Video and audio file formats get confusing quickly, because there are so many to choose from.

If PowerPoint doesn’t let you insert a video or audio file, you can fix the problem in a few steps and a modest amount of time. The simplest way to fix this situation is to take these three steps, which are described in this article:

  1. Find and download a file converter.

  2. Convert your video or audio file to a common format that powerpoint understands.

  3. Insert the converted video file in your slide.

If you simply want help inserting an audio or video file, see one of these other articles:

  • Add and play a video in a presentation

  • Insert or link to a video on YouTube (powerpoint 2013, powerpoint 2016)

  • Add audio to your presentation

Get a converter

A web search for “video converter” or “audio converter” will show you numerous converters that are available, many of which are free, such as the RealPlayer Converter. You can use a search engine or go to the Windows Store. Choose one that looks reliable to you, and download it to your PC.

Open the converter on your PC. Tell the converter the directory location of the file you want to convert. (The converter will leave the original file untouched and create a new file in the format you prescribe. See the format options in the next section.)

Choose a common file format

File format is not the entire solution, but it is an important part. The other factor is a software program called a codec, which encodes a video or sound recording digitally. It is possible to have a media file in the right format, but encoded by a codec that powerpoint doesn’t understand. If your file is already in the correct format, it is likely that the codec used to digitize the file is not supported on Windows and powerpoint. That’s why you get a converter: to update your file to an encoding named in one of the next two paragraphs.

Video:    In powerpoint 2013 and later, for the best video playback experience, we recommend that you use .mp4 files encoded with H.264 video (a.k.a. MPEG-4 AVC) and AAC audio. In powerpoint 2010, we recommend that you use .wmv files.

Audio:    We recommend using .m4a files encoded with AAC audio. In powerpoint 2010, we recommend that you use .wav or .wma files.

These and other common file formats are listed in the tables below.

Supported video file formats

File Format


Windows Video file (Some .avi files may require additional codecs)


Windows Video file (Some .avi files may require additional codecs)


MP4 Video file*

.mp4, .m4v, .mov

Movie file

.mpg or .mpeg

Adobe Flash Media**


Windows Media Video file


*Only powerpoint 2013 and later.

**Adobe Flash isn’t available in Office on a Windows RT PC. Want to see what version of Office you’re using?

Supported audio file formats

File format


AIFF Audio file


AU Audio file


MIDI file

.mid or .midi

MP3 Audio file


Advanced Audio Coding – MPEG-4 Audio file*

.m4a, .mp4

Windows Audio file


Windows Media Audio file


*Only powerpoint 2013 and later.

Insert the file in your slide

Once you have a converted media file in a suitable format with the correct encoding, go back to the powerpoint slide where you want to insert your video or audio file. On the Insert tab of the ribbon, on the Media panel, choose the arrow under Video or Audio, and then choose the appropriate command for inserting your file.

Additional information

  • powerpoint may also support additional file types if you install additional codecs on your PC. If you want to learn about finding codecs for your PC, read Are you having playback issues (in powerpoint)?.

    Also see Codecs: Frequently asked questions for more information. See Encoding Audio and Video with Windows Media Codecs for a longer discussion of codecs.

  • Certain older video file formats may not compress or export properly in Office on a Windows RT PC. Instead, use modern media formats such as H.264 and Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), which powerpoint 2013 RT supports. powerpoint 2010 supports the AAC format if the correct codec (such as ffDShow) is installed. Want to see what version of Office you’re using?

See Also

Error message when you try to insert an MPEG-4 or QuickTime Movie file: “powerpoint cannot insert a video from the selected file”

powerpoint cannot insert a video from the selected file” error when you try to insert an MPEG-2 video

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