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PowerPoint Friendly Audio Formats

Learn about various audio file formats that are supported by different PowerPoint versions. Formats range from commonplace file types such as MP3 to some exotic types.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint

OS: Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X



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Different PowerPoint versions support a number of audio file formats. Obviously, the new PowerPoint versions support a larger number of audio file formats.

This table provides information about audio file-format compatibility for different PowerPoint versions. Y stands for Yes, and N relates to No. In some cases, there is a subscripted reference that's explained in the table footnotes.

2002 Windows
2003 Windows
2007 Windows
2008 Mac
2010 Windows
2011 Mac
2013 Windows
2016 Mac
2016 Windows
2019 Mac
2019 Windows
365 Mac
365 Windows
For the Web
   
WAV Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
WMA, ASF Audio Y Y Y Y1 Y Y1 Y N Y N Y N Y N
AIFF, AIF, AFC Y2 Y2 Y2 Y Y2 Y Y2 Y Y2 Y Y2 Y Y2 N
MP3 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
AU, SND Y3 Y3 Y3 N Y3 N Y3 N Y3 N Y3 N Y3 N
AAC, M4A N N N N N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
OGG, OGA N N N N N N N N N N N N N Y
MIDI, MID, RMI Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y N Y N Y N
  1. With Flip4Mac installed.
  2. AIFF files can often have codec issues in PowerPoint for Windows. Plus, AIFF files inserted in PowerPoint for Mac may not work with Windows versions because some Mac versions of PowerPoint don't save the file extension of the audio file, and then, PowerPoint for Windows cannot recognize the file type.
  3. AU and SND files may work in some versions of PowerPoint but may still have codec issues. It is advisabe to not use this audio file format. If you must use, try to convert these files to the MP3 file format and then insert within PowerPoint.

Audio file inserted on a PowerPoint slide
Figure 1: Audio file inserted on a PowerPoint slide

Let us now explore the file types (also known as file formats or file extension types) themselves:

WAV

WAV is the ubiquitous audio file format used in Microsoft Windows computers for decades now. Long before compression technologies made it possible to squeeze in audio content in smaller file sizes using MP3 or WMA, most sounds were WAV files.

WMA and ASF Audio

After the MP3 file type made it possible to achieve amazing compression levels, Microsoft introduced their own file type known as ASF, which was part of Microsoft NetShow. ASF stood for Advanced Streaming Format. You could have both audio and video ASF files, and that was a little confusing. So, Microsoft changed the nomenclature from ASF to WMA and WMV file types, which mean Windows Media Audio and Windows Media Video respectively.

AIFF

AIFF was as omnipresent on the Apple Mac platform as WAV was on Microsoft Windows. It's not as widely used these days but you may still encounter AIFF audio files.

MP3

Few file types have taken the world by storm as MP3 did. This file type made your audio files almost ten times smaller than WAV or AIFF files, and the quality deterioration was not too obvious. It was several years until Microsoft allowed you to use MP3 files, and we remember using CDex to add WAV headers to MP3 files to fool PowerPoint into believing them to be WAV files!

AU and SND

AU and SND are simple audio files used in NeXT systems by Sun Microsystems. These are not commonly used these days.

AAC and M4A

Both these file types are not exactly the same, but M4A are container files that may contain AAC data. AAC is used by Apple for its iTunes files, and most of this content used to be DRM-protected.

OGG and OGA

OGG is an open-source file type maintained by the Xiph.Org Foundation. OGA is an evolution of the format for audio-only files.

MIDI

These are technically not audio files but musical notations. Thus a MIDI can sound amazing on a system that has a high-end sound interface and terrible in a lower-end system.


PowerPoint Multimedia Basics: PowerPoint Friendly Audio Formats (Glossary Page)

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