How to Add Audio to PowerPoint

Include a running narrative or just comments in certain spots

powerpoint presentation cover

Let’s face it, no amount of technical wizardry will save a lousy talk, but a dynamic PowerPoint presentation can add spice to an already good one. The application 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, can bring your topic to life, and it’s easy to do.

Here’s how to add sound to PowerPoint slides.

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

How to Add Audio to PowerPoint 2016, 2013, or 2010

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

PowerPoint 365, also known as PowePoint Online, doesn't include the option to add audio elements.

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

  2. Select the Insert tab. Within the Media group, select Audio.

  3. Select Record Audio.

    powerpoint record audio
  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 reddish dot, to record your voice.

    You can use the microphone on your computer, or one you’ve connected to it.

    powerpoint record sound
    To record your voice, click Record.
  6. When you’re finished recording, select Stop, represented as a blue square.

  7. If you want to hear the recording you just made, select Play, represented as a blue 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 will appear within the slide.

    You can move the audio bar around to wherever you want within the slide.

    powerpoint audio icon
  10.  You can 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 the Playback tab. Then, within the Audio Options group, select the drop-down menu next to Start.
    3. Select Automatically.

    For PowerPoint 2016, select In Click Sequence.

    powerpoint play audio automatically

    To test this adjustment, go to the Slide Show tab. Within the Slide Show group, select From Beginning. Your presentation will play 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. Select the Playback tab.
    3. Within the Audio Styles group, select Play in Background.

    In PowerPoint 2010, select the Playback tab. Then, in the Audio Options group, from the Start drop-down list, select Play Across Slides.

    powerpoint play audio in background

    To test this adjustment, select the Slide Show tab, then, within the Start Slide Show group, select From Beginning. Your presentation will play 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. Select the file, then select Insert.
  13. To delete an audio element, select the audio icon, then 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. Click Insert > Audio.

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

  3. To preview the audio, click 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, click Start, then choose Automatically.
    • If you want to start the audio manually, choose When Clicked.
    • If you want the audio to play across your entire presentation, check the Play Across Slides box.

    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, check the Loop Until Stopped box.

    When the Play Across Slides box is unchecked, the recording will only loop while the slide it’s on is active; if the box is checked, the recording will loop 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, click the audio icon, then press Delete on your keyboard.