If you want to play high-quality videos in your powerpoint slides, this is a must-read to avoid embarrassing black box during your presentation.

  • How does Powerpoint play videos?

Powerpoint doesn’t uses windows media player for video playback by default. Instead, It uses Media Control Interface (MCI). That means even if your videos play fine on windows media player, it has nothing to do with whether they will render fine in your presentation.

Take-away message: So you should always test your videos on MCI first!

Microsoft has an article explaining the How in details here.

  • How to test videos on MCI?

You may test your machine set up by manually starting the MCI player and playing the media file. To do so, for Windows XP, click Start > Run and type “mplayer2.exe” in the command line box and click OK. This will start the MCI player (Not the Windows Media Player) used by PowerPoint. You may then open your media file in the normal manner and play it. If the media fails to play in the MCI player it will not play properly in PowerPoint. (Note, Microsoft removed the MCI executable from Windows Vista, however the functionality is the same in PowerPoint.)

  • Crap, my files don’t play on MCI, now what?

Solution 1: Convert videos to .wmv and disable Hardware Acceleration!

Convert all your videos to the powerpoint-friendlier windows media format(.wmv). To do so, you may download Windows Media Encoder, which is a great tool that does the convertion for free.

However, .wmv isn’t the entire magic solution. When your videos are encoded at a high bit-rate for quality purpose, MCI might fail to render properly. This is partly due to the DirectX technology MCI uses. To work around, you need to disable or turn down Hardware Acceleration.

  1. Click on Start > Control Panel.
  2. In the classic view, double click on the Display icon.
  3. Select the Settings tab and click on the Advanced button. The Advanced Settings dialog box appears.
  4. Click on the Troubleshoot tab.
  5. You can disable the hardware acceleration completely by dragging the slider to the extreme left of the scale. Or you can also choose to turn down the hardware acceleration by selecting an intermediate value.

Now your videos should play fine in MCI, thus Powerpoint. 🙂

Solution 2: Convert videos to .mpg using QuicktimePro and that’s it!

MCI doesn’t support quicktime .mov files, but it supports MPEG-4 very well. So this solution uses QuicktimePro to convert all videos into MPEG-4 format. Notably, I’m using H.264 codec as it’s currently one of the best codecs out there. Here are the detailed steps:

  1. Open your video in QuicktimePro
  2. Select export… under File
  3. Choose Movie to MPEG-4, and click Options
  4. Choose H.264 for Video Format
  5. Set Data Rate to 4000 kbits/sec (this is suffice quality for most videos)
  6. Set Image Size and Frame Rate accordingly
  7. Hit OK to convert
  8. Change the file extension from .mp4 to .mpg so that Powerpoint can recognize the file as video for insertion

Once converted, there is no need to disable hardware acceleration, and the .mpg videos should play properly in MCI.

I personally recommend Solution 2, as no performance needs to be sacrificed, although you need to have QuickTimePro. 🙂

Solution 3: Bypass MCI & just Embed Windows Media Player

If the aforementioned MCI trick doesn’t work for you, there is another route: bypass MCI and just embed Windows Media Player in a PowerPoint slide full-screen. Here are the detailed steps:

  1. Go to the slide where you want your video to appear.
  2. You will need the control toolbox to be displayed. Click View > Toolbars > Control Toolbox, click on the last icon which should be “More Controls”. (For PowerPoint 2007, Click Developer tab. Under Controls, click on the icon “More Controls”.)
  3. Scroll to the bottom and click Windows Media Player. Cursor changes to crosshairs.
  4. Start at the top left corner and draw a box that covers the entire slide. Right click in the middle of your slide and select Properties. This will bring up the properties dialog box.
  5. Double-click fullscreen so it is set to True. In the URL setting, enter the filename of your video (include the path if it’s in a different directory).
  6. Close the dialog box and you are done.

If you have many videos to show in your slides, this solution could become tedious as you have to embed the windows media player for every slides you wanna play video on.

I just bypass the whole MCI issue and embed Windows Media Player in a PowerPoint slide full-screen.
1. Go to the slide where you want your video to apper.
2. You will need the control toolbox to be displayed. Click View > Toolbars > Control Toolbox.
3. In the Control Toolbox, click on the last icon which should be “More Controls”. (For PowerPoint 2007, Click Developer tab. Under Controls, click on the icon “More Controls”.)
4. Scroll to the bottom and click Windows Media Player. Cursor changes to crosshairs.
5. Start at the top left corner and draw a box that covers the entire slide.
6. Now, right click in the middle of your slide and select Properties. This will bring up the properties dialog box.
7. Double-click fullscreen so it is set to True
8. In the URL setting, enter the filename of your video (include the path if it’s in a different directory)
9. Close the dialog box.
One minor irritant I’ve noticed. If you press Escape while you’re testing the video in your presentation, it flips the fullscreen flag back to False. Make sure you right-click, select Properties and flip fullscreen back to True before you save your projec

To this end, I would really hope Microsoft to step up and solve this. MCI issue has been there for over 10 years, and the success of PowerPoint urges MS to really perfect it.

If the solutions don’t work for you, feel free to comment/email me.

50 Responses to “A Solution to Black Screen Video Playback in Powerpoint 03/07”
  1. Wow! I have been searching for this answer for three weeks and even took my laptop in twice to get the BLACK SCREEN problem fixed. Your advise fixed all my video conversion problems in 3 minutes! Thank YOu Thank You Thank YOu! I have a huge presentation to do to 100 doctors in a week….. now it will be a success because of you!

  2. Thanks a million for your note! I’ve been stressing out since my perfectly working presentation presented me with a black screen when I copied it over and ran through it on my newly set up Windows XP laptop. And I thought it was going to take me days to get this worked out. Instead, with your step by step solution, it took only seconds! Thank you again !!!

  3. I ran mplayer2.exe and an old version of Windows Media Player appeared, version 6.4. I have version 11, and it is wmplayer.exe. mplayer2 will play .mpg files but only after an error message is cleared. Still no good in Power Point, got the black screen.

  4. @John, the point of this is that PowerPoint doesn’t use the Media Player that your are used to seeing. It uses a very old media player classic that uses a very simple way of playing wmv’s. Very simple also means not much you can do beyond what is posted here. MS describes them as:

    * Media Control Interface (MCI) is the default media player that is installed as part of the Microsoft Windows® operating system. <—what PPT uses.

    * Microsoft Windows Media Player is a full-featured, stand-alone media player that you can install as part of the Windows operating system or download separately.

    If you have Office 2007 and most likely 2003 you can insert an actual media player into your powerpoint. You can Google for a how as it would take to long here in the comments but it does offer the advatage of having a complete player with volume and playback control right in you slide but some would argue it doesn’t look as nice as a clean slide with a borderless video playing.

  5. I am have the same issues that John above is having. The exact same thing happens when I run mplayer2.exe. Additionally, I have downloaded a simple program called GSpot that tells you if you have the needed codecs for a certain video to run it, and I have done this and the program says that I do indeed have all these codecs. I have been wrestling with this for 3 days and have a big presentation on Monday in which I might have to drop my videos from if I cant figure this out. I’m supposed to be practicing my talk not figuring out video issues!

  6. I am having the same problem as Amy and John. My video plays on MCI but still shows as a black box when it is played on PowerPoint. I’m using office 03 and can’t seem to find the solution to this!

  7. Same here again. I have an AVI file encoded with the Indeo 5 codecs. It does play in mplayer2, but not in PowerPoint (am using Office 2007).

  8. I had these problems trying to play .avi within Powerpoint and also using OpenOffice Impress. Almost gave up but found VirtualDub (www.virtualdub.org). This can do lots of video manipulation, but I loaded the avi and then saved as “old format avi” and hey presto, it worked in mplayer, Impress and Powerpoint!

    Good luck!

  9. Mark Petereit says:

    I just bypass the whole MCI issue and embed Windows Media Player in a PowerPoint slide full-screen.

    1. Go to the slide where you want your video to apper.
    2. You will need the control toolbox to be displayed. Click View > Toolbars > Control Toolbox.
    3. In the Control Toolbox, click on the last icon which should be “More Controls”. (For PowerPoint 2007, Click Developer tab. Under Controls, click on the icon “More Controls”.)
    4. Scroll to the bottom and click Windows Media Player. Cursor changes to crosshairs.
    5. Start at the top left corner and draw a box that covers the entire slide.
    6. Now, right click in the middle of your slide and select Properties. This will bring up the properties dialog box.
    7. Double-click fullscreen so it is set to True
    8. In the URL setting, enter the filename of your video (include the path if it’s in a different directory)
    9. Close the dialog box.

    One minor irritant I’ve noticed. If you press Escape while you’re testing the video in your presentation, it flips the fullscreen flag back to False. Make sure you right-click, select Properties and flip fullscreen back to True before you save your project.

  10. Rosa Mendez says:

    Thank you very much for your help. God bless you. I perform ultrasound studies in a GE machine. In my power point presentations, the video clips used to get dark when I click on them. I had had this problem for long time. I had asked help but nobody reallu knew what was the problem. Today I found your great page. I followed your instructions to disable the Hardware Accelerator and the problem dissapeared. The video clips look fine Thank you

  11. Lukasz Slowinski says:

    @ Mark Petereit

    Thank you for posting your solution. It saved us a lot of time.

  12. Thanks so much for posting this fix. I tried EVERYTHING except your fix to no avail. Your fix got me up and running.

  13. thanks man, your hack worked well

  14. I am so glad i found this note tonight…a million thanks! 🙂

  15. I can play the video on my laptop and it looks fine, but when I connect the projector it’s the “black screen” on the projector and video on my laptop. When I loaded my presentation on an XP laptop, no problems. Any help for VISTA platform???

  16. Mark — Genius!! Thank you so much for the solution! MCI wasn’t even loading on my machine (probably why regular video doesn’t work).. Microsoft can be so screwy sometimes.. 🙂

  17. achyuth vishwamithra says:

    ill explain u a simple way…..1)right click on the desktop
    2)click properties
    3)press settings tab
    4)press advanced
    5)press troubleshoot tab and disable the acceleration by dragging the pointer towards none

  18. Well neither of these worked and I have had this problem many times before. Simplest thing to do if you don’t mind having to click once the slide is up is:

    insert your movie, just for a backdrop………..
    create a text box with the name of the video.
    Right click the text box name and choose “hyperlink”
    then just link to the file you want. It will play anything that windows media player can play.
    this sounds silly but it works,

  19. Thank you so much – I chose the option of inserting the whole media player – I can now do school assemblies without having to do video clips separately. Helen.

  20. Thank you very much for help. In Microsoft help page they just mentioned set down drive accelerator, but not mentioned how to do it……thanks a lot…….

  21. Hi,
    At least in Powerpoint 2007 I found that it suffices just to change the file extension from avi to wmv. It seems Powerpoint acts on the file extension and starts media player which in turn understands what the format of the file really is…. ?!
    Anneke

  22. I did some research, read all of the various “solutions” to resolve this issue and then took a moment of pause. There is a simple solution to getting your videos to play.

    From the Slide Show Tab select “resolution” and lower the resolution incrementally until your video file will play. That’s it.

  23. Excellent article! My company’s quite odd security settings were blocking the installation of codecs needed to use MCI, so the info on embedding the WMP has made my life ever so much easier…thanks for the great help.

  24. I have windows 7 and powerpoint 2007 and have the same annoying black screen issue during the looping of avi’s. I bought the quicktime pro as on solution 2 and followed the instructions however all I get is a black screen when I insert the mpg into powerpoint. If I keep the file as an mp4 as opposed to mpg it continues to have a black starting screen however does play the movie once and then stops despite asking powerpoint to “loop until stopped”. This issue is seriously affecting my quality of life – do you have any suggestions?

  25. Thank you!

  26. Thank you so much, I couldn’t figure how to get it right. I tried this and it works for me. Thanks again!

  27. A free alternative to QuickTime Pro that worked for me is Windows Movie Maker, which came standard with my WinXP installation and can also be downloaded for free. I’d created an AVI video using the Linux MEncoder program, and it played fine in Windows Media Player but appeared as a black box in Powerpoint. I imported it into Windows Movie Maker and saved it as a .WMF file (bit rate 2.1 Mb/s), and the embedded WMF played fine in Powerpoint. Good luck all.

  28. Hi

    I have the same issue with black boxes, but its with images,a power point file was created using office 2003, it shows black boxes in powerpoint 2007 for some images, is there a solution for that?
    your suggestion is highly appreciated.

    THanks

  29. I have windows vista and when I was trying to follow your instructions to finally get rid of the black screen, I couldn’t find so of the stuff you said to click on. I can not find a settings tab. Please help me, this presentation is worth 20% of my grade.

  30. I can’t say how much I thank you for resolving my problems. I am now able to play the Movie Maker files using either embedding Windows Media Player within the developer control or simply insert an .avi file. thank you, thank you…

  31. Hi Colin, nearly 3 years on since you posted this article and its still providing help. Its 12:11am and I’m helping my Son with a PP presentation and the clip would only show up as a black box. Thank you very much. I can now go to bed.

  32. BTW, I’m in Australia :o)

  33. hi, i`m still in a very beginners mode in PP presentations , I tried solution 3 but the ” enter the filename of your video (include the path if it’s in a different directory) ” thing I couldn`t get
    I still have the black box! 🙁
    help!

  34. Bill Volcjak says:

    I’m pretty ignorant regarding the inclusion of video clips in PP (2007). I’m able to down load some 20 second clips into my Window XP based PC, get them into a Power Point and play them naturally fine etc. Unfortunately, I like many others am unable to get them onto a stick and play them back on another device / laptop. Depending on what I do, I either will see the all too familiar “black” slide or just see the video without audio.

    I’m thinking that I need a better understanding of processes that preceeds the in-depth steps listed above.

    Essentially, I’m copying and pasting my pp pres. and video files (either Real Player or VLC Media Player, tried it differently) into a folder, copying and pasting that folder onto a memory stick and attempting to play everything back on a secondary laptop. So, my question is should video clips be embedded or linked in order to play back in other devices? Can someone explain how I link them?

  35. Just download and install a codec pack: http://filehippo.com/download_codec_pack/

    Be sure to make sure you check the box for MPEG2, not sure if you need to, but I did and mine works. Lack of MPEG2 support for Power Point is the root cause, added the codec to your PC fixes the issue (at least in my case).

  36. Using the ‘imbed’ windows media player method. Works fine, EXCEPT that the first time you play the video, its full-screen. Any key (esc, forward, backward) does ‘nothing’ except drop the video back to non-fullscreen mode. Then a second esc, forward, whatever will stop the video, but at that point, the video has been changed to non-fullscreen mode. Doesn’t matter if you save it or whatever. The setting for fullscreen is now ‘false’.

    Is there any fix for this? I’d like to ‘set’ the PPT to permanently save the fullscreen state as ‘TRUE’.

    Kirby

  37. Thankyou Kirby! I too would like to know the answer to this question. Anybody?

  38. Hi Kirby,

    I have found the solution on another website: http://www.pptalchemy.co.uk/PowerPoint_WMP.html.

    See below:

    To put this right you need a little code.

    Right click the WMP Object and choose “View Code” You will see some code already there. You can delete this.

    Now copy the code below and paste it in.

    Private Sub WindowsMediaPlayer1_PlayStateChange(ByVal NewState As Long)
    With Me.WindowsMediaPlayer1
    If .playState = wmppsPlaying Then
    .fullScreen = True
    End If
    End With
    End Sub

    Note if your object does not have the default name (WindowsmediaPlayer1) you will need to correct the code.

    save as a macro enabled presentation i9f you have 2007 onwards and make sure macros are enabled.

  39. Ehsan Asghar says:

    Dear you are great. You have solved my problem with in no time. Thanks

  40. I’m adding a movie in my powerpoint presentation, and when I’m playing the slideshow, I’m playing the animated video in the presentation. But, as the movie ends, a black screen comes, instead of remaining at the last scene of the video.
    So, is there any solution to how to avoid that black screen and remain at the last scene of the video.

    Please reply asap.

  41. keith stclare says:

    I’m a senior (67) attending U of Houston – Victoria Texas….I prepare my assignments which describe chapters of a Child Development text…in PPT. The slides (graphics, clip art, text, animation, and youtube (mostly) video look great…except that when for the viewer (usually the professor) I save it as a make-a-video, I get great audio over a black box. I’ve seen a bunch of solutions, but most are for 03, 05, 07…and I have 2010. What shall I do? Thanks, Keith

  42. Thank you very much for the solution you provided. We were struggling to fix this problem since last 3 days. Now, it is fixed and working, Thanks so much.

  43. Brigitte Iten says:

    Thanks a lot! I already tried out your solution #3 and it worked perfectly!

  44. Thanks a lot!

  45. The issue is the video plays on my system….but when the same ppt is mailed with the video embedded it fails to play on the other systems. Is there a way to ensure that it will play on every system

  46. thanks a million Colin

  47. I tried to insert mp4 video using this method, but it doesn’t play saying it has a file extension like (.) and doesn’t recognize by window media player

  48. Seriously had to say thank you for posting this. After researching and hitting about 15 other sites, (including microsoft), spending hours trying different solutions, updating shit and installing SP3 etc. ad nauseum, nothing worked including changing file extension.

    I followed your solution 3 and it works! :))) I now have to ensure it will also play on other laptops as this is a major training presentation which will need to be distributed to other people including the trainer.

    thanks again, much appreciate your help…btw has this even been fixed by microsoft after all these years? it must be my computer idk.

  49. There is an elegant solution to playing MP4 files in Powerpoint 2003 or 2007.

    Powerpoint can’t play MP4 video files? Yes it can, with a little magic!

    I use Powerpoint quite a lot and having recently bought a video camera which produces High Definition (HD) 1080p video footage in MP4 format, I found to my dismay that Powerpoint can’t play these files. However, I have found a fix for this problem.

    1) Download the free VideoPad Video Editor video file converter and editor, this allows you to load your video clips in their original format and then edit / splice them together to assemble your movie, adding captions, sound files, narration etc.

    2) Save the result using “Preset HD1030” as an AVI movie file. This does not result in pixellation and loss of video quality.

    3) Download and install the XP Codec Pack.

    4) And now the very easy part – rename mymovie.avi to mymovie.wmv and Powerpoint should be able to play it. It really is that simple!

  50. i have windows 8 and power point 2010. suddenly, my embedded videos have stopped working. i can play them if i click on the link that i always put at the bottom of each slide,and go to the video in firefox, but the embedded video just shows a black box on the slide. this is a recent problem which just began about a month ago. before that i didn’t have a problem. when i look at presentations i made 2 years ago that worked fine then, they don’t work fine now. i ran kapersky and removed some strange toolbar, but that is the only thing i could find that was different on my computer. i put the videos on a flash and took them to school, and the same thing happens.

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