How to Use a Video as a Slide’s Background in Microsoft PowerPoint

Using a video as a slide’s background in PowerPoint can create a visually engaging effect and help reinforce your message. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to implement this technique:

Find and Insert the Video

The first step is to find and insert the video you want to use. Here are the steps:

  1. Insert a blank slide that you want to use the video background on.
  2. On the Insert tab, click on Pictures and select Stock Images from the dropdown.
  3. Click on the Videos tab and search for the video you want. Make sure it is royalty-free to avoid copyright issues.
  4. Select the video, click Insert, and extend it to fill the entire slide.

Add a Shape Overlay

Next, you need to add a shape that will overlay on top of the video:

  1. Insert a duplicate slide after the video slide.
  2. Insert a rectangle shape that covers the entire duplicate slide.
  3. Fill the shape with a solid color that contrasts well with your text.

Add and Format Text

Now add your text:

  1. Insert a text box on top of the shape and enter your desired text.
  2. Format the text with your preferred font, size, color, etc.
  3. Optionally add visual elements like logos or images.

Merge the Shape and Text

Here is how to merge the shape and text:

  1. With the duplicate slide selected, go to the Format tab and click Merge Shapes.
  2. Select the rectangle shape as the merge shape. This will cut out the text, allowing the video background underneath to show through.

Adjust Video Settings

Finally, adjust playback settings for the video:

  1. With the video slide selected, go to Video Tools > Playback and adjust start, end, volume, etc.
  2. Make sure Loop Until Stopped is checked for continuous playback.
  3. Hide video controls if desired.

Presentation Tips

Here are some additional tips for effective video slide backgrounds:

  • Choose short videos (<1 minute) to avoid losing audience attention.
  • Ensure the video resolution matches your display resolution.
  • Use a subtle video that complements without distracting from text.
  • Test on the actual presentation equipment prior to the live presentation.
  • Have a contingency plan in case the video fails to play smoothly.

Alternative Approaches

If you run into issues using a video background, consider these alternatives:

  • Use PowerPoint’s built-in animation effects to simulate motion.
  • Display the video in a shape and overlay text on top.
  • Show the video normally, then overlay your slide text.
  • Use a static image that gives the illusion of motion.

The merge shapes technique works well overall, but it’s still dependent on hardware capabilities and the PowerPoint version. Having alternative approaches helps ensure your presentation is still impactful if the video background ends up not working for any reason.


Using videos creatively as slide backgrounds can make your message more memorable and engaging. With the steps outlined in this article, you can add video backgrounds to your PowerPoint slides. Just be purposeful in your video selection, prepare thoroughly, and have back-up options available if needed. Used effectively, this technique can take your PowerPoint presentations to the next level visually.