Tips for improving audio and video playback and compatibility

If you experience slow playback, a lag between audio and video, audio stuttering, and frames being lost, there are a few tips that may be able to help you to improve the audio and video playback and compatibility of any media you include in your presentation.

Tip:  Certain older video file formats may not compress or export properly in Office on a Windows RT PC. We recommend using newer media formats like H.264 and Advanced Audio Coding (AAC). Want to know what version of Office you are using?

Improve performance when using video and special effects

Improve compatibility and playback with hardware

  • Install more memory or insert a more powerful graphics card on your computer.

  • If you are using Vista or Windows 7.0, look at the Windows Experience Index in Windows to see what areas you can improve.

    Note: The Windows Experience Index measures the capability of your computer's hardware and software configuration, providing a measurement in the form of a 'base score'. A higher base score generally means that your computer will perform better and faster than a computer with a lower base score. See Windows Help and Support for more information.

  • Make sure your video card drivers are up to date. You'll need to contact the manufacturer of your video card or go online to their web site and verify this.

  • Turn hardware acceleration on. To do this in PowerPoint, go to File > Options > Advanced, and then under Display, make sure the Disable hardware graphics acceleration checkbox is clear.

  • Check that there's enough free disk space on the device that you'll deliver your presentation on.

  • Change the color depth setting to 16-bit. Color depth is the number of color values that are assigned to a single pixel in an image. Color depth can range from 1 bit (black and white) to 32 bits (over 16.7 million colors).

  • Close all other programs.

Considerations for linking to or embedding media files

  • It's a good idea to embed media files rather than link to them. Embedding media files will guarantee their playback, however it will increase the file size of the presentation. But you can compress the media files in your presentation.

  • If you must link to videos, make sure that you have a working network connection at the site where you plan to deliver your presentation. Also, be sure to test the connection before presenting. This will help you to identify problems before you start the presentation. The benefit of linking to the media is that the presentation file size will be smaller. However, be sure to copy the linked media files into the same directory as the presentation so that they will play.

Improve compatibility of media with earlier versions of PowerPoint

If your presentation contains a video or sound file from an earlier version of PowerPoint, you can upgrade your file format to take advantage of improved multimedia playback capabilities. Upgrading will automatically update and embed media items. To upgrade a file format in PowerPoint, on the File tab, select Info, and then Convert Document.

Note: Double-clicking a legacy video will display a dialog box that will allow you to upgrade your video files.

Clean out your TEMP folder

If you have a lot of files in your TEMP folder, it can slow PowerPoint (and other programs) down dramatically. So you'll want to periodically check and delete excess files in your TEMP folder.

To find your TEMP folder, do the following:

  1. Close PowerPoint and all other programs you are using.

  2. Select Start.

  3. Select Run.

  4. In the Open box, type %temp%.

  5. Select OK.

  6. Select the excess .tmp files, and then press DELETE.

    Note: You can usually delete any files that you find in your TEMP folder. If you get an "access error" message, it's most likely because you're attempting to delete a file that is in use.

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