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, the following steps can help to help improve the audio and video playback and compatibility of your media-based presentation.

In this article

Improve playback performance

Windows or hardware-related actions that you can take

Considerations for linking or embedding

Compatibility with earlier versions of PowerPoint

Clean out your TEMP folder

Improve playback performance

  • Make your PowerPoint presentation smaller and improve playback performance by compressing your media files.

  • Install more memory or a more powerful graphics card on the computer. See below for more details on Windows or hardware-related actions you can take.

  • Limit or remove special effects in your media, such as shadows, reflections, glow effects, soft edges, bevels, and 3-D rotation to a video, from your video.

  • Optimize the media in your presentation for compatibility to guarantee the best possible playback performance.

Windows or hardware-related actions that you can take

  • If you are using Vista or Windows 7.0, look at the Windows Experience Index 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 that your video card drivers are up to date. You'll need to contact the vendor of your video card or go online to their web site and verify this.

  • Turn the hardware acceleration 'on'. To do this, click the File tab, under Help, click Options, click Advanced, and then under Display, clear the Disable hardware graphics acceleration checkbox.

  • Make sure that there is adequate free disk space on the computer that you will 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).

    For instructions on how to change the number of colors displayed on your monitor, see Windows Help and Support.

  • Exit all other programs.

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Considerations for linking or embedding

  • When your presentation contains linked video or audio files, if it is possible, it is a good idea to embed them instead. Embedding media files will guarantee their playback, but will also make the presentation file significantly larger. Linking files will allow you to change or update the media file. However, it is not possible to optimize linked video or audio files for compatibility. If the media is embedded, you'll want to optimize the media in your presentation for compatibility.

  • If you must link to videos instead of embedding them, 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. A 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 surely play.

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Compatibility with earlier versions of PowerPoint

If your presentation contains a video or audio file that was inserted using an earlier version of PowerPoint, you can upgrade your file format so that you can take advantage of the new audio and video playback capabilities. By upgrading, this will automatically update and embed the media items to the new format. To upgrade your file format, on the File tab, click Info, and then click Convert Document. Then, once you have upgraded, you can then optimize your presentation for compatibility.

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

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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. Click Start.

  3. Click Run.

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

  5. Click 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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