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Embed YouTube videos

How can I embed a YouTube video in an email?

Due to several security reasons, you cannot directly embed a YouTube video in an email message, but you can of course just link the video. To make it a bit more prettier, you can paste an image of the video in your message as a teaser and then link this image so that people can click on it to directly open the video on YouTube in their browser.

Step 1: Get an image of the video

To get an image of the video, you can directly get it by right clicking the image of the video that you will get in the search results of YouTube and choose “Save Picture As…”. The images shown in the Related Videos pane can also be saved directly to disk.

If you are a bit more creative, you can pause the video on a key moment somewhere during playback and take a screenshot by pressing the Print Screen (PrtScn) button on your keyboard and paste it in your favorite picture editing program; even Microsoft Paint will do! You can now easily crop the parts of the screenshot that you do not need and resize it to fit your email.

Depending on the picture editing software that you use, you can include a “Play” overlay button to increase the incentive for people to click on the image to start the video. I’ve created 3 “Play” overlay buttons to get you started. You are free to use these in your own creations and can be downloaded here.

A still image of this video at 33 seconds with a play overlay button.

Step 2: Insert the picture into you email

This is an easy step; create a new HTML message and insert the picture via Insert-> Picture…

If Insert-> Picture… is not available, you are either composing in Plain Text format or you don’t have the cursor in the message body.

Step 3: Link the image to the video

To get the link for the video on YouTube, YouTube has created a special box in the information section of the video that holds 2 links; one is called “URL” and the other one is called “Embed”. For the email link, you’ll need the URL link. Click in the URL box to select it and press CTRL+C to copy the link.
Of course you can also copy the URL directly from the Address Bar of your browser but sometimes this could hold some extra variables you do not need.

To link the picture, select the inserted picture from step 2 in your message and choose Insert-> Hyperlink… and paste the copied address via CTRL+V in the “Address” field and choose OK.

Step 4: Send the message

There is not really a step 4; just write, address and send your message like you would normally do ;-)

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