Why Doesn't the Music or Sound Play in My PowerPoint Presentation?

Laptop and tablet with headphones connected.


Sometimes the music plays just fine on your computer, but when you email your PowerPoint presentation to a colleague, they hear no sound. Why?

Music or sound file problems often crop up in PowerPoint for two reasons.

  1. The sound file size is too large.
  2. You used an MP3 sound file format rather than a WAV file format.
  3. Audio is set to play upon clicking instead of automatically.

So, how do you fix these sound problems?

Note: Instructions in this article apply to PowerPoint 2016, 2013, 2010, and 2007.

Sound problems in PowerPoint 2016 - 2010?

This issue has become easier to fix since Microsoft started automatically embedding sounds files by default since PowerPoint 2010. Other than having actual sound issues on your PC, the only other possible cause is not setting the sound to automatically play.

You may have the audio set to play In Click Sequence which means the audio clip will not play until you actually click on the sound icon during your presentation. But if you want it to automatically play, make sure you set it up properly.

What Causes Sound and Music Problems in PowerPoint 2007?

Firstly, most sound issues are because PowerPoint simply creates a link to the sound file on your computer rather than embedding the sound file into the presentation. If you then move your presentation to another computer or email it, the sound file is still located on your computer and not within the presentation.

Music or sounds can be embedded into PowerPoint 2007 presentations only if you use a WAV file format (for example - yourmusicfile.WAV rather than yourmusicfile.MP3). MP3 files will not embed into a PowerPoint presentation in any version. So, the easy answer is to only use WAV files in your presentations. The downside of that solution is that WAV files are huge and would make the presentation far too cumbersome to email.

Secondly, if many WAV sound or music files are used in the presentation, you may even have difficulty opening or playing the presentation at all, especially if your computer is not one of the latest and greatest models on the market today.

There is an easy fix for this problem. It is a simple four-step process.

Step One - Get Started Fixing Sound or Music Problems in PowerPoint 2007

  1. Create a folder for your presentation.

  2. Make sure your presentation and all the sound or music files you want to play in your presentation are moved or copied to this folder. All sound or music files must reside in this folder prior to inserting the music file into the presentation, or the process may not work.

  3. If you have already inserted sound or music files into your presentation, you must go to each slide containing a sound or music file and delete the icon from the slides. You will reinsert them later.

Step Two

You need to trick PowerPoint 2007 into thinking that the MP3 music or sound file that you will insert into your presentation is actually a WAV file. Thanks to two PowerPoint MVPs (Most Valuable Professionals), Jean-Pierre Forestier and Enric Mañas, you can download a free program they have created that will do this for you.

  1. Download and install the free CDex program.

  2. Start the CDex program and then choose Convert > Add RIFF-WAV(s) header to MP2 or MP3 file(s).

  3. Click on the ... button at the end of the Directory text box to browse to the folder containing your music file. This is the folder you created back in Step One.

  4. Click the OK button.

  5. Select yourmusicfile.MP3 in the list of files shown in the CDex program.

  6. Click on the Convert button.

  7. This will convert and save your music file as yourmusicfile.WAV and encode it with a new header, (the behind-the-scenes programming information) to indicate to PowerPoint that this is a WAV file, rather than an MP3 file. The file is still actually an MP3 (but disguised as a WAV file) and the file size will be retained at the much smaller size of an MP3 file.

  8. Close the CDex program.

Step Three

  1. Check that your new music or sound WAV file is located in the same folder as your PowerPoint presentation.

  2. Open your presentation in PowerPoint 2007.

  3. Click the Insert tab on the ribbon

  4. Click the drop-down arrow under the Sound icon on the right end of the ribbon.

  5. Choose Sound from File and locate your newly created WAV file from Step Two.

Step Four

  1. Click on the new sound icon that appeared on your slide. The ribbon should change to show you options for sound. However, sometimes this does not happen. In that case, click on the Sound Tools link just above the ribbon.

  2. In the Sound Options area of the ribbon, click in the text box beside Max Sound File Size (KB).

  3. Enter 50000 in the text box. This will allow a sound file size of up to 50,000 Kb to be embedded into your presentation.

What Happens Now - Will the Music Play?

You have tricked PowerPoint 2007 into thinking that your converted MP3 file is really in a WAV file format.

  • The music will be embedded into the presentation, rather than simply be linked to the music file. Embedding the sound file ensures that it will always travel with it.
  • The music is now disguised as a WAV file, but is a much smaller file size.
  • You were able to embed the music file in the presentation because you had increased the limit to the file size back in Step Three.

Don't have PowerPoint 2007?

• PowerPoint 2010 Sound or Music Problems

• Music and Sound Problems in PowerPoint (earlier versions)