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Media Playlists in PowerPoint 2003

By: Geetesh Bajaj

Date Created:
Last Updated: February 28th 2009

Product Showcase

If you use Windows Media Player or any other player to create playlists of your favorite songs, you'll love the new PowerPoint 2003 feature that allows PowerPoint to play your entire playlist. Actually, you can also design a cool presentation that makes your slideshow look like a jukebox - or if you are less adventurous or corporate, you could always use the playlist feature to play a series of musical clips in sequence.

In this tutorial, we are using Windows Media Player playlists, but PowerPoint 2003 can also accept standard M3U playlists - most players can create and edit M3U playlists. If you want to learn more about how Windows Media Player manages playlists, look here...

  1. In Windows Media Player, create a Playlist consisting of the sequence of sounds that you want to play. You'll find more info about creating playlists later in this page...

  2. In PowerPoint 2003, create or open an existing presentation and go to the slide where you want to begin playing the sounds and choose Insert | Movies and Sounds | Sound from File...

  3. Navigate to the folder containing the playlist (*.WPL) file (you might need to change the "files of type" option to "All files (*.*)"

  4. Select desired *.WPL playlist and click OK. (you can also choose another playlist format like *.M3U that PowerPoint can recognize). PowerPoint will prompt you
    if you want the sound to start "Automatically" - accept this option.

  5. Right-click the shape that PowerPoint places on the slide and choose the Custom Animation option. In the Custom Animation task pane click on the item and choose "Effect Options" from the drop-down menu.

  6. Specify in the "Stop playing" group how many slides you want the play
    list to continue playing through. The largest number you can enter is 999 slides.

Note: It is a great idea to combine playlists and PowerPoint's Photo Album feature, especially if your playlist comprises only audio media (no video clips).


Note: Since a playlist can include either audio or video, the playlist object will appear and behave like a Movie object in PowerPoint for video. For sounds, it will appear as a black rectangle on the slide (where Windows Media visualizations will appear for audio). There's a current bug where the "hide while not playing" setting does not work. However, if that matters a lot, you can always drag the rectangle off the slide area in editing mode.


Windows Media Player Playlist Resources

Description of Windows Media Audio/Video Playlist Files
How to Create a Personal Playlist for Use in Windows Media Player
How to Import a Playlist File into Windows Media Player
How to Export a Playlist in Windows Media Player


Creating Playlists in Windows Media Player 9 Series

  1. Choose the Media Library tab and then click the Add button on the menu bar to reveal a flyout menu. You'll find plenty of options here to add media to your media library. Skip this step if your required media is already part of your media library.

  2. Choose File | New Playlist. You'll be prompted to add a name for your new playlist - give it a name and choose the files from your media library which you want to be part of this new playlist. Click OK.

  3. Your new playlist will be added to the My Playlists folder - you can see it within the Media Library.

  4. Click the My Playlists option directly above your playlist name in the Media Library and the area towards the right will show all your playlist files with its location on your system - normally these playlist files have the WPL file extension.

More info about playlists is available at the Microsoft site...


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    since November 02, 2000