an Adobe Flash ActiveX control available - in fact if your installation of Internet Explorer is able to play Flash animations, it means you already have it in your system.

If you add up one plus one to get two, you must have realised where we are heading - we're confirming the fact that a Flash movie can be played within a PowerPoint presentation using its ActiveX control!



There are a few prerequisites to playing Flash movies within PowerPoint.

First, of course is the fact that you need to have PowerPoint to view and/or edit your presentation.

Secondly, you need to have Internet Explorer installed on your system - this question of course, is only elementary since all recent versions of the Windows operating system have this component installed.

Finally, the Adobe Shockwave Flash ActiveX control needs to be installed. Each version of Adobe Flash gives birth to an updated ActiveX control - and even if the ActiveX control is present on your system, it would be worthwhile to install the latest version.


Installing The Shockwave Flash Control

To install or update your Shockwave Flash control, all you need to do is to visit the following URL with Internet Explorer and follow instructions. If all goes well, your installation of Internet Explorer should be updated with the latest Shockwave Flash ActiveX control in less than 10 minutes on a 33.6 kbps dialup connection (faster on DSL, cable or most other options).


If you need to view more options, visit:


Note: We also have a separate site called FlashPPT that provides updated content on using PowerPoint and Flash together


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