Back in June, I posted that if you’re running the 64-bit version of Microsoft Office, you couldn’t insert Flash movies, since the Flash player is only a 32-bit plug-in. Users of 64-bit Windows have also experienced a lot of problems when watching Flash videos, which is the format of most videos on the Web, like on YouTube, Vimeo and elsewhere.
So it was an excellent gift today when I downloaded the beta of Adobe Square, the x64 Flash player. There are actually two downloads: an ActiveX control for Internet Explorer and Microsoft Office, and a plug-in for Firefox and every other browser. You’ll probably want to install both.
As soon as I did — wham! — I was able to place Flash objects into PowerPoint and Excel. On the Insert tab, select Video/Video from File.
Someone had sent me an Excel workbook that contains videos (a teaching aide that I’ll review in the near future) and originally, all I saw were blank boxes. Once I installed Square, the videos played just great. I also noticed that YouTube videos play a lot more smoothly, without jumping, jittering, starting-and-stopping. Flash player 10.1 fixed a lot of that already, but Square seems even better.
A couple of caveats: since Square is still in beta, there’s no guarantee of anything, so if you experience crashes and whatnot, don’t say you weren’t warned. Also, the beta won’t update itself automatically and you won’t get reminders to do so. It’s up to you to visit the download page every so often to update it manually. Download it here.