How To Record Narration In PowerPoint

In this article, you will learn how to record narration in PowerPoint, and how you can use this to your advantage when recording your presentation in advance.

Giving live PowerPoint presentations is not always feasible or sensible even. With the power of the Internet, you don’t even need to be physically present when giving PowerPoint presentations.

You can simply send your presentation file via email or some other file sharing network, and then have a friend or colleague play your presentation on your behalf.

If you want to reach a global audience, you can convert your presentation to a video file and then upload it to YouTube, Wistia, Vimeo, or any other video site. Do you see the possibilities yet?

Now, to make your presentation enticing, you don’t want to send it off with just static slides and some animations here and there.

You can’t trust your audience to understand whatever it is you’ve written down on your slides – trust me, it can get boring really fast! If you want to engage your audience, add an audio commentary to your PowerPoint file.

You can do this by recording your narration or commentary directly on PowerPoint. If you time your slides, your animations, and your narration properly, your audience won’t even mind that you’re not physically present!

What You Need To Record Your Narration In PowerPoint

Before you can start recording your narration, you need to have the following hardware present:

  1. A microphone – you can use your computer’s built-in microphone if it has one. Otherwise, an external microphone with noise-canceling features would be your best bet so it blocks out the noise and your audience can hear your voice perfectly.
  2. A working sound card – most modern computers have sound cards built-in, but for older ones, you may need to check if your sound card is working.

If you’ve got both hardware ready, you then need to make sure your computer is going to record at optimal levels. You can’t change this setting inside of PowerPoint. You need to go to your computer’s audio device settings and set your default microphone.

On Windows, you can easily find the settings on your taskbar. It will look something like this:

Make sure your microphone is working so you can record narration in PowerPoint
Make sure your microphone is working so you can record narration in PowerPoint

Select your recording device and adjust the microphone properties as you see fit. Don’t forget to hit OK to save your settings.

How To Record Narration In PowerPoint

Now that you’ve got your hardware ready let’s proceed to the main part of this tutorial.

  1. Select the slide you want to add a commentary on.
  2. Click on the Insert tab, and in the Media section, look for Audio.
How to record narration in PowerPoint – go to Insert tab then Audio
How to record narration in PowerPoint – go to Insert tab then Audio
  1. Click on Audio and choose Record Audio.
Click on Record Audio to record narration in PowerPoint
Click on Record Audio to record narration in PowerPoint
  1. The Record Sound dialog box will pop-up on the screen.
The Record Sound dialog box in PowerPoint
The Record Sound dialog box in PowerPoint

As you can see in the screenshot, you can change the default name if you like. To begin recording, simply hit the red Record button.

  1. Once you’ve started recording, the blue Stop button will be activated. When you’ve finished your narration, simply hit the Stop button (not the OK button), like I’ve shown in the screenshot below:
Hit the blue stop button to stop recording narration in PowerPoint
Hit the blue stop button to stop recording narration in PowerPoint

As you can see in the screenshot, the Record Sound dialog box displays the Total sound length. In our example, I recorded 25 seconds of narration.

  1. When you hit the Stop button instead of the OK button, you will see the following options:
Playback or make a new recording in the Record Sound dialog box in PowerPoint
Playback or make a new recording in the Record Sound dialog box in PowerPoint

You will be able to playback or listen to your recording. Alternatively, if you’re not happy with your recording, you can simply record a new one.

The reason I don’t suggest clicking the OK button right away, and just click on the blue Stop button instead, is because doing so would not give you the option to listen to your recording right after you record. You’d have to click on the audio icon that will appear on the slide after recording, and then hit the Play button. That’s an extra 2 clicks there.

  1. Once you’ve done recording, this audio icon will appear on your slide:
The audio icon that appears on your PowerPoint slide
The audio icon that appears on your PowerPoint slide

When you hover your mouse over this icon, you’ll see the following options:

Options that appear when you hover over the audio icon in PowerPoint
Options that appear when you hover over the audio icon in PowerPoint

You’ll be able to play or pause the recording, you can forward or rewind it to listen to certain parts, or you can drag your mouse on the timeline, and lastly, you can adjust the volume of your narration.

  1. Now that you’ve recorded your narration in your PowerPoint slide(s), the next thing you need to do is to go to Audio Tools. Click on the Playback tab to set when you want the audio recording to play (on click or automatically), what volume to play at (low, medium, high or mute), whether you want to play the audio across slides or to have it loop until your presentation stops, and more.

This is what the Playback tab looks like:

The Playback tab in PowerPoint’s Audio Tools
The Playback tab in PowerPoint’s Audio Tools

Play around with the different settings available until you’re happy with how your recording sounds like.

  1. Finally! The next step is to record the timings for your slideshow and make sure your recording plays well with your slides and your animations if any. You can go to the Slide Show tab and set up your presentation there. Don’t forget to tick the ‘Play Narrations’ box so your audio recording will play.
Make sure the Play Narrations box is ticked in PowerPoint
Make sure the Play Narrations box is ticked in PowerPoint

Final Words

Recording your narration in your PowerPoint presentation is a great way to make yourself present even though you’re physically absent. Just remember that when you’re recording, it’s best to use a noise-canceling microphone to avoid distracting your audience. If you don’t have one, you can try recording in the quietest room in your house.

Together, your well-designed presentation slides, and your audio recording, will not only make your presentation come alive but most importantly, will help convey your message to your audience.

 

You might also find this interesting: 5 Steps to Add Music to your PowerPoint Presentations