Slidegenius, Inc.

How to Add Narration to PowerPoint 2013

Every opportunity needs to be maximized to make a sale. This includes sending a presentation file to clients outside the conference room.

Sound effects and music aren’t the only audio files you can add to your deck. By adding a narration to your PowerPoint 2013 and synchronizing your voice with your slides, you can make it feel like you’re right there discussing your idea. This connects with your audience further since you explicitly tell the story instead of them reading the deck by themselves.

To provide a comprehensive deck that’s easy to understand, add a narration as the final touch to your self-running presentation.

We’ll cover the steps on how you can lay out the narration for your deck. First, make sure that you have a microphone available so that you’ll be able to record yourself.

Set Up for Recording

With a microphone ready, open up PowerPoint 2013 and load up your prepared presentation.

1. Go to the Slide Show tab at the ribbon. In the Set Up group, click on the Record Slide Show dropdown menu.

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2. Two options will appear: Start Recording from Beginning and Start Recording from Current Slide.

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3. By clicking either of these selections, a dialog box named Record Slide Show will appear with recording options.

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4. Tick the box that says Slide and Animations Timing if you want to control slide timings with your recording further. We’ll need to check the Narrations, Ink and Laser Pointer box so we can directly record on each slide.

Checking this box also means that you can use the ink and laser pointer tools as well for your recording if your version of PowerPoint supports it and if these tools are connected.

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5. You can start recording at once by pressing the Record Slide Show icon. Alternatively, you can choose to record on a different slide by clicking the Record Slide Show dropdown menu and selecting Start Recording from Beginning or Start Recording from Current Slide.

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The Recording Menu

Your slide show will play in full screen as recording begins. On the upper left corner of the screen, you’ll see the small Recording menu.

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Drag it around the screen if you prefer it be elsewhere. You can make the menu smaller, but you won’t be able to make it stretch bigger.

There are three buttons: the straight arrow is the Next button, the pause icon is Pause Recording, and the curved arrow is Repeat. There are also two sets of timers.

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The timer in the middle displays the recording length of the current slide while the timer in the right displays the total recording time of your narration. Let’s take a look at three buttons you need to use here:

1. Next

Clicking this automatically records the audio for the next slide in your presentation. Alternately, simply clicking on the slide will stop and save your current recording. This lets you begin a new one in the next slide.

2. Pause

You can pause and come back where you left off in your current recording using this button. Instead of redoing your entire narration, you just need to refer back to your notes and continue recording.

Just exit your current recording session, manually select the slide and re-record it later with the Start Recording from Current Slide option. This can be found in the Record Slide Show dropdown menu in the Slide Show tab.

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3. Repeat

Retake your entire recording for a slide by clicking on this. The Repeat button does not play back your audio but deletes your previous recording so that you can input a new one. After recording, the slide show will close and return to the Normal View of your presentation.

A sound icon will appear on the lower right corner of every slide where you’ve recorded your audio. Preview your recorded narration by clicking these to show the playback settings. The icon won’t be visible during slide show mode.

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Bring Your Slides to Life

For the moments where you can’t be physically there to give your presentation, you won’t have the chance to answer inquires and clarify information. A narration is crucial to create a comprehensive and interactive presentation.

A narrated deck is even more important especially when you’re uploading it online, where you won’t be around to explain things. Once your deck has been uploaded, you may not always be able to go back and make changes, so don’t miss out on your last chance to make sure that your presentation gets its message across.



“Record Your Slide Show in PowerPoint.” Office Support. n.d.
“Using the PowerPoint Workspace.” Office Support. n.d.

Words and Music: The Different Types of Audios for PowerPoint

When talking about designing a PowerPoint presentation that stands out from the rest, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the inclusion of graphics.

While there’s no denying that graphics can indeed make an impact, there are other tools available that you can use to improve a presentation. Audio is one such tool.

Background music

Adding background music can inject life to your slides. Use it properly in combination with engaging graphics and you won’t just deliver a presentation, you’d also create a memorable sight and sound experience for your audience. Keep in mind, though, that “properly” is the operative word. Choose the right music that is appropriate for your presentation. It should reflect the core of your presentation to achieve optimal effect.

The trick is to keep it middle-of-the-road. Depending on the audience and subject matter, lively classical music, piano, or acoustic guitar music could work. Screaming guitars or loud drums, however, are definitely out of the question.

Transition sound effects

Adding subtle audio effects whenever you change slides can be beneficial to your audience. Whether they are jotting down notes or answering a text message, the transition sound would act as a cue for them that you have proceeded to the next slide.

For added effect, you may add multiple PowerPoint sounds on top of each other and play them in the order in which you have added them. You can make each sound start as you click it by dragging the sound icons off of each other after inserting them. One reminder, though: To keep the program from having problems accessing the sound files, copy those files into the same folder as your presentation before adding them.

Voice narrations

Voice narration is usually used for presentations meant for web publication such as online lectures or tutorials. It is also used for self-running slide shows that don’t have the benefit of having a presenter in attendance. Adding voice narration to existing PowerPoint presentation is also great for turning old slides into stand-alone re-purposed materials.

In any case, voice narrations can turn a plain set of slides into a self-contained instructional content that can be used by another batch of audiences to self-teach.


Whatever sound you want to add to your presentation, make sure that PowerPoint supports the file type. File types that it can run include MIDI, WAV, and MP3. Done right, the sound you add to your slides can help boost  your presentation’s impact.

Adding audio to your slides can either make or break your presentation. Bare and bland slides are bound to bore an audience, but at the same time, overdoing music on your deck can lead to a sensory overload, which defeats the purpose of engaging your audience. Make sure to balance entertainment with information and get the most out of your deck’s audio properties.



Understanding Information Overload.” Infogineering. Accessed June 5, 2014.