How to Embed a YouTube Video in a Google Docs

Google Apps is an excellent alternative to Office 365. It’s online, it’s free and it can do almost everything Office can. It also allows for easier collaboration without having to set up SharePoint, specific Microsoft accounts and all sorts of other configurations.

If you get G Suite, Google Docs includes email hosting for your domain name and more storage and administrative options for an office.

The core of Google Apps includes free services and apps, including Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Gmail, Google Calendar, and more. Of course, there’s Google Search and YouTube (owned by Google).  Different Google apps and services tend to work integrate and work together well, making collaboration with friends and colleagues a lot easier.

I use Google Docs, Google’s word processing application, a lot when collaborating on projects.

It is a simple way to contribute to a piece of writing. Google Docs saves changes automatically which are then visible to your collaborators. You can make comments and track changes on documents you are collaborating on.

You can share a Google Doc with others, permitting them to just “Can view” the document, to “Can comment”, or you can share your Google Doc with full “Can edit” permissions.

You always get to see the latest version of the document and can track what other people are doing. You can also work from anywhere, which is ideal for the freelancer, small business people, professionals, and students. If you own a domain name, consider signing up for G Suite, which enables the administration of multiple users on Google apps and email hosting.

Keep reading for exactly how to embed a YouTube video into a Google Doc.


How To Embed A YouTube Video In A Google Doc

As you would expect, given that Google runs Docs and owns YouTube, embedding YouTube videos in Google Docs is pretty easy.

It never used to be. For a while, it only worked in Chrome and Internet Explorer and gave errors in Firefox and Safari. Fortunately, all those glitches are fixed now so you get the full multimedia experience regardless of the browser you use. The process will start in Google Slides and finish in Google Docs.

Follow these instructions to embed a YouTube video into a Google Doc:

  1. Open Google Slides and
  2. Start a New Presentation.
  3. Select Video from the Insert pull-down menu

  4. Search for the video on YouTube from the Search tab or click the By URL tab to directly paste in the URL to the YouTube video
  5. Click Select to add the video to your slide

  6. Copy the video by pressing Ctrl+C
  7. Next, go back to the Google Doc that you want to insert the video into and select Drawing > New from the Insert pull-down menu

  8. Paste the image of the video then click Save and Close to place the image of the video in your Google Doc

    insert drawing into Google Doc

  9.  Then select the image of the video, then select Link from the Insert pull-down menu in Google Docs
  10. Enter the URL to the YouTube video and click Apply

    Insert link to YouTube video in image

  11. The playback button will be missing, so to get the playback button, double-click on the image of the video in Google Docs, showing the video and playback image in Draw.
  12. Finally, simply click on the play button and the video will play in place.

If you want to learn more about the Google Slides aspect of this process, check out How to Embed a YouTube Video in a Google Slide.

How To Embed A Non-YouTube Video In Google Docs

YouTube may be the largest video repository on the internet but it isn’t the only one. You might also have created your own video and want to include that in your Doc without uploading it to YouTube first. You can do that by following these instructions:

  1. Save the video onto your local computer and then upload it to Google Drive.
  2. Get a shareable link for the video from Google Drive.
  3. Take a screenshot of the first frame of the video to act as a placeholder within the Doc.
  4. Open your Doc of choice and click where you want the video to appear.
  5. Click Insert then Image and place the screenshot into the Doc.
  6. Drag, resize and maneuver the screenshot until it fits.
  7. Keep the screenshot highlighted and select Insert and then Link.
  8. Add the shareable link from step 2 and click Apply.

To take a screenshot, make the video full screen on your computer and press Ctrl + PrtScn (Windows). This will take a snapshot of the screen and place it in your default download folder.

Open the image in a graphics editing program such as and resize it as necessary. Save it in the same Google Drive location as the video for future use.

You can, of course, download a YouTube video onto your computer, up to Google Drive and link to that but it isn’t optimal. Depending on how you have it set up, sometimes video quality of self-hosted videos is restricted to 360p.

This is fine for most presentations, but if you need high definition, you are better of using YouTube directly. Your mileage may vary of course.

If you have any tips or tricks for embedding a YouTube video in a Google Doc, please leave us a comment below!

2 thoughts on “How to Embed a YouTube Video in a Google Docs”

Avatar Luis says:
The instructions are for Google Slides, not Google Docs..
Avatar GaryZ says:
When I click Insert in a Google Doc there is no Video. I’m creating a Doc, not a sheet or slide. What am I doing wrong?
Avatar Alan Soberanes says:
This is for google slides, not google docs.

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