Creating PowerPoints with Voiceover

This guide will help you add voiceover to PowerPoint presentations using PowerPoint’s “Record Narration” tool. Adding voiceover to PowerPoint can be a useful tool for both faculty and students—especially during a time of instructional continuity when students and faculty are not meeting in person.

For faculty, it may be useful to record lectures that use PowerPoint presentations in advance, and then use any synchronous time with students discussing the material and answering any questions that arise. We also know that, due to a variety of different circumstances, holding synchronous class time with students may be proving very difficult right now. Adding voiceover to your PowerPoint presentations may allow you to move to an asynchronous model, while allowing all students to access the material on their own time instead of some students joining during real-time and others accessing the material later. For an asynchronous model, recording lectures with voiceover can personalize lectures and also provide space for reinforcing key points beyond what is written on the slides.

For students in synchronous courses, it may be helpful for them to record any class presentations assigned in advance so any synchronous time can be used discussing their presentation. For students who are in different time zones, or otherwise unable to join synchronously, this may also be helpful to allow them to participate in their courses. It is also helpful for students to be able to start and stop the recordings in each slide in PowerPoint so they can learn at their own pace.

Keep in mind that adding audio to PowerPoint presentations will require slightly more bandwidth for your students or classmates to download and access. If internet access and speed is a concern for anyone in your course, we recommend providing another resource for accessing details not written on the slides.

Below you’ll find some tips on how to successfully add narration to your PowerPoint presentations:

Make sure you have the right technology

  • If you don’t already have it, you’ll need to download Microsoft PowerPoint.
  • You’ll need to make sure that the microphone on your computer works before beginning to record. If you’ve participated in Zoom or Skype meetings before, your microphone likely works, but you can test your microphone by recording a single slide and listening to it back before you record your entire presentation.

Prepare to record

  • Just like you would for most presentations, it may be helpful for you to have a script or some talking points written to make sure you hit all your main points. 
  • You’ll also want to try to be in as quiet of a space as possible to avoid picking up background noise that may be distracting. 
  • Make sure that your recording will be loud enough for your audience to hear. You can check the microphone level by clicking: Slideshow → Record Narration → Select Microphone Level

When you’re ready to record, you have two options. You can either add your narration to each slide individually or record the whole presentation all at once. Both options are listed below.

Recording your presentation: Adding voiceover to each slide

  1. Choose the slide in which you’d like to add audio from the slide deck
  2. In menu across the top of the application, choose “Insert,” then “Audio,” and then “Record Audio” from the options that appear
  3. Use the red “Record” button to begin recording for that slide and, when finished, click the white “Stop” button to end the recording
  4. You can play back the audio to make sure it sounds right, and then type a title into the recording in the slide before hitting “Insert”
  5. The recording will appear on the slide itself, where you can move it around and change its size according to the other content on your slide
  6. You can repeat the above steps for all slides that you want to add narration to.
  7. Once you are finished, you can save the presentation and send via email or upload it to Canvas by attaching it as a file in a message or discussion post. 

Recording your presentation: Adding voiceover to the entire presentation

  1. Make sure your view is in “Normal”
  2. Go to the “Slide Show” section of the menu
  3. Select the “Record Slide Show” Icon. You have the option to either record from the current slide selected or from the beginning
  4. In the recording view, you will be shown your slides with the slide you are narrating enlarged In some versions, this section will automatically start recording sound when you enter it
  5. If you make a mistake, you can delete that portion by selecting the circular arrow button near the pause button. This will clear the recording for the content on the particular slide you are on
  6. To move between slides either press the spacebar to move forward or use the navigation arrows that are below the features slides
  7. When you are done with your recording, select “End Show” at the top lefthand corner of your screen
  8. To review your recording, you can play your slideshow as you regularly would
  9. If you want to make any changes, go back to the recording view. There you can re-record the sections that you want to change
  10. Once you are finished, you can save the presentation and send via email or upload it to Canvas by attaching it as a file in a message or discussion post.

Additional Resources

As PowerPoint looks differently depending on computer, version of the program, operating system, etc, we’ve linked some additional resources here: