Tips for adding sound and video to PowerPoint 2007 presentations

PowerPoint Step by Step book cover

Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 Step by Step
By Joyce Cox and Joan Preppernau

Joyce Cox has over 20 years' experience in the development of training materials about technical subjects for non-technical audiences, and is the author of dozens of books about Office and Windows technologies. Joyce is the Vice President of Online Training Solutions, Inc. (OTSI). She was President of and principle author for Online Press, where she developed the Quick Course series of computer training books for beginning and intermediate adult learners. She was also the first managing editor of Microsoft Press, an editor for Sybex, and an editor for the University of California.

Joan Preppernau is the author of over a dozen books about Windows and Office. Having learned about computers literally at her father's knee, Joan's wide-ranging experiences in various facets of the computer industry contribute to her enthusiasm for producing interesting, useful, and understandable training materials. Joan is the President of Online Training Solutions, Inc. (OTSI) and an avid telecommuter. The power of the Internet and an obsession with technology have made it possible for Joan to live and work in New Zealand, Sweden, Denmark, and various locations in the US during the past 15 years.

To learn more about other books on the 2007 Microsoft Office system, visit Microsoft Press.


In this article


The difference between an adequate presentation and a great presentation often lies in the judicious use of multimedia. You can grab and keep the attention of your audience by incorporating sound and video. You can emphasize key points, control the focus of the discussion, and entertain in ways that will make your message memorable.

Because you have so many opportunities to add pizzazz to your slides with Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007, it is easy to end up with a presentation that looks more like an amateur experiment than a professional slide show. When you first start adding multimedia to your slides, it is best to err on the conservative side. As you gain more experience, you will learn how to mix and match effects to get the results you want for a particular audience.

Inserting, playing, and modifying sounds

A PowerPoint presentation can convey a lot of information in a short time. That information is usually in the form of text, graphics, charts, and tables, but it might also consist of audio content. You can easily incorporate sounds into slide transitions. You can also insert the following types of sounds on slides:

  • Audio files. You can insert an audio file—for example, a speech or interview—by clicking the Sound button in the Media Clips group on the Insert tab, and then selecting the file.
  • Sound clips. The sound clips that ship with PowerPoint 2007 include applause and a ringing telephone. You insert a sound clip by clicking the Sound arrow in the Media Clips group on the Insert tab, and then clicking Sound From Clip Organizer to display the Clip Art task pane, where you select the sound you want. If you are connected to the Internet, clicking the Clip Art On Office Online link in the task pane takes you to the Clip Art and Media page of the Office Online Web site, from which you can download hundreds of clip art images, photos, sounds, and videos.
  • CD audio tracks. You can insert music tracks or other audio tracks from a CD into a slide. After inserting the CD in your CD-ROM drive, you click the Sound arrow in the Media Clips group and then click Play CD Audio Track to display the Insert CD Audio dialog box. You then enter the starting and ending track numbers. You can specify that the selection be repeated, and you can set the volume. To play the tracks during a slide show, the CD must be in the CD-ROM drive.
  • Recorded sounds. You can record a sound or narration and attach it to a slide, all from within PowerPoint.

While inserting a sound, you can specify whether it should play automatically when the slide containing it appears or only when you click its icon. The sound object appears on the slide represented by an icon indicating the type of sound. You can change the appearance and size of the icon and move it to meet your needs.

When the sound object is selected, PowerPoint adds Format and Options contextual tabs to the Ribbon. You can format the icon representing the sound in much the same way that you would format a picture. You can adjust its size, position, and volume; specify whether the icon is displayed on the slide; and specify how the sound is activated.

To play a sound, you must have a sound card and speakers installed. In Normal view, you can test the sound associated with a particular slide by double-clicking the sound icon, or by selecting the icon and clicking the Preview button in the Play group on the Options contextual tab. In Slide Show view, the sound plays either automatically or when you click its icon, depending on your specifications.

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Recording a narration

If you are creating a presentation that people will view on their own machines rather than at a speaker-led meeting, or if you are archiving a presentation and want to include the speaker’s comments, you can add narration to the presentation.

To record a sound, your computer must have a sound card. You will also need a microphone—one might be built in to your computer, or you can connect an external handheld or headset microphone to your computer. Here are the steps for recording a narration:

  1. Open the presentation for which you want to record a narration, and then display the first slide.
  2. On the Insert tab, in the Media Clips group, click the Sound arrow, and then click Record Sound.
  3. In the Record Sound dialog box, enter a name for the recording in the Name box, and then click the Play button.
  4. Discuss the points associated with the first slide, just as if you were giving the presentation to a live audience, and then click the Stop button.

You can play back the recording by clicking the Play button. If you don’t like what you hear, you can click Cancel and repeat Steps 2 through 4 to record the speaker’s comments again.

  1. When you are satisfied with the recording, click OK.

The recording appears on the slide as a sound object.

  1. Repeat Steps 2 through 5 for each slide that you want to narrate.
  2. Test the narration by running the presentation in Slide Show view.

The narration plays with the slide show.

If you are not satisfied with the narration for a particular slide, you can delete its sound icon just like any other object, and then record the narration again.

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Inserting, playing, and modifying movies

Sometimes the best way to ensure that your audience understands your message is to show a video or animation, collectively referred to in PowerPoint as movies. For example, if your company has developed a short advertising video, it makes more sense to include the video in a presentation about marketing plans than to try and describe it with bullet points or even still pictures. You can insert the following types of movies in slides:

  • Video clips. You can insert a digital video file in one of two ways: If a slide’s layout includes a content placeholder, you can click the Insert Movie button in the placeholder. You can also click the Movie button in the Media Clips group on the Insert tab. Either way, the Insert Movie dialog box opens so that you can select the file. Before PowerPoint inserts the file, you specify whether the video should play automatically when the slide containing it appears or whether you will start the video manually.
  • Animated clips. PowerPoint comes with several animated graphics. You insert these animated objects by clicking the Movie arrow in the Media Clips group on the Insert tab, and then clicking Movie From Clip Organizer to display the Clip Art task pane, where you can select the clip you want. If you are connected to the Internet, clicking the Clip Art On Office Online link in the task pane takes you to the Office Online Clip Art and Media Web site, from which you can download hundreds of clip art images, photos, sounds, and animated clips.

Videos and animated clips both appear on the slide as objects represented by icons that you can size and move to meet your needs. When you select an animated clip object, PowerPoint adds a Format contextual tab to the Ribbon so that you can adjust the way it looks on the slide. When you select a movie object, PowerPoint also adds an Options contextual tab so that you can adjust the object’s size and position, its volume, how it is displayed on the slide, and how it is activated.

In Normal view, you can preview a video by double-clicking its icon or by clicking the Preview button in the Play group on the Options contextual tab. You can preview the action of an animated clip by clicking the arrow that appears when you select it in the Clip Art task pane and then clicking Preview/Properties. In Slide Show view, a video plays either automatically or when you click its icon, depending on your specifications, whereas an animated clip always plays automatically.

 Tip   You can find out the total playing time of the video in the Movie Options dialog box, which you display by clicking the Movie Options Dialog Box Launcher on the Options tab.

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Applies to:
PowerPoint 2007