man at desk working on computer in home office

Make PowerPoint presentations more accessible with closed captions in embedded videos

Feature deep dive
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LinkedIn

Hi, Office Insiders! I’m Peter Wu, a Principal Software Engineer on the PowerPoint team. In honor of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, I wanted to highlight the importance of making your presentations accessible to people with disabilities. And to help you do that, I’m thrilled to announce you can now add closed captions to embedded videos for your presentations in PowerPoint for Mac.

Closed captions in embedded videos

You’ve no doubt seen captions before while watching a video—they are the words that appear on top of the video as it plays (often at the bottom of the screen). Studies show that captions benefit everyone who watches videos, especially those watching videos in their non-native language, people learning to read, and individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Others might choose to use captions when their surroundings are too noisy to hear the video or they need to be quiet (and don’t have headphones).

Closed captions are content that is stored separately from the video pixels so that the person watching can turn them on or off. Videos often include multiple closed captions tracks: one in the language of the video and others in additional languages.

While PowerPoint for Mac can play closed captions that are encoded into the video file, it can be a challenging process to encode closed captions into a video. It’s typically easier to store the closed captions in a separate file. Now you can take closed caption files in WebVTT format and insert them into an embedded video in PowerPoint for Mac.

How it works

1. To insert closed captions in an embedded video, select the video and choose Insert Captions on the Playback tab.

PowerPoint for Mac screenshot highlighting the Insert Captions option on the Playback tab.

2. Select the file or files you want to insert.

PowerPoint for Mac file picker dialog box with WebVTT files selected for insertion.

3. To show the captions while playing the video, click the Caption button (Caption icon in PowerPoint for Mac.) to the far-right side of the video playback bar (or press Option+J) and then select the track that you want.

PowerPoint for Mac screenshot showing selection of captions that are overlaid on a video.

NOTE: Each file that you insert appears as a separate track on the menu. The captions will appear overlaid on the video as it plays.

Tips and tricks

  • PowerPoint for Windows already supports closed captions in WebVTT format, so now closed captions will play in your PowerPoint videos for both Windows and Mac (regardless of which version you used to insert them). PowerPoint for Windows has recently been updated to allow multiple files to be inserted at the same time as well.
  • There are many different apps and services you can use to create WebVTT files. For example, you can use Microsoft Stream to automatically generate closed captions, edit them for accuracy, and then download them as a WebVTT file. And because the format is very simple, you can also just type the captions in a text editor.
  • Even if you have live captions enabled in PowerPoint, or you have a professional captioner or sign language interpreter for your presentation, it is a best practice to create and insert closed captions into your videos ahead of time. They will be more accurate and better synchronized with the video, and participants will better be able to understand your message.
  • You can also insert closed captions from the Accessibility ribbon using the Insert Captions button.

    PowerPoint for Mac screenshot highlighting the Insert Captions option on the Accessibility ribbon.

Scenarios to try

  • Add closed captions to embedded videos in your PowerPoint presentation to make them more accessible.
  • Add closed captions in additional languages.


Closed captions in embedded videos is rolling out to Office Insiders running Beta Channel Version 16.62 (Build 22051100) or later.

Don’t have it yet? It’s probably us, not you.

Features are released over some time to ensure things are working smoothly. We highlight features that you may not have because they’re slowly releasing to larger numbers of Insiders. Sometimes we remove elements to further improve them based on your feedback. Though this is rare, we also reserve the option to pull a feature entirely out of the product, even if you, as an Insider, have had the opportunity to try it.


We want to hear from you! Please click Help > Feedback to submit your thoughts about this feature.

Learn what other information you should include in your feedback to ensure it’s actionable and reaches the right people. We’re excited to hear from you!

Sign up for the Office Insider newsletter and get the latest information about Insider features in your inbox once a month!