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Insert Audio (Sound) in PowerPoint for the Web

Add audio to your slides in PowerPoint for the Web. You can choose from several audio file formats, and the process is easy.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint for the Web

OS: Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X



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It's always a fun exercise adding audio clips to PowerPoint. Some of you may wonder why would you want to add an audio clip? There may be any number of reasons, from adding a voice-over to just inserting some background music. Whatever your reason may be, it helps to know that PowerPoint can insert audio clips of various file types. MP3 and or WAV are common file types that you can insert in PowerPoint slides. These audio files automatically embed into your presentation.

Before You Begin with Audio Files

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 your PowerPoint slides.

Follow these steps to insert an audio clip in PowerPoint for the Web.

  1. Navigate to the slide where you want to add an audio clip. From the Insert tab of Ribbon, click the Audio button as shown highlighted in red within Figure 1, below.
  2. Audio on My PC option
    Figure 1: Audio on My PC option
  3. Doing so brings up the Insert Audio dialog box, as shown in Figure 2, below. Navigate to the folder where your audio clips are saved, and click upon any audio file to select.
  4. Open dialog box
    Figure 2: Open dialog box
  5. Compatible Audio File Formats

  6. Look closely, and you will notice that our navigated folder as shown in Figure 2, above contains audio files of several file types (file extensions). To maintain maximum compatibility across operating systems and browser platforms, it's best to use the MP3 file format for audio files.
  7. Now, click the Open button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 2, above. Doing so adds the audio clip to the active slide and embeds it as part of your presentation.
  8. Once inserted, PowerPoint will place an audio icon in the center of the slide, as shown in Figure 3, below.
  9. Audio icon placed on slide
    Figure 3: Audio icon placed on slide
  10. Note that when you hover your cursor over the audio icon in Slide Show view, you will see the Player Controls bar. You can use the Play button on the Player Controls bar, as shown in Figure 4, below.
  11. Player Controls bar in Slide Show view
    Figure 4: Player Controls bar in Slide Show view
  12. If you want the sound to play automatically in Slide Show view without having to hover or click the Play button, you first select the audio icon so that the Playback contextual tab is active on the Ribbon, as shown highlighted in green within Figure 5, below.
  13. Audio Tools Playback tab of the Ribbon
    Figure 5: Audio Tools Playback tab of the Ribbon
  14. Contextual Tabs

  15. The Playback and Audio Format tabs are contextual tabs. 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.
  16. This tab offers you different options to control the playback of the audio you have selected. Locate the Start option, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 5, above. Clicking this option brings up a drop-down list. From this list select the Automatically option, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 6, below. This step causes the selected audio clip to play automatically when the slide containing the clip comes up in Slide Show mode.
  17. Automatically option selected within Start drop-down list
    Figure 6: Automatically option selected within Start drop-down list
  18. Note that the default option is In Click Sequence. If you select this option, the sound plays only after you press the space bar, or click your cursor in Slide Show mode to proceed to the next event. In addition, you can also see a third option, When Clicked On in the drop-down list as shown in Figure 6, above. This option shows the Player Control, and you must press the Play button.
  19. The Curious Case of the Visible Audio Icon

  20. One small issue that many presenters face is the visible audio icon, even in Slide Show view. To avoid this problem, just drag the audio icon off the Slide Area to the workspace area, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 7, below. Make sure you do so only if you choose the In Click Sequence or Automatically options in the Start drop-down list, as shown in Figure 6. If you choose the When Clicked On option, the audio icon needs to be visible, to click upon!
  21. Drag the audio icon off the Slide Area
    Figure 7: Drag the audio icon off the Slide Area
  22. Save your presentation.

See Also:

Audio in PowerPoint - Basics: Insert Audio (Sound) (Glossary Page)

Insert Audio (Sound) in PowerPoint 365 for Windows
Insert Audio (Sound) in PowerPoint 365 for Mac
Insert Audio (Sound) in PowerPoint 2019 for Windows
Insert Audio (Sound) in PowerPoint 2019 for Mac
Insert Audio (Sound) in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Insert Audio (Sound) in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
Insert Audio (Sound) in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Insert Audio (Sound) in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Insert Audio (Sound) in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
Insert Audio (Sound) in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows
Insert Audio (Sound) in PowerPoint 2003 and 2002 for Windows

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