How to Embed a YouTube Video in a Google Docs

Posted by Jamie on November 21, 2016

Google Docs is an excellent resource for individuals or small businesses who don’t use office apps enough to warrant buying into Microsoft Office or 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.

I use Google Docs a lot when collaborating on projects. It is a simple way to contribute to a piece. Changes are saved automatically and pages are loaded dynamically. 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 or small business.


Embed YouTube video in Google Docs

As you would expect, given that Google runs Docs and owns YouTube, embedding YouTube video 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.

  1. Log into Google Docs.
  2. Click the blue New button on the left and select your Doc of choice.
  3. Select a theme and begin modifying the Doc as you see fit.
  4. Highlight where in the Doc you want to insert the video.
  5. Click Insert in the menu, then Video. A new window will appear with two options, Video search or URL.
  6. Enter the search term or URL as required.
  7. Highlight the video you want to embed into your Doc and click Select at the bottom of the window.

The video will now appear in the Doc within a customizable frame. Drag, resize and maneuver the box until it is in the position you want. Once done, the Doc will automatically save and you can continue your work.


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.

  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 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 Paint.net 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!

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

Luis says:
The instructions are for Google Slides, not Google Docs..
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?

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