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.

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.

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.

Google Doc even gives you the option to assign other users permissions with your work. From “View Only,” to commenting and editing, the document is versatile and simple to use. With an auto-save feature, edits are available in real-time.

Aside from the great things we’ve mentioned, you can embed a YouTube video into a Google Doc. It takes a little work, but having a video in your document is pretty neat.

Keep reading for exactly how to embed a YouTube video into a Google Doc. It’s a slight workaround, but it’s proven to work.


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. Unfortunately, it does take a few extra steps and some know-how to get it done.

We’ll start by choosing the video we’d like to embed and going to Google Slides. Both Slides and Docs are free to use and extremely useful tools. We aren’t able to embed a YouTube video URL directly into a Google Doc. Using Google Slides first, we’ll be able to accomplish the goal of adding a video to your Google Doc.

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

  1. Open Google Slides first and click Start a new presentation.
  2. Select Video from the Insert pull-down menu.
  3. 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.
  4. Click Select to add the video to your slide.

Now that we’ve copied the link from Google Slides, we’re ready to embed the link in Google Docs.

How to Insert YouTube Video into Google Docs

Once you’ve successfully created the slide with the YouTube video, follow these steps to embed the link in your Google Doc.

  1. Click Insert in the toolbar at the top.
  2. Click on Drawing and select New.
  3. Using CMD + C or CTRL + C to highlight your video in Google Slides and copy the image. Then, navigate back to Google Docs and use CMD + V or CTRL + V to paste the video’s image into Google Docs.
  4. Select the image of the video, then select Link from the Insert pull-down menu in Google Docs.
  5. Enter the URL to the YouTube video and click Apply.
    • 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.
  6. Finally, simply click on the play button and the video will play in place.

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.

Adding Images to Google Docs

If you’d like to bypass the YouTube video and insert images, or you’d like to add them to your content, follow these instructions:

  1. Choose the image you’d like to upload and head to the Google Doc.
  2. Select Insert in the bar at the top.
  3. Click on Image – It should be the first option available in the dropdown.
  4. Choose the method you’d like to upload (from your computer, a URL, or searching the web, etc.).
  5. Double click on the image you’ve chosen.

The image will automatically appear in your document. If you need to resize it simply click on the image. Move your cursor the corners, top or bottom, and drag the image to a size that fits.

As stated above, there’s no need to worry about saving your document once you’ve uploaded the content because it has an auto-save feature. Even if you lose an internet connection or your computer dies, the changes you’ve made will still be there.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I embed a YouTube video directly into Google Docs?

Unfortunately, no. In order for this to work, you will need to use Google Slides and perform the steps above. You can however, insert the URL into Google docs and let your readers click it to access the video in a new window. Although this isn’t the best substitute, it will work in a pinch.

1. All you need to do is highlight the text you’d like to insert a hyperlink into.

2. Click the link icon in the toolbar, paste the link, and click Enter on your keyboard.

3. Once done, click the hyperlink to make sure it’s working.

Can I add an audio file to Google Docs?

Yes. You can add just an audio file using the same steps as above. You will need to embed the file into Google Slides first, then follow the steps for inserting the Slides into your Google Doc.

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