Fix: PowerPoint won’t play audio or video

By: Matthew Adams
4 minute read

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PowerPoint presentations combine a variety of media into slideshows. Most PowerPoint users will probably add at least a little audio and video to make the presentations more interesting. However, PowerPoint doesn’t support every media format. So if the application isn’t playing audio and video in a presentation, that’s probably due to incompatible media formats or not having the required codecs for them.

What to do if you can’t play audio or video in PowerPoint

Table of contents:

  1. Set the Media Compatibility
  2. Check the codecs
  3. Make sure the video is supported 
  4. Convert your audio or video file
  5. Set the link value
  6. Clear the TEMP folder

Fix: Unable to play audio or video in PowerPoint

Solution 1 – Set the Media Compatibility

The first thing we’re going to try is setting the proper media compatibility settings in PowerPoint. This option will set everything in place, allowing you to play the embedded media seamlessly.

Here’s how to optimize media compatibility in PowerPoint:

  1. Go to the File menu, and select Info. 
  2. PowerPoint will detect if your media is incompatible with the program, and the Optimize Media Compatibility option will appear. So, select that option, and PowerPoint will optimize the embed media.
  3. Let the wizard scan the embed media. If the immediate solution is available, the wizard will resolve the problem automatically.

If the Optimize Media Compatibility option can’t resolve the problem, it’ll at least show you the culprit. Using that info, you’ll know what to do further. Which brings us to our next three solutions…

Solution 2 – Check the codecs

If you don’t have right multimedia codecs installed on your computer, you’ll have all sorts of problems playing audio/video. Including the PowerPoint problem we’re talking about here. So, check your codecs, if you have any installed already, make sure to update them. If not, install them.

If you’re not sure which codec pack to pick, check out our list of the best audio and video codecs for Windows.

Solution 3 – Make sure the audio/video format is supported

We’ve come to the probable core of the problem. In fact, if you’re unable to play video or audio in your PowerPoint presentation, there’s a huge chance you’re using an unsupported media format.

When it comes to audio, PowerPoint 2010 mainly uses WAV files! So, if you’re using an MP3 file in your presentation, you may encounter some problems. Things are slightly better in PowerPoint 2016. In addition to .wav files, this version also supports .m4a files encoded with AAC audio. Any other format is not guaranteed to work.

As for videos, the range of compatible formats is also quite limited. Microsoft recommends .wmv files for PowerPoint 2010, while the 2016 version adds up .mp4 files encoded with H.264 video and AAC audio. Microsoft also notes that Flash videos might not work in the newer versions of PowerPoint (2013 and 2016).

Solution 4 – Convert your audio or video file

As we said, even though PowerPoint may support the current format of your video or audio, it’s always the best idea to simply convert it to .wmv/.wma.

Fortunately, there are dozens of tools that can covert your media in no time. And since the choice is quite broad, we compiled a list of the best audio/video converters for Windows. So, make sure to check it out.

Solution 5 – Set the link value

Although using .wma files is recommended, it might be impractical. Mostly because .wma files are larger than other formats. And since PowerPoint has a little thing called limited link value. This option prevents you from including large files into your presentation. So, if your file exceeds the limit, you won’t be able to embed it.

The obvious solution to this problem is to simply increase the limit. Here’s how to do that:


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  3. Click “Repair All” to fix all issues with Patended Technologies (requires upgrade).

  1. Go to Tools > Options.
  2. Select the General tab.
  3. Set the value for Links Sounds With File Size Greater Than to 500000 KB (or whichever size is larger than the file you’re trying to embed).
  4. Click OK to save the changes.

Solution 6 – Clear the TEMP folder

Tons of temporary files are stored in your TEMP folder, and that may affect PowerPoint. So, if you’re sure you’re using the right formats and have all the necessary codecs installed, try with clearing this folder. Here’s how to clean the TEMP folder in Windows 10:

  1. Press the Win key + R.
  2. In the Run window, enter the following path:  %temp% 
  3. Select all the files with the TMP extension.
  4. Delete the files.
  5. Restart your computer.

There you go, your TEMP folder is now clean like new. Hopefully, this will resolve the palyback issues in PowerPoint.

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So those are a few ways for you to fix PowerPoint presentations that aren’t playing video and audio. Make sure the media file formats are compatible with PowerPoint and have the required codecs.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2016 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

RELATED STORIES YOU NEED TO CHECK OUT:

For various PC problems, we recommend this tool.

This software will repair common computer errors, protect you from file loss, malware, hardware failure and optimize your PC for maximum performance. Fix PC issues now in 3 easy steps:

  1. Download this PC Repair Tool rated "Excellent" on TrustPilot.com.
  2. Click “Start Scan” to find Windows issues that could be causing PC problems.
  3. Click “Repair All” to fix all issues with Patended Technologies (requires upgrade).

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