Add Audio to Powerpoint

One of the oldest tricks in the book is adding an audio narration track to Powerpoint. While it can be done with a video editor and slide images this method does it right within Powerpoint.

Slide Show menu displayed in Powerpoint with the Record Narration command selected

Selecting "Record Narration" from earlier versions of Powerpoint

Step 1: Once you have opened Powerpoint and you are ready to record your presentation, go to Slide Show on the menu. Scroll to Record Narration and select it.

Selecting Record Narration from the Powerpoint ribbon

Selecting "Record Narration" from recent versions of Powerpoint

Step 2: Narration recording settings. The images below will help guide you through the settings. To edit the settings, select Change Quality. Set the recording to Telephone Quality, 10Kbps, 11.025 kHz, 8 bit mono – Do not use any other settings. (For PowerPoint 2004 for Apple OS X, there isn’t an option for changing sound quality)

Next select Link Narrations in: (and select a location by browsing). You should link to the same folder that houses your Powerpoint file. A WAV file for each slide will be created in this directory.

Do NOT select OK until you have set the Microphone level (step 3)

Setting dialog box for recording quality

Record Narration Dialog Box

dialog box with options to adjust the sound quality for recording

Sound Selection Dialog box

Step 3: Microphone Check. From within the Record Narration menu, select Set Microphone Level. The microphone check will adjust the audio level as you read the text included in the box.

Dialog box for microphone checking in Powerpoint. Provides slider for gain attenuation.

Microphone Check with Gain Attenuation Slider

Step 4: Starting the recording. Once you have checked the narration recording settings, you are ready to begin recording. Select OK, and the dialog box below will appear. Make sure you select First Slide to have PowerPoint record the narration from start to finish. Once you select this, the first slide will appear, and your system will be recording. Give your presentation as you normally would, the recorder will keep track of the slide changes. Please note: your narration will not be recorded across slide transitions – only between them; in other words, your narration for each slide will need to be recorded while that particular slide is displayed.

Dialog box that provides option to re-record from the current slide or from the first slide

Re-Record Narration Dialog Box

Once you have finished your presentation, re-save your PowerPoint file in the same location as the .wav files. Deposit the PowerPoint file and .wav files into one zip file. The files will be large, so it will take a while to transfer them once they are zipped.

About John Tubbs

eLearning Developer
College of Business
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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