Not everyone’s cut out for public speaking. Yes, it’s a useful skill that can open up a lot of doors for you, but it’s also a nerve-wracking experience! Fortunately, the option to record a PowerPoint with audio is available, so you can relax and save yourself from anxiety. Now, recording audio is a bit confusing if you’ve never done it before. But don’t worry, I’ve got your back! In this tutorial, I will show you how to record audio on PowerPoint (both Windows and Mac).
Now, one thing I really like about narrating audio in PowerPoint is that the recording is done on a slide by slide basis. This means that if you’re narrating 10 slides and you make a mistake on slide #10, you don’t need to worry about reworking slides #1-9. You just need to deal with #10. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve saved thanks to this feature!
So, before you record, here’s what you’ll need…
1) A compatible version of PowerPoint
Fortunately, this feature is available for older PPT versions. However, if you rely on PowerPoint for the Web, then you’re out of luck. You need either Windows or Mac to record a PowerPoint with audio. Here are the compatible versions:
- PowerPoint for Microsoft 365
- PowerPoint for Microsoft 365 for Mac
- PowerPoint 2019
- PowerPoint 2019 for Mac
- PowerPoint 2016
- PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
- PowerPoint 2013
- PowerPoint 2010
2) A working microphone
Most modern computers have pretty good microphones. But if you want some professional quality audio for your presentation, then consider using an external microphone. Specifically, one with noise-cancelling features to block out any background noise.
That said, you need to go into your computer settings and adjust the microphone settings:
Go to Settings > System > Sound. Select the Input device you want to use. You can also test your microphone to make sure it works.
Go to System Preferences > Sound > Input. Select the microphone you want to use and slide the Input Volume slider to max level.
3) Speakers or headphones
Your computer speaker should do the job just fine, but a good headset will let you hear frequencies you won’t normally hear on regular speakers. You can also better gauge how your recorded audio sounds with a decent pair of cans. Here’s how you make sure your speaker is working correctly:
Go to Settings > System > Sound. Select your Output device and slide the Master volume to a volume you’re comfortable with.
Go to System Preferences > Sound > Output. Select the speaker you want to use and slide the Output Volume slider to max level.
Now that you’re set, here’s how to record audio in PowerPoint
The recording process is exactly the same whether you’re using Windows or Mac.
1) First, you’ll need to select the slide you want to add the narration on.
2) In both Windows and Mac, go to the Insert tab. Look for the Media button and select Audio. Click on Record Audio.
3) The Record Sound box will pop-up on your screen. You can rename your recording if you like. Hit the red Record button when you’re ready to roll.
4) When you finish recording, hit the Stop button. As you can see in the screenshot below, you’ve got 3 options:
* Hit Play to listen to the recording.
* Click Record again if you want to delete and overwrite the current recording.
* Insert the recording to your slide if you’re happy with it.
5) The audio icon will then appear in the center of your slide. I recommend moving the icon to somewhere in the bottom so it’s easier for you to playback later on. As you can see in the screenshot, clicking the icon will display the playback menu (play, timeline, forward, rewind, volume).
Like the template in the screenshot? Grab this free template here: 4 Step Hexagon Timeline PowerPoint
6) If you want to trim or edit your recording, click the audio icon first so you can access the Playback tab. Then click on Trim Audio if you want to trim or adjust the Fade Duration. Feel free to play with the different settings until you’re happy with your recording!
7) That’s it! You’ve successfully recorded audio on your first slide! Now, just repeat steps 2-6 for every slide you want to add a commentary on.
How to bring all the recordings together and record a slide show with narration
So, at this point, you’ve completed the audio recording for your presentation. It’s time to tie your narration together with slide timings and animations, if any. Do this if you want to have a more cohesive presentation.
1) On either Windows or Mac, go to the Slide Show tab and make sure the Play Narrations box is ticked.
2) When you’re done, you can then hit the Record Slide Show button to put the final touches on your presentation. Check out this tutorial from Microsoft for more information on how to do this.
3) When you’re ready to share your recorded slide show with the world, go to File > Export and select the file type you want to convert it to (MP4 is a common one).
Troubleshooting your PowerPoint audio recording
If you’re having trouble hearing your narration, make sure your speaker isn’t on mute. Set the volume to max level.
If nothing seems to be recording, check if your computer has a sound card (this shouldn’t be an issue for newer computers). Also, check to make sure your microphone is not set to mute.
Tips to make sure your PowerPoint narration is actually adding value to your presentation
Follow these pro tips if you want to make the most of your audio recording for PowerPoint:
1) Write a script
Unlike live presentations, you can delete and re-record your speech in a PPT narration. So, don’t wing it! Instead, write out a thoughtful script that will help educate your audience and get all your most important points across.
2) Audio quality matters
Nobody wants to listen to a recorded presentation with kids crying or dogs barking in the background. Record in a quiet location and/or use a microphone with noise cancelling features to minimize or eliminate background noise.
3) Timing matters
Your narration has to make sense to your audience. Don’t narrate step 2 when your slide is clearly showing step 1!
4) Put yourself in your audience’s shoes
Are they actually learning anything? Are you adding value to your presentation? If not, go back to the drawing board and figure out how you can help your audience understand your presentation better. Perhaps you need to re-record your narration or come up with a better script. Whatever you need to do, think about how your audience will react to your presentation.
Now that you know how to record audio in PowerPoint, are you looking forward to your first recording session? It may take you a few tries before you finally get the hang of it. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. Lastly, don’t forget to work on your public speaking skills while you’re at it!