Inserting SWF (Flash Movies) into Powerpoint

*** also see 

  1. If you don't know it by heart - write down the full path and name of the SWF file you want to use - you will need this later. For example:
  2. d:\project1\picnic.swf
  3. Choose View>Toolbars>Control Toolbox.
  4. Click the Hammer button (More Controls).
  5. Choose Shockwave Flash Object from the menu.
  6. click and drag upper-left to lower-right to create a box (this is called the "object box") across the screen to get the desired size and location.  Try to make your box roughly equivalent in size to the dimensions of the movie - but don't worry - we will adjust this later.  You will see a large black "X" going across the box
  7. Right click the box and choose Properties.
  8. In the Properties window, the top row says "Custom" - click the tiny button at the right with "..." in it 
  9. a new box pops up, but unfortunately has no "Browse" button.  But from Step 1 you have the full path and filename of the SWF file - enter that path and filename in the "Movie URL" field.  Our example was d:\project1\picnic.swf – if the path or filename has spaces, use double-quotes around it

  10. Set the other parameters - here are my own recommendations but these may need to be changed:
  11. Quality: best;      Scale: show all;      Window Mode: window.
  12. Check the boxes:  Play,  Loop,  Show Menu,  Embed Movie
  13. NOTE:  embed movie will insert the entire movie file into the ppt file, making it big.  You can leave this unchecked but will then always need to have the SWF file in addition to the PPT file in order to play the presentation and see the movie.
  14. Click OK. The selections you made, such as "Embed Movie" which is also an option on the 8th row - may not show up in the properties box yet, but they will if you close the box and re-open it
  15. find the rows that have Height and Width, and edit them to the correct value
     Close the Properties box using the "X" at the upper righty corner
  16. At this point you would expect the first frame of the movie to show up in the rectangle you made.  But you may still see the large black X in the widow where the SWF will play.  Don't worry, it will play once you hit F5 to "View Show".  However, if you see a Red X, then there is a problem (in that case see - he has some solutions for the Red X)
  17. click and drag to position the object box to play the video where you want it
  18. Save the PPT file
  19. Finally - hit F5, or select "Slide Show/View Show" to see the presentation. If your movie didn’t appear in Normal view, it will appear when you return to Normal view after running the slide show.

Loop Problems

1)      swf movie does not loop – for some reason, you need  to create a looping swf file, or else it ignores the Loop option in Powerpoint (and even in the Flash projector settings).

2)      swf looping movie skips frames at the end – the movie plays smoothly until right at the end where it loops – then a visible stutter occurs as it skips some frames.  It is a Camtasia issue with no fix – but there is a workaround:

Workaround - create the AVI with  extra frames at the end – you can probably use anything (even black video) since it skips – but to be safe, use the frames from the beginning of the clip – just copy the same clip back-to-back in Premiere and grage the work bar over across the extra frame/s.  As a rule of thumb – for 5 fps use 1 extra frame and for 10-15 fps use 2 extra frames, and for 20-30 fps use 3 or 4 frames.  You may need to use trial and error.

How to Test SWF files frame-by-frame   - you can start and stop the playback with CTRL-Enter, and you can move forward and backward frame-by-frame by using CTRL+arrowkeys (left arrow to backup one frame and right arrow to move forward one frame).  Unfortunately you cannot do frame-by-frame right at the loop point - when you reach the last frame, if you CTRL-> then it will start playing at regular speed.  Also, you cannot backup frames from the first frame to the last frame, because at that point the CTRL-< stop working.

Workspace Sizing Problem and the Fix

Powerpoint has a workspace that is 720x540 (3:4), and during “View Show” everything is enlarged to full screen, which is bigger but also 3:4.  Therefore, if I add a 360x240 image, it will be inserted into the 720x540 workspace at it’s actual dimensions.  But when I View Show, it is enlarged – as is everything else.  On my screen I use 1024x768.  Therefore the full workspace is enlarged from 720 to 1024 – a factor multiplier of 1.422

So my image will be enlarged from 360x240 to 512x341

To calculate what size your image must be to be enlarged to a certain size, use the inverse multiplier, which is .703125


This resizing causes a problem with flash movies, which insist on being played at their actual size – NOT enlarged !!  The object box is being displayed during View Show at the larger size, while the flash movie does not get resized !!!  Actually, the View Show is able to resize it once – so this works if there is no looping.  But for loping SWF files, they are properly resized for one playback - but then on subsequent loops it snaps back down to actual size !!!

For example, if I take a 360x240 SWF and set the Height and Width accordingly – the actual object box size is larger than that !!  When I view show – the video plays at the larger size for a few seconds, then snaps back in to it’s proper size, leaving a border, since the object box is too large.

See example below.


The Fix – set the properties on the inserted Flash Object smaller than actual – so that when it is enlarged during View Show – the video and object box are actually being enlarged to the original dimensions of the flash movie !!!  

Calculated Fix – use the multiplier of 703125 for the reduced size calculation.  For example, my 360x240 SWF file needs to have the WidthxHeight set to 253x169 in the Properties box.  (.703125 x 360 = 253  and  .703125 x 240 = 169).  Then the video plays correctly.

HINT:  use a colored background so that you can see the border between the video and the object box. 

Manual Fix - EVEN IF YOU DRAG THE HANDLES to what seems the correct spot – it never is.  You must use trial and error.   Iteratively hit F5 to View Show to play the movie In the project, drag the handles of the object box inward, hit F5 to view, and repeat until correct.