How to Do a Voiceover on PowerPoint

Narrate your presentations with ease

Image of a Smiling businesswoman giving a recorded presentation in office

Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

You don’t have to stand in front of your audience to deliver a PowerPoint presentation. Record a voiceover narration and your slideshow can run on its own, be it in a kiosk or as a video. Here’s how to record audio on PowerPoint to create voiceovers for your slides.

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

Before You Begin

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.

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. To prevent broken links, store the presentation file and the audio files in the same folder on your computer.

These directions only explain how to embed audio for your voiceover narrations.

How to Record a Voiceover for a Single Slide

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 red dot).

  3. Read your script or adlib the narration.

  4. Select Stop (button with black square) when you’re finished recording.

  5. Select Play to hear your voiceover.

  6. Select OK to add the audio file to the slide.

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 video of yourself giving your presentation.

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

  1. Select View > Normal

  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. A Record Slide Show box will prompt you for further options. Except in PowerPoint 2019, where the Recording window opens.

    Slide Show recording options displayed in PowerPoint 2016.

In the Record Slide Show box, select options to set up the slideshow:

  1. 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.

  2. It's best to leave both checked to make automating your slideshow easier.

  3. To record your narration on the first slide, select Start Recording. In PowerPoint 2019, select Record.

  4. Select Pause to temporarily stop the recording if you need a break.

  5. If you made a mistake and want to start over, select Clear > Clear Recordings on Current Slide. In PowerPoint 2019, select Clear existing Recordings.

  6. When you’ve finished recording a slide, select Advance to the next slide or press the spacebar on your keyboard.

  7. When you’re done recording your narration on the slide, select Stop.

  8. 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.

PowerPoint 2016 showing the recording tools at the bottom left.

The first 2 will advance forward or backward through your slideshow. The third one contains some handy tools such at the Laser Pointer, Pen, 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, go back to the slides and listen to your voiceover.

A screenshot of the recorded audio on a PowerPoint slide

Here’s how to play a narration:

  1. Select View > Normal.

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

  3. Look for the sound icon on the slide.

    PowerPoint showing the recorded audio within the slides.
  4. Hover over sound icon and select Play to preview the audio.

  5. Select Pause when you’re finished listening.

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 select the Play Narrations check box to clear it.

PowerPoint Slide Show options showing.

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 sound icon on that slide, then press the Delete key.

To delete the voiceover from all the slides in a presentation:

  1. Select Slide Show.

  2. Select the down arrow next to Record Slide Show, then select Clear.

    PowerPoint screen showing the clear recordings options.
  3. Select Clear Narration on All Slides.