Narration is one of PowerPoint's least used and most misunderstood aspects.
Many people try narration within PowerPoint only to get frustrated and give
up. Surprisingly, most PowerPoint narration problems stem from outside PowerPoint – from
incompatible sound cards to loose microphone cables or messed up Multimedia
properties in the Windows Control Panel. Or maybe you set your Microphone
volume settings very low or even mute! That's why I've provided a checklist
of things you should do before you even attempt to begin narration in PowerPoint.
To record narrations from within PowerPoint, you will need
a sound card and a decent microphone. But before you do anything, even
before you launch PowerPoint, open Windows' own Sound Recorder (sndrec32.exe)
and try recording something – the most common problem faced by many is
that their microphone settings are not optimal – if Sound Recorder is able
to record your voice, then you should not have any problems recording your
narrations in PowerPoint.
If Sound Recorder fails to record, you may need to open
your Play/Record Control Properties – you can achieve this by double-clicking
on the small speaker icon to the right of your Windows taskbar – this will
open your Play Control settings – choose Options | Properties from the
menu – select the 'Recording' radio button and select OK – if your resultant
Microphone options is unchecked, check that option.
To record narrations in PowerPoint:
to Slide Sorter view and select the slide in which you would like
to begin narration.
the 'Slide Show' menu, choose 'Record Narration'. This will open the 'Record
Narration' dialog box.
you choose the 'OK' option, you might want to check out some options:
Set Microphone Level - This is to ensure that your microphone
is working properly. Click the 'Set Microphone Level' button and you
should be presented with a 'Microphone Check' dialog box - I received
an error which said 'PowerPoint is not receiving sound from the microphone'.
If you receive a similar error, and your microphone functions perfectly
in Windows' Sound Recorder (sndrec32.exe), then you can ignore this
Change Quality - Another option which allows you to change the quality
of the sound recorded - the best quality uses the maximum hard disk space
as also system resources when running the presentation. The three preset
options starting from the Best Quality are CD, Radio and Telephone. Using
Radio Quality provides the best balance.
Link Narrations - Be sure to check this box if you would like to
link your sound files rather than embed. This option also allows
you (a trick!) to later directly open the recorded sound files and edit
them in a sound editor
Finally - click the OK button.
will ask you if you want to begin narration from the present slide or from
the start of the presentation. Choose as applicable.
as per your script (if you have created one).
go to the next slide, click your mouse button or press the spacebar on
your keyboard. Complete the narration for all your slides. Press the 'Escape'
button on your keyboard. PowerPoint will ask you if you want to save the
timing with each slide. Click 'Yes' to accept. You've just completed your
Often, you can just record your narrations into PowerPoint
as a 'rough cut', choosing an option to link rather than embed the narration
sequences. Choose to save these linked files in the same folder as the
actual presentation, since keeping all elements of the presentation in
a single folder is very helpful when you want to transport the presentation
to another system.
If you are not happy with the way your narration sounds,
or if you used your narration as a stop-gap or temporary measure, then
replacing the narration files with edited or new sound files is possible
- although you have to be certain that the new files are not longer in
length than the original ones. And yes, they have to be named identically
to the original files.
There's another way to bring in narration into PowerPoint
and that entails recording your narration outside PowerPoint.
Here's how it is done:
voice-overs on your own system with a microphone or hire a professional
narrator to record it in a sound studio. Record all voices separately
- if you are hiring a studio, you can ask the studio staff to deliver
the output on a CD with a separate track for each singular narration in
WAV format. Now you have .wav files both ways – if you recorded on your
own or at a studio.
your presentation without any narration. Go to Slide Sorter view
and duplicate (Ctrl + D) each slide which has a narration. You thus end
up with twin slides.
the first of such twin slides, right click and choose your transition
timings to match the interval you require before the narration begins.
click the other twin slide, choose transitions, and select the required
.wav file as the transition sound. Remember 'NOT' to check the 'Loop
until next sound' option.
your timings and fine-tune the presentation. You're done.
Since we used sounds in transitions, all your sound files
are embedded within the presentation itself, so you may end up with quite
a large presentation. But if you use a high end delivery system, that may
not be a significant issue.