Add narration to a presentation

Narration can enhance Web-based or self-running presentations. You can also use narration to archive a meeting, so that presenters or absentees can review the presentation later and hear any comments made during the presentation.

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About narration in a presentation

You can either record a narration before you run a presentation or record a narration during a presentation and include audience comments in the recording. If you don't want narration throughout the presentation, you can record comments only on selected slides or turn off the narration so that it plays only when you want it to play.

When you add a narration to a slide, a sound icon Icon image appears on the slide. As with any sound, you can either click the icon to play the sound or set the sound to play automatically. Voice narration takes precedence over other sounds, and only one sound can play at a time in a presentation. As a result, other sounds that are set to play automatically in a presentation are overridden by a narration and will not play. However, sounds that are set to play when clicked will still play when you click them.

To record and hear a narration, your computer must be equipped with a sound card, microphone, and speakers.

Automatic slide timings and narration

As you record your narration, Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 automatically records the amount of time that you take on each slide. You can choose to save these slide timings with the narration when you are prompted to do so, or you can set the slide timings manually. Slide timings are especially useful if you want the presentation to run automatically with your narration. You can turn the timings off when you don't want the presentation to use them.

Embed or link a narration

You can either link or embed (embedded object: Information (object) contained in a source file and inserted into a destination file. Once embedded, the object becomes part of the destination file. Changes you make to the embedded object are reflected in the destination file.) a narration.

  • When you embed a narration, the narration sound file becomes part of the presentation and travels with it, resulting in a larger file size for the presentation.
  • When you link a narration, the file size of the presentation is smaller, because the sound file is stored outside the presentation. You specify a location on your hard disk drive for the narration, and the sound file plays with the presentation. If you give the presentation on a different computer, you must move the linked sound file to that computer. The best way to move a presentation and its linked files is to use the Package for CD feature. Or you can manually update the links on the second computer by deleting the narration and then adding back the narration sound file before you deliver your presentation.

In addition, when you link narrations, you can go back later and edit the sound files by using a sound editing program.

 Tip   Accompany the narration with slide notes. Because audiences have different needs and computer equipment, consider accompanying your narration with notes. Notes can benefit anyone who is hearing impaired or whose computer lacks a sound card. If you save your presentation as a Web page (.htm) file, the notes will appear beneath each slide as it is displayed. If you save the presentation as a presentation (.pptx) file, the audience can print the notes, or you can print the notes for them.

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Record a narration before a presentation

When you record a narration, you run through the presentation and record on each slide. You can pause and resume recording.

  1. In Normal view, select the slide that you want to start the recording on.
  2. On the Slide Show tab, in the Set Up group, click Record Narration Button image.

Slide Show tab image

  1. Click Set Microphone Level, follow the directions to set your microphone level, and then click OK.
  2. Do one of the following:

 Tip   To prevent possible problems, use the same folder that your presentation is saved in.

  1. If you selected the first slide to begin the recording on, go to step 6.
    If you selected a different slide to begin the recording on, the Record Narration dialog box appears. Do one of the following:
    • To start the narration on the first slide in the presentation, click First Slide.
    • To start the narration on the currently selected slide, click Current Slide.
  2. In Slide Show view, speak the narrative text into the microphone, and then click the slide to advance to the next slide. Follow this process for each slide that you want to add narration to.

 Tip   To pause or resume the narration, right-click the slide, and then on the shortcut menu (shortcut menu: A menu that shows a list of commands relevant to a particular item. To display a shortcut menu, right-click an item or press SHIFT+F10.), click either Pause Narration or Resume Narration.

  1. Click the black Exit screen.
  2. The narration is automatically saved, and a message appears asking if you want to save the timings for the presentation as well. Do one of the following:
    • To save the timings, click Save. Your slides appear in Slide Sorter view, with the slide timings shown below each slide.
    • To cancel the timings, click Don't Save. (You can record the timings separately.)

 Note   Voice narration takes precedence over other sounds, and only one sound can play at a time in a presentation. As a result, other sounds that are set to play automatically in a presentation are overridden by a narration and will not play. However, sounds that are set to play when clicked will still play when you click them.

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Preview a narration

  1. On the slide, click the sound icon Icon image.
  2. Under Sound Tools, on the Options tab, in the Play group, click Preview, or double-click the sound icon.

Sound Tools Options tab image

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Re-record part of a narration

  1. In Normal view, select the slide that you want to start re-recording on.
  2. On the Slide Show tab, in the Set Up group, click Record Narration Button image.

Slide Show tab image

  1. Do one of the following:
    • If you already tested your microphone, click OK.
    • To test your microphone, click Set Microphone Level, follow the directions to set your microphone level, and then click OK.
  2. If you selected the first slide to begin recording again, go to step 5.
    If you selected a different slide to begin recording again, the Record Narration dialog box appears. Do one of the following:
    • To start the narration on the first slide in the presentation, click First Slide.
    • To start the narration on the currently selected slide, click Current Slide.
  3. In Slide Show view, record the narration for the slide, and then do one of the following:
    • To stop re-recording, press ESC.
    • To continue re-recording, click the mouse to advance to the next slide, speak the narration on the slide, and then click to the next slide to continue re-recording.
    • To end the re-recording before you go through all the slides, press ESC.
    • To re-record through all the slides, when you come to the black Exit screen, click it.
  4. The narration is automatically saved, and a message appears asking if you want to save the timings for the slides as well. Do one of the following:
    • To save the timings, click Save.
    • To cancel the timings, click Don't Save.

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Record a narration during a presentation

If you want to capture your own comments, the comments of your audience, or both during your presentation, you can turn on narration before you begin your presentation.

  1. In Normal view, select the slide that you want to start the recording on.
  2. On the Slide Show tab, in the Set Up group, click Record Narration Button image.

Slide Show tab image

  1. Click Set Microphone Level, follow the directions to set your microphone level, and then click OK.
  2. Do one of the following:
  3. If you selected the first slide to begin the recording on, go to step 6.
    If you selected a different slide to begin the recording on, the Record Narration dialog box appears. Do one of the following:
    • To start the narration on the first slide in the presentation, click First Slide.
    • To start the narration on the currently selected slide, click Current Slide.
  4. In Slide Show view, add your speaker comments along with any audience comments, and then click the slide to advance to the next slide. Repeat this process for all the slides in your presentation.

 Tip   To pause and resume the narration, right-click the slide, and then on the shortcut menu (shortcut menu: A menu that shows a list of commands relevant to a particular item. To display a shortcut menu, right-click an item or press SHIFT+F10.), click either Pause Narration or Resume Narration.

  1. Click the black Exit screen.
  2. The narration is automatically saved, and a message appears asking if you want to save the timings for the presentation as well. Do one of the following:
    • To save the timings, click Save. Your slides appear in Slide Sorter view, with the slide timings shown below each slide.
    • To cancel the timings, click Don't Save.

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Record comments on a slide

  1. In Normal view, click the slide that you want to add a comment to.
  2. On the Insert tab, in the Media Clips group, click the arrow under Sound, and then click Record Sound.

Insert tab image

  1. To record the comment, click Record, and start speaking.
  2. When you are finished recording, click Stop.
  3. In the Name box, type a name for the sound, and then click OK.

A sound icon Icon image appears on the slide.

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Set the slide timings manually

Office PowerPoint 2007 will automatically record your slide timings when you add narration or you can manually set the slide timings to accompany your narrations.

  1. In Normal view, click the slide that you want to set the timing for.
  2. On the Animations tab, in the Transition To This Slide group, under Advance Slide, select the Automatically After check box, and then enter the number of seconds that you want the slide to appear on the screen.

Animations tab image

Repeat the process for each slide that you want to set the timing for.

 Tip   If you want the next slide to appear either when you click the mouse or automatically after the number of seconds that you enter — whichever comes first — select both the On Mouse Click and the Automatically After check boxes.

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Turn the slide timings off

Turning off the slide timings does not delete them. You can turn the timings back on at any time without having to recreate them. However, when the slide timings are turned off, your slides will not automatically advance when you record a narration, and you will need to manually advance the slides.

  1. In Normal view, on the Slide Show tab, in the Set Up group, click Set Up Slide Show.

Slide Show tab image

  1. Under Advance slides, click Manually.

 Tip   To turn the timings back on, under Advance slides, click Using timings, if present.

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Applies to:
PowerPoint 2007