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Insert Audio (Sound) in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

Learn how to insert sound (audio) clips in PowerPoint 2010.


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Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2010

OS: Microsoft Windows XP and higher






Sound files of various types such as MP3, WMA, or WAV files can be used in PowerPoint 2010, which automatically embeds them into your presentation. This means that you no longer have to worry about linked files getting misplaced or lost like you had to in previous versions of PowerPoint. Even then, it is a good practice to keep your sound files in the same folder in which you save your PowerPoint 2010 presentation -- even before you insert them as we show you in the following steps:

Remember: As far as possible, work with a presentation that’s saved at least once. Also, do explore our PowerPoint Friendly Audio Formats page to understand which common and exotic audio file types you can insert in PowerPoint.
  1. Navigate to the slide where you want to add a sound. From the Insert tab of Ribbon, click the downward arrow below the Audio button to bring up the menu shown in Figure 1. From this menu, choose the Audio from File option (highlighted in red in Figure 1).

    Audio from File option
    Figure 1: Audio from File option
  2. This brings up the Insert Audio dialog box, as shown in Figure 2. Navigate to the folder where your audio clips are saved, and select any file.

    Insert Audio dialog box in PowerPoint 2010
    Figure 2: Insert Audio dialog box
  3. Now, click the Insert button (highlighted in red in Figure 2 above) to add the audio to the active slide and embed it as part of your presentation. This of course can balloon the file size -- and you can still link the audio file rather than embedding it by following the alternative options explained next.

    To link rather than embed, click on the downward pointing arrow next to the Insert button. This brings up a menu with three options as shown in Figure 3:

    Choose if you want to link or embed
    Figure 3: Choose if you want to link or embed
  4. Insert is the default option that embeds the sound within the presentation -- this is the same as discussed in step 3 above.
  5. Link to File does not store the audio clip as part of your presentation but links it -- this is the same as the default behavior in previous versions of PowerPoint (PowerPoint 2007 and earlier). If you do choose the Link to File option, always copy your audio clip to the same folder as your presentation before you insert it within your slide.
  6. Show Previous Versions is an option applicable only if you have overwritten your original audio clip and the previous version of the file is stored on an NTFS volume under Windows Vista or Windows 7. According to Microsoft, "Previous versions are either backup copies—copies of files and folders that you back up by using the Back Up Files wizard, or shadow copies—copies of files and folders that Windows automatically saves as part of a restore point."
  • Whichever option you choose (as explained above), PowerPoint will place a sound icon on the center of the slide, as shown in Figure 4.


    Figure 4: Audio icon placed on slide
  • You can use the Play button on the Player Controls (below the audio icon, as shown in Figure 4 above). You can also set the audio to play automatically -- to do that select the audio clip icon so that the two contextual Audio Tool tabs of the Ribbon are visible. Click the Audio Tools Playback tab of the Ribbon to activate it as shown in Figure 5 below.

    Audio Tools Playback tab of the Ribbon
    Figure 5: Audio Tools Playback tab of the Ribbon

    Note: The Audio Tools Playback tab is a contextual tab. Contextual tabs are special tabs in the Ribbon that are not visible all the time -- they only make an appearance when you are working with a particular slide object which can be edited using special options.


    This tab offers you different options to control the playback of the audio you have selected. Within the Audio Options group, locate the Start drop-down list (highlighted in red in Figure 6), and select the Automatically option. This will make the selected audio play automatically when the slide containing it comes up in Slide Show mode.

    Automatically option selected within Start drop-down list
    Figure 6: Automatically option selected within Start drop-down list
  • Save your presentation.
  • See Also:

    Insert Audio (Sound) in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
    Insert Audio (Sound) in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
    Insert Audio (Sound) in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
    Insert Audio (Sound) in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows
    Insert Audio (Sound) in PowerPoint 97, 2000, 2002 and 2003 for Windows

    Feature List 01 (Layout with Tabs)

    The Feature List Layout comprises three sample PowerPoint presentations: one each to create a visual list for 4 features, 5 features, and 6 features. These work great when you have too much information to fit within one slide. This solution lets you use multiple slides, but the visual result is still that of one single slide!

    Buy and Download Feature List 01 (Layout with Tabs) for $4.99+ (671 kb)


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