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Inserting Video into Worksheets

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Inserting Video into Worksheets.

Excel allows you to add more to your workbooks than just numbers or text. You can also add all sorts of other objects. For instance, you can add simple graphics, pictures, or even videos. How you add graphics and pictures has been covered in other ExcelTips. Adding video is a horse of a different color, however.

Why is adding video different? The primary reason is because videos can be so huge. Consider the normal way to add objects:

  1. Choose Object from the Insert menu. You will see the Object dialog box.
  2. Click on the Create from File tab. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Create from File tab of the Object dialog box.

  4. Use the controls on the dialog box to locate the video file that you want.
  5. Make sure the Display As Icon check box is selected.
  6. Click on OK.

Did you notice that the Object dialog box had a check box that controlled whether the video would be linked or not? The default is for the video not to be linked, which means it will be embedded. Videos are notoriously huge, and the size of that video (however many megabytes or gigabytes it is) is added to your workbook when the video is embedded. This makes the workbook much harder to distribute to others.

You might think that the size issue can be solved by not embedding and, instead, linking to the video. While this does solve some issues, it raises others. When the video is linked, only the path to the file is stored in the document, but it is a fully qualified path. This means that, even if both documents are in the same directory, the directory name becomes part of the link. If you move both files or send them to someone else who stores them on their system, the link is automatically broken.

Another thing to keep in mind—regardless of whether you link or embed—is that if you share your workbook with others, they need to have a video player capable of playing the video you've added to the workbook.

A totally different approach is to simply hyperlink to your videos. You can either upload the videos to a video sharing service (such as YouTube) or you can put them on a local drive. Either way, a hyperlink is easy to add to your worksheet. Assuming that the video is something that can be played by your Web browser, the hyperlink could be a good route to go.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6861) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Inserting Video into Worksheets.

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