Adding a voiceover to your PowerPoint presentation is a useful way to enable to you present your content like you would in person, but without the need to present it live.
This could be when you want to upload your content to a website, for tutorial materials, sharing content within your organization or with clients. Also useful for collaborating with colleagues on a presentation when you’re all working remotely (particularly in different time zones when discussions are harder to schedule).
In this article, we will first look at how to record the voice-over narration for your PowerPoint Slide Show presentations, then how to publish the final version for sharing.
Let’s start with the basics.
1. How to ‘turn on’ the Recording tab in PowerPoint
First, you will need to turn on the ‘Recording’ tab so it is visible on the top ribbon.
To do this, right mouse-click on the top ribbon and select ‘Customize the Ribbon’. The ‘Customize the Ribbon’ dialogue box will open. In the menu on the right-hand side, under main tabs, select the ‘Recording’ check box then click OK.
2. How to Record voice over narration for your PowerPoint Slides
It’s a good idea to add the voice-over to your presentation as a final step – after completing the slides and after adding any animations or slide transitions. This will enable you to get the timing of your slides in the final presentation correct.
Preparing speaking notes and doing a practice read through before recording will help you to save time. It will also help you to make sure what you plan to say sounds natural and succinct.
You can either record the voice over narration for your whole presentation, or for each individual slide one at a time. First let’s learn how to record the voice over for each slide individually
To record voice over narration for each individual slide in your PowerPoint presentation
- In either normal or slide sorter view, select the slide you want to add a voice over to
- Navigate to the ‘Recording’ tab, select ‘Audio’ then click ‘Record Sound’ (you can also access the voice recorder via the ‘Insert’ tab, ‘Audio’ then click ‘Record Audio’)
- The ‘Record Sound’ dialogue box will appear. Here you can add a name to the recording by replacing the words ‘Recorded Sound’
For example, you could name each recording by the slide number, the slide title or another identifying feature
- Start your recording by clicking the Red dot below the recording name
- Once you’re finished recording, click the ‘Stop’ button, to the left of the ‘Record’ button. The ‘Stop’ button will be highlighted in red when you are recording
- To play back your recording, hit the ‘Play’ button – that is the first of the 3 buttons. It will be highlighted in green once you have stopped recording
- If you’re happy with what you have recorded and want to keep it, hit OK
- You will now see an audio icon on you slide. You can click on this to bring up a playback bar. Clicking on the play symbol will also playback your audio recording
- This audio icon will be visible on any slides that have recorded audio. To hide this icon from your final presentation, select the audio icon, navigate to the ‘Playback’ tab, and check the ‘Hide during show’ check box
- Now you have finished recording the voice-over audio for your first slide, you can continue on to record voice-overs for the rest of your presentation
- Once you have completed all your voice-over recordings for your PowerPoint presentation, you can set the timings for each of your slides, if you want the slide-show to run automatically. Alternatively you can choose to transition to each slide and play the audio file on mouse click.
3. How do I set timings for my voice-over narration in my PowerPoint Presentation?
You can decide whether to play your voice-over narration automatically or whether you want the audio to begin on mouse-click.
To set the timings so that your voice-over narration automatically plays during your slideshow presentation:
- In Normal or Slide Sorter view, navigate to the ‘Transitions’ tab
- In the ‘Timing’ group, under ‘Advance Slide’ check the ‘After’ box
- Enter how long you would like the slide to remain on the screen before advancing to the next slide in the slide show.
Tip: in slide sorter view, the length of each of the audio files connected to your slides will appear beneath each of the slides
- Follow this step for all slides in your presentation
If you prefer to play the audio manually, check the ‘On Mouse Click’ check box
4. How to play voice-over narration manually
Rather then setting the timings on each of your slides to play the recorded voice-over audio file automatically, you may wish to set them to play manually.
To set your PowerPoint presentation to play your pre-recorded voice-over audio files manually, follow these steps:
- Navigate to the ‘Recording’ tab and select the ‘Record Slide Show’ dropdown
- Select ‘Record from Beginning’ or ‘Record from Current Slide’. A new ‘Recording’ window will open
- At the top left-hand side of the ‘record window’ you will find the recording controls. Use these to record, stop and replay your recordings
The record button will convert to a pause button during recording
- To advance to the next slide in your presentation, use the arrow on the right-hand side of the slide you are recording. If you need to go back to the previous slide, use the arrow at the left-hand side. (You will need to stop/ pause recording to go back to a previous slide)
- At the bottom right-hand side of the window, you will find your microphone, camera and camera preview controls. You can toggle these on and off. Turning your camera on will add a video of you at the bottom right-hand side of the presentation
- When you finish recording, hit the ‘Stop’ button at the top of the ‘recording window’
- Hitting the ‘Replay’ button will replay the recording for the current slide in the ‘recording window’
- PowerPoint will automatically set the timings for each slide. The timings will include the time you spend speaking as well as any animations you have set up on the slide
Note: It is important not to continue speaking when you are transitioning from one slide to the next as the audio during these ‘transition’ periods will not be recorded.
6. Making changes to voice-over audio files in PowerPoint Presentations
You can amend your audio recordings for individual slides relatively easily.
If you are still in the ‘Recording window’ and you need to make a change to the audio recording, hit the ‘record’ button again and start speaking. PowerPoint will delete the original audio file and new timings will be saved.
If you have already closed the ‘Recording window’:
- Navigate to the slide that requires the update in your presentation, and from the ‘Record Slide Show’ dropdown menu (on the ‘Recording’ tab) select ‘From current Slide’.
- The ‘Recording window’ will reopen on the selected slide. Hit the ‘record’ button and start speaking. PowerPoint will delete the original audio file and new timings will be saved
7. Preview your PowerPoint Slideshow with the voice-over narration
Now that you have your voice-over audio files recorded, it’s time to see what the final version of the presentation will look and sound like.
To preview your slideshow, complete with narration and any other animations and transitions:
- Navigate to the ‘Slide Show’ tab on the top ribbon.
- Select ‘From Beginning’ to preview how your slide show will look and sound
- If you notice anything that needs changing with your audio files, timings, or animations, you can go back and make any necessary adjustments
- Once you are happy with the Slide Show presentation, it is time to publish it so you can share it with others
8. How do I publish a PowerPoint Presentation with voice-over narration?
Now that you have created your PowerPoint presentation and added voice-over audio files, you need to save it as either a PowerPoint Show, that is a .ppsx file or a video (mp4).
To save as a PowerPoint Show;
- Navigate to the ‘File’ tab, select ‘Save As’. Then scroll down the ‘Save as type’ list until you find the PowerPoint Show (.ppxs)
- Select the .ppxs file type and hit ‘save’
- When a .ppxs file is opened, it will automatically be opened in Slide Show mode and begin to play
Tip: If your file is very large, you may wish to reduce the file size of the PowerPoint presentation before saving as a .ppxs file, particularly if you are sharing via email. Learn how to ‘reduce the file size of a PowerPoint presentation’
To save your PowerPoint Slide Show as a Video (.mp4) file
- Navigate to the ‘File’ tab, select ‘Save As’. Then scroll down the ‘Save as type’ list until you find the MPEG-4 Video (.mp4)
- Select the .mp4 file type and hit ‘save’
- The PowerPoint Slide Show will be saved a video. When the file is opened, the Slide Show will automatically begin
We hope this step-by-step guide to recording voice-over narration to PowerPoint Slide Show presentations has been useful.
Visit our PowerPoint Tips blog page to find more tutorial information.
If you have any questions about how to perform specific PowerPoint tasks, please do not hesitate to reach out.
Please note: All instructions provided in our tutorial articles are based on PowerPoint for Windows 365 and are current at time of publishing.