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How to add audio to a 2007 PowerPoint presentation

How to add audio to a 2007 PowerPoint presentation

I love PowerPoint for creating sales and training presentations, but sometimes I want the presentation to run on it’s own – so I do not have to personally give it each time.  There are several reasons for this:

  • I’m leaving the presentation for a customer to show to his co-workers
  • It’s an instructional presentation that needs to be available in case a process is forgotten
  • I want the audience to be able to view the presentation at their leisure
  • I want the presentation to run at a trade show when I might not be immediately available

PowerPoint has the ability to automatically transition from slide to slide within a specific amount of time, but often the slide is not 100% self-explanatory.  ideally, I would like the slide show to automatically play, with my voice explaining each slide as if I was presenting it live. Luckily, there is a way to do this!

First: Write up each slide

I like to create my slides, using the notes section to write up what I will say during the slide. In the “Normal” view of PowerPoint, the notes section is right below the selected slide.

Shpwing notes section in PowerPoint Normal view

I find this practice is good because then the audience can print out the presentation with Notes, and I can be sure that my message will be conveyed properly.

Second: Create separate Audio files for each slide

Wile PowerPoint has a feature to record sounds, I use a program called Audacity to record my audio files.  Often when recording audio, there are background noises, breath pauses and audio noise.  For a professional presentation, you will want to remove these from the audio file.  Audacity is a free, easy-to-use, open-source audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. You can use Audacity to:

  • Record live audio.
  • Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together.
  • Change the speed or pitch of a recording.

I will layer the PowerPoint window with the Audacity window so that I can use Audacity while reading the notes on each slide in PowerPoint.

I will “read” the notes and create an audacity file for each slide.  I export each audacity file as “slide1.mp3”, “slide2.mp3”, “slide3.mp3”, etc.

As a note, always make sure that you are using a good microphone / headset, so that the post-processing of the audio is minimal.

Third: Insert Audio File into each Slide

In PowerPoint, click the Insert menu, and select the drop-down of the “Sound” icon

Select the “Sound from File” option, and browse for your audio tracks.

Once you have selected your audio file, PowerPoint will ask “How do you want the sound to start in the slideshow?” “Automatically” or “When Clicked”.

Select “Automatically” and a little speaker icon will be inserted into your slide.  I usually drag the speaker icon to the lower left corner of the slide so it is out of the way.

Lastly: change slide transition to match audio length

the last thing is to change the slide’s animation so that the slide transitions automatically once the audio is finished.  Click on the “Animations” menu item, and on the far right is “Advance Slide” section

Make sure that the “Automatically after” check box is selected, and that the numbers equal or exceed the number of seconds of the audio file.

Finally save the presentation, or to make is a complete package for distribution on a USB stick or a CD, select Publish, and “package for CD”.

That’s it!

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