Insert and play video in Office, LibreOffice apps

Creating videos has become easier for the average person with smartphones and inexpensive digital cameras. There are also many free an inexpensive software applications that can help you edit and view those videos.

Recent versions of office suites have joined the group of applications. Microsoft Word and LibreOffice can both import videos into documents.

Microsoft Office

All of the applications can handle images and other objects, but only two of them can have documents in their documents: Word and PowerPoint 2016. This is true of both the Windows and Mac versions of these applications. To access the video Insert interface, click the Insert ribbon in one of the four applications.

Microsoft Word for Windows

The latest version of Word cannot import videos stored on a local drive on your computer, but it has an import interface for online videos. It allows you to search YouTube or search the Web with the Bing search engine. The Bing results will mostly turn up YouTube videos.

This shows the three ways you can insert a video into Word 2016 for Windows.

There is a third choice: copy and pasting embed code. If you have uploaded video to your OneDrive account or to another cloud service, you can take the embed code and paste it in the associated text box, then click the Insert arrow button.

An image for the video is inserted into your document. It can be edited with Word's tools just like any other image. You can wrap the surrounding text around it, apply different borders and filters, change the effects, and other edits.

When you want to watch a video, click on the image for it and it will be played in a new window. Word (and PowerPoint) have a YouTube interface that looks exactly like the one when you play a YouTube video in a browser. Videos from other sites will have a similar interface in Word.

Microsoft PowerPoint for Windows

Unlike Word, PowerPoint can insert documents from a computer,  as well as online sources. The file formats are as follow:

  • Windows Media file (asf)

  • Windows video file (avi)

  • MK3D Video

  • MKV Video

  • QuickTime Movie file

  • MP4 Video

  • Movie file (mpeg)

  • MPEG-2 TS Video

  • Windows Media Video file (wmv)

  • Adobe Flash Media

These videos are treated like images, and you can perform the same edits as you can in a Word document. However, the videos can be played directly from the slide. A window will not pop-up to play the video.

Videos from online sources also can be played from the slides. PowePoint's online video insertion interface is also different from Word's. Instead of Bing, it has a link to your OneDrive account. Click on it and videos uploaded to your account will appear in the dialog.

Insert video dialog PowerPoint for Windows
This shows the Insert Video dialog for PowerPoint for Windows. It is different from the one in Word. It replaces the Bing search with a connection to OneDrive and Facebook.

At the bottom of the dialog is a button to connect to your Facebook account. Clicking this button will open the steps to login to your Facebook account in a new window. Your images and videos will appear in this window.

Mac versions of Word and PowerPoint

Browse Video dialog in Word 2016 for Mac
This shows the Browse Video dialog over the Media drop-down menu (red circle) in the Mac version of Word 2016. The same menu is available in PowerPoint, but the drop-down menu is called Video.

Like the Windows versions of these applications, all the editing tools for images are made available to integrate the videos with text and other elements in the document. However, the Mac versions have a different interface than their counterparts.

Both Word and PowerPoint have a drop-down item in the Insert ribbon that allows you to choose Movie Browser or Movie from File. In Word it is called Media, and in PowerPoint it is called Video.

Movie Browser opens a dialog that allows you to choose videos from the iMovie directory, Movies folder in Finder, or the Photo Booth directory. Click on one of these and icons for videos in the chosen one will appear in the lower part of the dialog.

If you click once on one of the videos listed, the Play button at the bottom of the dialog will become active. Clicking Play makes the entire video take up the lower half oh the dialog when it plays. Clicking the Play button again restores the bottom half so it lists the videos

 To insert a video, click and drag the desired video to where you want it in the Word document or PowerPoint slide.

Movie from File will open the Choose a Movie dialog that will allow you to find a video in one of the folders on your Mac's hard drive or a peripheral drive or remote drive connected to your Mac. The video will be inserted where your cursor is located.

Once a video is in the document or slide, a menu item appears to the right of View, Picture Format for Word and Video Format in PowerPoint. Clicking this menu item changes the ribbon to all the items Word and PowerPoint for Mac have to edit images. This includes adjusting the color, contrast, and transparency; changing the height and width; cropping the image; and changing how text wraps around it.

The videos also are played within the document. A separate window does not popup. To play a video in Word, simply double click on it. Once one starts playing, it will have pause and volume control buttons along the bottom of it.

In PowerPoint, there are playback controls at the bottom of the video, regardless of whether it is playing or not. These are present when you are editing a slide or reviewing the document in Slideshow mode. PowerPoint also has a Playback menu item that appears when you click the item that has various controls for adjusting how the video is played back.

LibreOffice

Insert video into LibreOffice
This shows the Audio or Video item in the Media sub-menu in the Insert menu of LibreOffice Writer. Videos can be inserted in Writer, Calc, Impress, or Draw.

As mentioned in a previous article in this blog, LibreOffice is different from Microsoft Office because you can create and open a document for one application from a document in another application.

This centralization also applies to other menus. One of those menus is Insert, which contains an Audio or Video item. Four of the applications have the menu and item: Writer, Calc, Impress, and Draw.

Videos are treated like images. Writer, Impress, and Draw have different tools to edit the images and integrate them with the text and other objects in the documents. In Calc, the image is a layer above the cells. The spreadsheet application does not have many tools for integrating it with the cells.

The media playback toolbar has the Play, Stop, Pause, and Volume controls to play the videos. They are played within the document. Unlike Word, a window does not pop up when the video image is clicked.

Here are the formats that can be inserted into a document:

  • FLAC Audio flac

  • Flash Video (flv)

  • Matroska Media (mkv)

  • Ogg Video

  • Quicktime Video

  • WebM Video

  • Real Media (.rm)

  • Digital Video (.dv)

  • Ogg Opus (.opus).

Neither one of the four applications has an interface for finding or inserting videos from online sources nor do they have the ability to insert embedded code.

Be sure to save your documents in the OpenDocument Formats, otherwise the videos will not be saved in them.

Conclusion

While Microsoft Office has an advantage over LibreOffice as far as video insertion capabilities, its users have a dilemma, especially if they want to insert a video in a Word document. If they are using a Mac, they cannot insert a video from YouTube or another online source. If they are using Windows, they cannot choose a video they have stored in their hard drives.

LibreOffice works the same regardless of which operating system it is running on, so Windows, Mac, and Linux distro users can insert videos and share their documents with someone else who is using LibreOffice on a different platform. However, in this situation the free office suite cannot be used as a companion for Office users, regardless of whether the user has Mac or Windows, because a video that is inserted and saved in a LibreOffice Writer document will  not be present if that document is opened in Word.

For this reason the open-source suite does not give the Windows or Mac user any reason to use it for video work if they have a copy of Microsoft Office. YouTube videos cannot be inserted unless they are downloaded, so this does not help the Mac user. Since videos stored in LibreOffice documents do not appear when they are opened in Office, it cannot be used as a method to insert videos into Word for Windows documents.

The best thing to do is work with the limitations of your office applications. If you are using Word for Windows, upload your videos to a service that creates embedded code, so you insert them. If you are using a Mac, download the desired videos. LibreOffice users also need to download the videos they want to use, and make sure they are in formats it can recognize. Whatever application you use to insert videos with, you will need to finalize the draft of your document with.

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