PowerPoint 2010: Inserting Audio

Lesson 18: Inserting Audio




PowerPoint allows you to add sound to your presentation, which opens up many possibilities. Perhaps you want to add background music to one slide, a sound effect to another, and some narration or commentary to a few slides. You can either add an audio file from your computer or browse PowerPoint's collection of clip art audio. You can then edit the sounds within PowerPoint so they are tailored to your presentation.

In this lesson, you will learn how to insert sounds into a presentation and edit them.

Inserting audio

Have you ever watched a PowerPoint presentation that seemed to narrate itself? Or have you seen a slide show that featured applause when the last slide was reached? If so, you've heard examples of how audio can be applied to slide shows. PowerPoint allows you to insert audio files from your computer, or you can search the Clip Art Studio to find the audio you need. Once you've inserted audio, you can then edit it.

Optional: You can download this example for extra practice.

To insert audio from a file on your computer:

  1. From the Insert tab, click the Audio drop-down arrow and select Audio from File.
    Inserting an audio fileInserting an audio file
  2. Locate and select the desired audio file, then click Insert.
    The Insert Audio dialog boxThe Insert Audio dialog box
  3. The audio file will be added to the slide.
    The inserted audioThe inserted audio

To insert clip art audio:

  1. From the Insert tab, click the Audio drop-down arrow and select Clip Art Audio. The Clip Art pane will appear on the right.
    Inserting Clip Art AudioInserting Clip Art Audio
  2. Enter keywords in the Search for: field, then click Go.
    Searching for Clip Art AudioSearching for Clip Art Audio
  3. The results will appear in the Clip Art pane. To preview an audio file, right-click the file and select Preview/Properties.
    Selecting Preview/PropertiesSelecting Preview/Properties
  4. A dialog box will appear, and the audio file will start playing automatically (it may take a few seconds to load). To play it again, press the Play button.
    Previewing a Clip Art Audio filePreviewing a Clip Art Audio file
  5. When you're finished previewing the file, click Close.
  6. Once you have found the audio file you want to use, click it to insert it into the slide.
    Clicking on Clip Art Audio to insert itClicking on Clip Art Audio to insert it

Recording your own audio

Sometimes you may want to record audio directly into a presentation, like if you want the presentation to include narration. Before you begin, make sure you have a microphone that's compatible with your computer; many computers have built-in microphones or ones that can be plugged in to the computer.

To record audio:

  1. From the Insert tab, click the Audio drop-down arrow and select Record Audio.
    Recording AudioRecording Audio
  2. Type a name for the audio recording if you want.
    Typing a name for the recordingTyping a name for the recording
  3. Click the red Record button to start recording.
    Clicking the Record buttonClicking the Record button
  4. When you're finished recording, click the Stop button.
    Stopping the recordingStopping the recording
  5. To preview your recording, click the Play button.
    Previewing the recordingPreviewing the recording
  6. When you're done, click OK. The audio file will be inserted into the slide.
    The recording is added to the slideThe recording is added to the slide

Working with audio

Just like with videos, you can modify your audio files using the various features of the Playback tab. For example, if you add a song to a slide, you can trim it so it will only play one section of the song, and you can add a fade in and fade out to smooth out the beginning and end. You can also add bookmarks that allow you to jump to specific points in the audio file.

To trim the audio:

  1. From the Playback tab, click the Trim Audio command. The Trim Audio dialog box will appear.
    The Trim Audio commandThe Trim Audio command
  2. Use the green and red handles to set the start time and end time.
    Moving the green and red handlesMoving the green and red handles
  3. To preview the audio file, click the Play button.
    Previewing the audio filePreviewing the audio file
  4. Adjust the green and red handles again if necessary, then click OK.

To add a fade in and fade out:

  1. On the Playback tab, locate the Fade In and Fade Out fields.
  2. Type in the desired values, or use the up and down arrows to adjust the times.
    Adjusting the Fade InAdjusting the Fade In

To add a bookmark:

  1. Click the Play/Pause button to play the audio file, and when you have located the part you want to bookmark, pause it. You can also click the timeline to locate the desired part of the audio file.
    Locating the desired part of the audio fileLocating the desired part of the audio file
  2. From the Playback tab, click Add Bookmark.
    Adding a bookmarkAdding a bookmark
  3. A small circle will appear on the timeline to indicate the bookmark.
    The new bookmarkThe new bookmark
  4. You can now click the bookmark to jump to that location.

To remove a bookmark:

  1. Select the bookmark.
  2. From the Playback tab, click Remove Bookmark. The bookmark will disappear.
    Removing a bookmarkRemoving a bookmark

Audio options

There are other options you can set to control how your audio file plays. These are found in the Audio Options group on the Playback tab.

The Audio Options groupThe Audio Options group
  • Volume: This changes the audio volume.
  • Start: This controls whether the audio file starts automatically or when the mouse is clicked.
  • Hide During Show: This hides the audio icon while the slide show is playing.
  • Loop Until Stopped: This causes the audio file to repeat until it is stopped.
  • Rewind After Playing: This causes the audio file to return to the beginning when it's finished playing.

Formatting the audio icon

By default, an audio file will show up as a speaker icon in the slide. If you want, you can change the icon to a different picture, and you can apply all of the different types of image formatting that you would apply to a picture such as artistic effects and picture styles, which are accessed in the Format tab.

To change the icon to a different picture:

  1. Select the audio icon in the slide.
  2. From the Format tab, select the Change Picture command. The Insert Picture dialog box will appear.
    The Change Picture commandThe Change Picture command
  3. Locate and select the desired picture, then click Insert.
    Selecting a new pictureSelecting a new picture
  4. The icon will change to the new picture.
    The updated audio iconThe updated audio icon

For information on corrections, color adjustments, borders, shapes, and effects, check out our lesson on Formatting Pictures.


  1. Open an existing PowerPoint presentation. If you want, you can use this example.
  2. Insert an audio file from your computer, if you have one. If you are using the example, add an audio file to slide 4.
  3. Preview the audio file.
  4. Trim the audio file.
  5. Add a fade in and fade out.
  6. Add a clip art audio file.
  7. Change the picture for one of the audio files.
  8. If your computer has a microphone, record some audio into a slide.
  9. Experiment with the different audio options on the Playback tab.