Adding Music and Sounds in Windows Movie Maker

Man holding a video camera
Glim/Getty Images

This free Windows Movie Maker tutorial shows you how to add a simple sound effect or a whole musical piece your movie.

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Importing an Audio File

Movie Maker screeen showing the audio file icon in the Collections window
Audio file icon in the Collections window. © Wendy Russell

Import an Audio File

Any music, sound file or narration file is known as an audio file.


  1. Under the Capture Video link, choose Import audio or music.
  2. Locate the folder containing your audio file.
  3. Select the audio file you wish to import.

Once the audio file is imported, you will notice the different type of icon in the Collections window.

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Audio Clips Can Only Be Added in the Timeline

Windows Movie Maker cautions that audio can only be added in Timeline view
Movie Maker caution box. © Wendy Russell

Add an Audio Clip to the Timeline

Drag the audio icon to the Storyboard.

Note the message box indicating that audio clips can only be added in the Timeline view.

Click OK in this message box.

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Audio Files Have Their Own Timeline

Audio Timeline in Windows Movie Maker
Audio Timeline in Windows Movie Maker. © Wendy Russell

Audio/Music Timeline

Audio files have their own location in the Timeline to keep them separate from pictures or video clips. This makes it easier to manipulate either type of file.

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Align the Audio With the First Picture

Align the audio file with the first picture in Windows Movie Maker
Align audio file with first picture file. © Wendy Russell

Align the Audio with a Picture

Drag the audio file to the left to align with the start point of the first picture. This will start the music when the first picture appears.

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Timeline View of the Audio Clip

Timeline shows where music ends in Windows Movie Maker
Timeline shows end of music. © Wendy Russell

Timeline View of the Audio Clip

The Timeline indicates how much time each item takes up over the course of the whole movie. Notice that this audio file takes up a much bigger space on the Timeline than the pictures. Scroll across the Timeline window to see the end of the audio clip.

In this example, the music ends at approximately 4:23 minutes, which is much longer than we need.

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Shorten an Audio Clip

Drag the end of the audio clip to the left to shorten it.
Shorten the audio clip. © Wendy Russell

Shorten an Audio Clip

Hover the mouse over the end of the music clip until it becomes a two-headed arrow. Drag the end of the music clip to the left to line up with the last picture.

Note: In this instance, I will have to drag the end of the music clip several times to reach the beginning of the movie due to its size. It is easier to do this if you zoom in on the timeline so that there is not so much dragging. The Zoom tools are located at the bottom left side of the screen, to the left of the Storyboard / Timeline.

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Music and Pictures Are Lined Up

Music is lined up with the pictures in Windows Movie Maker
Music and pictures all lined up. © Wendy Russell

Music and Pictures are Lined Up

Now the music clip is lined up with the pictures from start to finish.

You may choose to start the music at any time in your movie. The music clip does not have to be placed at the beginning.

Save the movie.

This tutorial is Part 4 of a series of 7 tutorials in Windows Movie Maker. Back to Part 3 of this Tutorial Series.