How to Add Audio to PowerPoint

Include a running narrative or just comments in certain spots

Speaker on stage answering audience questions during a presentation

Django/Getty Images

A dynamic PowerPoint slideshow adds spice to your presentation. PowerPoint has many tools that allow you to get out of your bullet list comfort zone and try something new. An audio recording of your voice, or other sound effects, brings your topic to life, and it’s easy to do.

Instructions in this article apply to PowerPoint 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010; PowerPoint for Office 365, and PowerPoint for Mac.

How to Add Audio to PowerPoint on a PC

These instructions are based on PowerPoint 2019 and 2016, with minor differences for the 2013 and 2010 versions.

  1. Scroll to the slide where you want the audio to start.

  2. Go to Insert and, in the Media group, select Audio.

  3. Select Record Audio.

    A screenshot showing how to add audio to PowerPoint slides
  4. In the Record Sound dialog box, replace the sample name in the Name box with one of your own.

  5. Select Record, represented as a dot, to record your voice.

    To record your audio, use the microphone on your computer, or one you’ve connected to it.

    powerpoint record sound
  6. When you’re finished recording, select Stop, represented as a square.

  7. If you want to hear the recording you just made, select Play, represented as a right-arrow. If you’re not happy with the recording, select Record again to record new audio.

  8. Select OK.

  9. An audio icon and controls appear on the slide.

    If you want the audio icon to appear on a different place on the slide, drag it to a new location.

    powerpoint audio icon
  10.  To adjust whether the sound is played automatically or with a mouse click:

    1. In your slide with the recording on it, select the audio icon to access the audio tools.
    2. To enable the audio to play automatically, go to Playback and, in the Audio Options group, select the Start down arrow.
    3. Choose Automaticaly or When Clicked On.
    powerpoint play audio automatically

    To test this adjustment, go to Slide Show and, in the Slide Show group, select From Beginning. Your presentation plays from start to finish, including the audio element.

  11. If you want to make your recording play throughout the entire presentation, follow the steps above on the first slide of your presentation, then:

    1. Select the audio icon.
    2. Go to Playback.
    3. In the Audio Styles group, select Play in Background.

    In PowerPoint 2010, go to Playback, select the Start down arrow, and choose Play Across Slides.

    powerpoint play audio in background

    To test this adjustment, go to Slide Show and, in the Start Slide Show group, select From Beginning. Your presentation plays from start to finish, including the audio element.

  12. If you want to use a recording you already have saved as a file, follow steps 1 and 2 above, then:

    1. Select Audio on My PC.
    2. Navigate to the file you want to insert.
    3. Choose the file and select Insert.
  13. To delete an audio element, select the audio icon and press Delete on your keyboard.

How to Add Audio to PowerPoint for macOS

You can easily add audio to PowerPoint presentations using macOS as well.

  1. Scroll to the slide where you want the audio to start. Select Insert > Audio.

  2. Select Audio from File, navigate to the file you want, and select it. An audio icon and controls appear in your presentation.

  3. To preview the audio, select Play.

  4. On the Audio Format tab, choose the options you want:

    • If you want the audio to play when the presentation reaches the slide it’s on, select Start and choose Automatically.
    • If you want to start the audio manually, choose When Clicked.
    • If you want the audio to play across your entire presentation, place a check next to Play Across Slides.

    Your audio must appear on the first slide of your presentation to use this option.

    • If you want the recording to play again after it reaches the end, place a check next to Loop Until Stopped.

    When the Play Across Slides box is unchecked, the recording only loops while the slide it’s on is active; if the box is checked, the recording loops throughout the entire presentation.

  5. You can also change the appearance of the audio icon from the Audio Format tab.

  6. To delete an audio element, select the audio icon and press Delete on your keyboard.