How to Insert YouTube Videos in Google Docs

Google Docs is arguably the best cloud-based word processor around, and it makes composing documents a breeze. But despite its online-oriented nature, Google Docs cannot embed YouTube videos. What a downer! Also, a bit surprising since both services are part of Google’s suite of web apps.

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Don’t be disappointed. There’s a workaround that you can use to add playable videos right into your documents easily. And better yet, the videos should also be playable for people with whom you share it online, provided they have the appropriate permissions.

So if you are willing to overlook a couple of minor inconveniences, here’s how you can insert YouTube videos in Google Docs.

How It Works

Since Google Docs has no built-in functionality to insert videos, our workaround involves using Google Slides which supports embedding YouTube videos. Pretty useful for creating terrific presentations with rich media elements.

So, any video that you insert in a Slides presentation can be copied and pasted on a drawing inside Google Docs. Videos added that way are instantly playable on double-clicking them. Sounds pretty cool, right? To make the entire procedure easier to follow, go through these steps.

Step 1: Launch Google Slides, and then create a new blank presentation.

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Cool Tip:

Step 2: Bring up the Insert menu, and then click Video.

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Step 3: On the Insert Video pop-up box, either search for the video or feed the URL of the YouTube video. In the case of the latter, switch to the By URL tab.

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Step 4: Click Select to add the video in the Google Slides presentation.

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Step 5: The video should show up on a slide. Right-click the video frame, and then click Copy.

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Step 6: Head over to Google Docs, and then load the document where you want to embed the YouTube video.

Position the cursor where you want the video to appear. Next, open the Insert menu, point to Drawing, and then click New.

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Step 7: On the Drawing Pane that shows up, use the Ctrl+V shortcut to paste the video on the drawing. Click Save and Close to insert the video.

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Step 8: The video should show up within the document. Use the handles surrounding the video to resize the frame.

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Step 9: Make sure to use the In Line, Wrap Text, and Break Text options below the video to move the frame within the document as desired.

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Step 10: You may have noticed that the video lacks a Playback icon. So how can you play it? Well, you need to open the Drawing pane where you originally added the video.

To do that, double-click the image, and then click the Playback icon to start playing the video!

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You should see a full set of YouTube controls to manage the video as well! Once you are done, click Save and Close to exit the video. Yes, it’s a tad annoying having to both embed and play videos this way, but we’re stuck until Google implements necessary tweaks.

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When it comes to sharing your documents containing videos, you need to provide editing permissions for others to play them. While it would’ve been perfect if it worked for everyone regardless of what permissions they possess, that’s a limitation that you’ve got to endure if you plan to use this functionality.

Enhancing User Experience

The YouTube videos that you’ve inserted appear as an image. So other people may not actually know that it’s a video. One has to double-click on the video to play them.

Of course, you can leave instructions somewhere in the document. But even better yet, use the text insertion tools on the Drawing pane to create a message on the video frame itself.

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If you are wondering, any text laid over the video disappears during playback. Just make sure that the text box doesn’t overlap the Playback icon in the video frame.

Further, you can also stretch the video frame to the full extent of the pane so that the viewers don’t feel like they’re watching it inside the Drawing pane.

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That will not affect the dimensions of the video in the actual document, so don’t worry out about that.

Things to Remember

There are quite a few things that you need to keep in mind while embedding YouTube videos. Consider referring the list below for specifics regarding the workaround mentioned above.

Point 1: Only YouTube videos are supported. While Google Slides lets you insert videos hosted within Google Drive onto presentations, they won’t work on Google Docs using the workaround above. If you have your own videos that you want to embed, consider uploading them to YouTube first.

Point 2: Certain YouTube videos may not work. Usually, these videos are restricted from playing anywhere except on YouTube, and you can’t do anything about that unless you publish them on your channel.

Point 3: People with permissions to only view or comment on the document will not be able to play the videos. Once again, you need to enable editing permissions either for the public link that you share or to the individual contacts whom you add to your document. In the case of the former, consider creating a backup of the document as a safety measure against vandalism.

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Point 4: You can’t perform this workaround on mobiles. Neither can you — or any others with editing permissions — play videos inserted this way when using the Google Docs app on iOS and Android.

Point 5: After adding the video loaded drawing into Google Docs, you may safely delete the Google Slides presentation to which you originally added the video.

Embed Them Videos

So, what do you think about this workaround? Admittedly, it’s not the most convenient of ways to go about inserting videos, but it should come in handy more often than not, especially since your collaborators can also view them without hassle.

Here’s hoping that Google adds dedicated video functionality to Docs. After all, if Slides can have it, why can’t Docs? Until then, use this method to embed YouTube videos as and when required.

Next up: Finding it hard to fully make that switch from Microsoft Word to Google Docs? Click the link below to learn several reasons why you need to ditch it for good.

Last updated on 03 February, 2022

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