How to avoid YouTube ads when you play videos during your talk

Man with McDonald's sign seeming to stick out of his headIf you play a YouTube video in your talk, training, or Teams call, you can really engage people.

For example, a video lets you:

For all those reasons, I wanted to play some clips in a couple of talks I gave lately. But I was at first put off by all the ads that tend to show up on YouTube clips.

In this post, you’ll see a quick way around the ads, without violating the terms of service by downloading the video or using an ad-blocker.

To learn more, you can click any of these headings – or, just scroll down:

Extra tips:

Also in this post:


Let’s use this 1-minute clipScroll to Contents ↑

In the rest of this post, as an example, we’ll use the video below by Leila Gharani, who has more than 1.6 million YouTube subscribers.

This is a 60-second clip I showed in a talk last month. It demos chart animation, which helps your audience to follow your “data story”.

Notice that this video has no ads:


The problemScroll to Contents ↑

But, if you add a YouTube video to one of your slides (or switch to your browser to play the video on YouTube), you and your audience will probably see ads. And they can be extremely distracting – especially on a very short video.

What’s more, it’s tricky (or impossible) to play just a specific part of a video.


The solution – in briefScroll to Contents ↑

Luckily though, I found a workaround:

Like the clip above, videos embedded in a web page don’t have ads.
Plus, they let you play just part of the video.

So, to get either or both of those benefits, you can:

  • Copy the video’s details from YouTube.
  • Save them in a file on your computer (as detailed below).
  • Double-click the file to open the video without ads.


The solution – in detailScroll to Contents ↑

Here’s how you can copy a video’s details into a file, to avoid ads:

  1. In your browser, start the video on YouTube. (You can pause it if you want.) For example, you could go to
  2. Below the video, click Share.
  3. Share button

  4. In the box that opens, click Embed.
  5. Share box

  6. At the bottom-right of the Embed Video box, click Copy. (Click image to zoom in.)
  7. Embed Video box

  8. Open a text editor, like Windows Notepad.
  9. Paste the code you just copied from YouTube.
  10. To make the video as big as you can, replace the width and height (near the start of the code) with 100%, so the line starts like this:
  11. <iframe width="100%" height="100%" src="
  12. In a suitable folder on your computer (like Documents), save the file as an HTML file. (To do that in Notepad, you need to enclose the whole filename in quotes, which stops Notepad adding .TXT to the end. For instance, you might type "sample video.html" in the File name box, as shown below.)

    Notepad's Save As dialog with the file name enclosed in quote marks


Open the ad-free version of the videoScroll to Contents ↑

Did you work through the steps above on your computer? If so, you now have the file you’ll need. All that remains is to actually play the video, so let’s see how

Before your talk – to avoid the copy of the video with ads – close the browser tab with YouTube on it (which you opened in step 1).

Then, in Windows File Explorer, go to the folder you chose in step 8, and double-click your file (which opens it in your browser).

Lastly, simply click the video to play it.


Playing just part of the videoScroll to Contents ↑

If you want, you can even set up the video so just the relevant part of it plays.

For example, that’s what I did with the video above, to play just a 60-second demo (from a video that’s 10+ minutes in total).

Here’s how to control the timing like that:

  1. On the video’s timeline, notice the start and end time of the part you want to play.
  2. Convert those times into seconds. (For instance, the clip above ends at 1:08, which is 68 seconds.)
  3. Open your HTML file in Notepad, or another text editor. (You can open Notepad and then drag-and-drop your file into the program window.)
  4. Find the part of your file that looks a bit like this:
  5. Just before the 2nd of those quote marks, add this text:


    (where J and K are your calculated start and end times – with no spaces, and without pressing Enter).

    So, for the video above, part of your file might look like this (but without colour):

  6. Save your file (to make your changes available to your browser).
  7. If your file’s open in your browser, go to that tab and press F5 to refresh the page.


Making the video full-screen (to help people focus)Scroll to Contents ↑

To reduce distractions for your audience, it’s a good idea to put the video into full-screen mode. You can use either of these methods:

  • Press F11 to make your browser full-screen (which leaves a narrow border around the video). You can do this even before your talk starts.
  • After starting the video, click the full-screen button in the bottom-right corner (or press the letter F key).


Over to youScroll to Contents ↑

I’ve found this technique really handy recently when playing videos. Some of them were just a few seconds long, so ads would’ve disrupted them even more than in a long clip.

I hope you find these tips useful too. In the comments, let me know how you use them!


Related postsScroll to Contents ↑


3 thoughts on “How to avoid YouTube ads when you play videos during your talk

      • I tried it out by choosing Insert > Video > Online Videos in PowerPoint. An ad still appeared in a box at the bottom of the video, though, so I think what Diane saw was just what happens after you’ve already played a specific video. (In such cases, YouTube temporarily stops showing ads on it.)

        Also, I got a security warning when I next opened the PowerPoint file, and the video was disabled.

        Diane, if you see this, would love to hear how you went with this approach, or with avoiding ads in general.


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