How To Record Audio in a PowerPoint Presentation (With 3 Methods)
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It's often important for users of Microsoft PowerPoint to know how to add and record audio in the program. Including recordings allows users to play music, sound bites or narration to support the content of their presentations. Learning how to add and record audio in PowerPoint can help you create effective presentations for professional, educational and personal uses. In this article, we explain why audio is important in PowerPoint presentations, outline the steps for how to record audio in a PowerPoint presentation and offer some tips for using audio recordings to prepare effective presentations.
Why is audio in a PowerPoint presentation important?
Audio in slideshow presentations is important because it keeps presentations engaging, allows individuals to add sound clips that support presentation content and enables presenters to deliver remote, asynchronous presentations. For example, adding sound clips to signal transitions between slides can offer a helpful cue to your audience. You might also include clips that provide supporting evidence for the topic of your presentation, such as clips from interviews. Additionally, users can record themselves giving the full presentation and send the recording for viewers to access on their own time. This allows presenters to preserve their presentations and deliver them asynchronously.
How to record audio in a PowerPoint presentation
Here are the steps for a few different methods of recording or adding recorded audio to slideshow presentations:
1. Recording audio directly in the software
Recording audio directly in the software is a convenient way to add narration or sound clips to your presentation. Before recording, make sure you're using a computer with the microphone enabled. Check your computer settings to ensure your device has permission to record audio or consider using a microphone attachment for your recording. To record audio within the software, use these steps:
Open the program and navigate to the "Insert" tab in the toolbar. The toolbar is the menu that runs along the top of the screen.
Select "Audio" within the "Insert" tab and choose the "Record Audio" option. In the dialog box, name the audio file before clicking "Record."
Record the audio by speaking or playing the sound you wish the program to record. When finished, click "Stop."
Review your recording by selecting "Play." If satisfied with the recording, click "OK," or you can record again by clicking the "Record" button.
Click and drag the recording to place it on the slide. Test the recording by pressing on it to make sure it plays correctly.
2. Adding pre-recorded audio in the software
You can also add sound recordings from your computer to the program. You might choose this option if you wish to include a sound file recorded in another program, such as if you recorded an interview using a third-party recording application. Here are the steps for adding sound files from your computer to your slide show:
Record the audio and save it to a file on your computer. Name the file something descriptive so you can find the recording easily.
Open the slideshow software and decide where you want to embed the audio file.
Navigate to the "Insert" tab and select "Audio." Choose the option for "Audio on My PC" to open the "Insert Audio" dialog box.
Use the "Insert Audio" dialog box to select an audio file from your computer and click "Insert" to transfer it into the software.
Click and drag the audio file to place it on the slide. Click "Play" to test the file and ensure it plays as intended.
3. Adjusting audio playback
When working with audio files, it's also important to know how to edit them in the software. Although the tools for editing audio files in the slideshow software may be more limited than other third-party recording applications, the software offers several useful tools for managing audio playback. Here are the steps for accessing these tools with descriptions of some tools the program offers:
Open the program and insert an audio clip or select an audio clip that you've already inserted into the slideshow.
Select the "Audio Tools Playback" tab from the toolbar to review the audio editing tools.
Choose the tools needed to edit the audio for your purposes. For example, you can trim audio files, change the default volume setting, choose whether audio files play on command or automatically, loop files so they play continuously or set the audio clip to fade in or fade out during transitions.
Apply the editing tools as needed and save your work. View the presentation to ensure all audio plays correctly based on your preferences.
Tips for recording and using audio in PowerPoint
Here are some tips for using audio effectively in slideshow presentations:
Choose the right audio
When choosing audio clips to include in your presentation, make sure to pick options that offer value to your audience. For example, you may not need to include audio cues between slide transitions unless they serve a specific purpose, such as to return the audience's focus to your presentation after a break or period of small group discussions. Be intentional when choosing audio that serves a specific function in your presentation and choose clips that support your content rather than distract from it.
Use high-quality recordings
Make sure that your recordings are of good quality so your audience can hear them clearly. This means eliminating static or background noises that may impair the clarity of the recording. It may also involve trimming dead air at the start or end of the recording. You can adjust the quality of the recording by editing it in the program or using a third-party audio service. By providing high-quality audio, you can improve the audience's ability to comprehend the recording, limit distractions and improve audience engagement.
Include recordings only if you have permission
If you plan to use audio files that you didn't record by yourself, make sure you have permission to use them. For example, if you want to use a clip from an interview you conducted, be sure to have the interview subject's permission to include them in your presentation. Additionally, if you want to use an audio clip someone else recorded, you may need to ask permission or include a citation to credit the original creator for their content. For example, if you take a clip from a published source like a news story, you may need to cite it.
Speak slowly and clearly when recording
When recording your own audio, practice speaking slowly and clearly. Enunciate your words to help the microphone record them with the best quality sound possible. Speaking too quickly may make you harder to understand, so focus on talking at a pace where your audience can comprehend and process your words. When you enunciate well, you articulate the full word to make it easier for your audience to understand. Practice these habits before starting the recording. You can try rehearsing with another person, practicing in a mirror or doing a trial recording to assess your speech clarity.
Prepare notes ahead of your recording
Before recording your audio, prepare an outline or notes for yourself. Notes help you stay focused and organized during your presentation. They may also help you feel more confident about your speech while preventing you from going off-topic or forgetting important details. Preparing before you record allows you to determine what to say when you record yourself, which makes it easier to focus on addressing your key points in an order that's easy for your audience to understand. Additionally, feeling confident about your content may help you speak more clearly on your topic.
Limit background noise
If possible, record your audio somewhere that you can control the amount of background noise. Recording in a room where you can close the door to prevent interruptions can limit the number of distractions that may arise during your recording session. Also, consider how environmental noises may affect the quality of your audio. For example, recording outside on a windy day or near a busy street may affect your recording. Another option is to manage your microphone's input sensitivity. This reduces the amount of background noise your microphone records. You can adjust input sensitivity in your computer settings.
Control your breathing
Another way to improve the quality of your spoken recordings is to control your breathing. Feeling nervous about recording a presentation can make it harder to breathe in a steady rhythm, so taking time to control your breathing before you start can help you manage your nerves.
Additionally, your breathing can affect your pacing and enunciation when you speak. When you breathe in a slow and controlled manner, it can improve the quality of your speech by helping you to slow down and articulate each word fully. Controlled breathing also prevents you from exhaling into the microphone, causing unwanted noise.
Sync audio with relevant content
When incorporating audio into your presentation, make sure the audio plays when intended. Users can sync audio to play automatically through the slideshow's audio tool options, or they can set the audio to only play when prompted through a click or keystroke. Test the audio thoroughly by reviewing your slideshow with the audio ahead of your presentation. This gives you time to adjust it as needed and make sure it plays in time with the relevant content. Audio clips can be a great way to supplement your content when they're synced effectively.
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