Remember in our post on PowerPoint scripts a few months back when we mentioned that presentations are meant to be multisensory experiences? Well, we’re not done talking about it! The most memorable PowerPoints are the ones that target multiple senses, provide options for audience interactivity, and keep listeners engaged with the information which you are communicating to them.

Audio is an effective tool presenters can use to make even the most technical or complex topic compelling. This week, we take you through how to add these elements to your presentation, control how they appear across your PowerPoint deck, and anticipate any playback issues (which always seem to happen on the day and never during the preparation process!) Let’s get started:


PowerPoint makes it easy to add music, recordings, narration, and sound bites to your presentation, whether you’re working with Windows, macOS, or online. Keep in mind that PowerPoint for the web only supports MP3, WAV, M4A, AAC, and OGA audio files, with a maximum file size of 16MB.

To add audio from your desktop, simply click Insert>Audio, and select where you would like the audio to be taken from. Then, choose the file that you would like to add in the Insert Audio dialogue box, and click Insert. Your file will appear as a moveable icon on the slide which you are currently editing. To move the icon around on the slide, just click and drag. If you would like to remove the file, right-click on the icon and press Delete.

To record your voice for narration, head to Insert>Audio and select the Record Audio option. Then type in a file name for your recording, click Record, and begin speaking. To review your recording, you can click Stop and then select Play to hear it back. If you would like to re-record your narration, click Record again, or you’re satisfied with the recording, you can press OK to save the file. Remember that if you’re planning to have multiple audio files on the same slide, it might be best to organise them for easy playback.


Under Audio, you can find the Audio Tools Playback tab, which allows you to customise and edit your audio files. The tab includes options to trim your audio with a user-friendly slider function, fade your audio in and out, adjust the volume your audio will play at, and choose when the audio will begin to play (Automatically, In Click Sequence, or When Clicked On).

PowerPoint also facilitates the playing of audio files across multiple slides, or even your entire deck. Under the Playback tab, click Play Across Slides to have one audio file play for the duration of your presentation. This is a great option for narration or other recordings. Alternatively, you can select Loop Until Stopped, which will play your audio file on loop until you manually stop it using the Play/Pause button.


The best way to avoid audio playback issues in PowerPoint is to ensure that all your media files are optimised for compatibility with other devices. You never know where and how you might be asked to present, and you may not always have your own laptop or equipment to rely on. PowerPoint supports a wide range of audio file types including AIFF, AU, MIDI, MP3, MPEG-4, WAV and WMA. You can find the full list of file formats supported by Microsoft PowerPoint here.

Interested in diving deeper into the world of PowerPoint? Luckily for you, the team at Synapsis are obsessed with PowerPoint’s creative potential! We’re always on the lookout for the best new features and updates to assist our clients, and the Synapsis blog is overflowing with helpful and inspiring advice on everything from animation and presentation design to interactivity and storytelling.

So, start exploring! Check out our posts on what’s new in PowerPoint for 2022, the way PowerPoint Live and Cameo are bringing innovation to the world of remote work, how Microsoft makes it easy for you to collaborate live on presentations with colleagues, and much more!


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