How to Do a Voiceover on PowerPoint

Narrate your presentations with ease

What to Know

  • Record a voiceover narration and your slideshow can run on its own, whether you are there or not.
  • You'll need a microphone attached to, or built into, your computer.
  • You can embed the audio or link audio files to the presentation.

This article explains how to embed audio for your voiceover narrations.

Instructions in this article apply to PowerPoint for Microsoft 365, PowerPoint 2019, PowerPoint 2016, and PowerPoint 2013.

How to Record a Voiceover for a Single Slide

Before narrating your PowerPoint presentation, be prepared:

  • You’ll need a microphone attached to, or built into, your computer. Test the microphone to make sure it is working. Set the sound level so your audio is easy to hear.
  • Prepare yourself for the narration. Write a script you can follow while recording the voiceover. Practice the presentation a couple of times so your voiceover will sound smooth.
  • Decide whether to record the voiceover one slide at a time or record a voiceover for the entire presentation in one go.

The simplest way to record audio for a voiceover is to record one slide at a time. To get started, select the slide where you want to add the narration, then go to Insert > Audio > Record Audio.

A screenshot showing how to find the Record Audio settings

Here’s how to record a voiceover on the slide:

  1. Type a Name for the voiceover narration.

    A screenshot showing the Record Sound controls in PowerPoint
  2. Select Record (button with a red dot).

    A screenshot showing the record button on the Record Sound dialog box in MS PowerPoint.
  3. Read your script or adlib the narration.

  4. Select Stop when you’re finished recording.

    How to stop a voice recording in PowerPoint.
  5. The Record Sound dialog box disappears, and a speaker indicating sound will appear in the center of the slide.

    The Sound Indicator on a PowerPoint slide.
  6. To review the recording, click that sound indicator and then select Play to hear your recording.

    The Play option to preview PowerPoint narration.
  7. When you're finished, click anywhere outside the playback controls to accept the recording.

You’ll see an audio icon in the middle of the slide. Move this icon anywhere on the slide to get it out of the way of other elements on the slide.

How to Record a Voiceover for an Entire Presentation

The voiceover for the entire presentation can be recorded at one time. In addition to recording a voiceover, you can record a video of yourself giving your presentation.

To set up your presentation when you want to narrate an entire slideshow:

  1. Select View > Normal

    The Normal View in PowerPoint.
  2. Select the first slide in the presentation where you want to record audio.

  3. Select Slide Show > Record Slide Show > Record from Current Slide.

    A screenshot showing where to find the recording controls to voiceover an entire presentation
  4. In PowerPoint 2019, the Recording window opens.

    In PowerPoint 2016 and earlier versions, a Record Slide Show dialog box will prompt you for further options. In the Record Slide Show box, select options to set up the slideshow:

    • Slide and animation timings: When recording, PowerPoint automatically tracks the timing of slide changes and any animations that occur.
    • Narrations, ink, and laser pointer: When recording, PowerPoint automatically tracks when narrations, any inking, or laser pointing occurs.

    Leave both checked to make automating your slideshow easier.

  5. Select Record.

    In PowerPoint 2016, select Start Recording.

    The Record option when recording PowerPoint Slideshow narration.
  6. Select Pause to temporarily stop the recording if you need a break.

  7. If you made a mistake and want to start over, select Clear > Clear Recordings.

    In PowerPoint 2016 select Clear > Clear Recordings on Current Slide.

    How to Clear Recrodings and start over with narration in PowerPoint.
  8. When you’ve finished recording a slide, select the Advance button to advance to the next slide or press the spacebar on your keyboard.

    Screenshot showing how to advance a slide while recording a slideshow in PowerPoint.
  9. When you’re done recording your narration on the slide, select Stop and close the recording window to return to the presentation.

You may have noticed some controls at the bottom left side of the screen. These are a few controls to aid you in your presentation.

The Recording tools at the bottom of the slideshow record window in PowerPoint.

These handy handy tools include the Laser Pointer, Highlighter, and Eraser. As you advance through your presentation, mark or highlight parts of your slides as you narrate. PowerPoint records the timing of these marks (if you left the boxes checked) to go along with your narration. Likewise, using the laser pointer shows a simulated red laser dot so that you can point out different things on your slides as you narrate your presentation.

How to Listen to the Recorded Voiceover

Once you’ve recorded your narration, you can go back to the slides and listen to your voiceover.

Here’s how to play a narration:

  1. Select the slide containing the voiceover you want to hear.

  2. Look for the recording icon on the slide. It should appear as either a small video screenshot or a speaker icon on the slide.

  3. Hover over select this icon and then click Play to preview the recording.

How to Turn a Voiceover Off

If you don’t want to hear your narrations when playing a slideshow, but want to keep the narrations with the slide, turn voiceover off.

To turn voiceover off, select Slide Show and click to deselect the Play Narrations checkbox.

The Play Narrations option in PowerPoint.

How to Delete a Voiceover

There are a couple of ways to delete voiceover audio in your presentation. To delete the audio on a single slide, find and select the recording on that slide, then press the Delete key.

To delete the voiceover from all the slides in a presentation: Select Slide Show and then select the down arrow to open the Record Slide Show menu. Then, select Clear Narration on All Slides.

Embedding Versus Linking Audio Files in PowerPoint

When you use the PowerPoint tools to record a voiceover narration, the audio file is embedded in PowerPoint. This means the audio is part of the PowerPoint file and not stored in a separate file, making it easy to play your presentation on any device.

If you have audio you recorded using other software and it's stored on your computer, you can link to the audio file. Linked files keep your presentation size smaller, but links can be broken if the audio file isn't available to the PowerPoint presentation. To prevent broken links, store the presentation file and the audio files in the same folder on your computer.