PowerPoint 2016: Inserting Audio

Lesson 21: Inserting Audio



PowerPoint allows you to add audio to your presentation. For example, you could add background music to one slide, a sound effect to another, and even record your own narration or commentary. You can then edit the audio to customize it for your presentation.

Optional: Download our practice presentation.

Watch the video below to learn more about inserting audio in PowerPoint.

To insert audio from a file:

In our example, we'll insert an audio file saved locally on our computer. If you'd like to work along with our example, right-click this link to our example file and save it to your computer (music credit: Something Small (Instrumental) by Minden, CC BY-NC 3.0).

  1. From the Insert tab, click the Audio drop-down arrow, then select Audio on My PC.
    Inserting audio from a file
  2. Locate and select the desired audio file, then click Insert.
    Selecting the desired audio file
  3. The audio file will be added to the slide.
    The inserted audio file

Recording your own audio

Sometimes you may want to record audio directly into a presentation. For example, you might want the presentation to include narration. Before you begin, make sure you have a microphone that is 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, then select Record Audio.
    Clicking Record Audio
  2. Type a name for the audio recording if you want.
    Renaming the audio recording
  3. Click the Record button to start recording.
    Clicking the Record button
  4. When you're finished recording, click the Stop button.
    Clicking the Stop button
  5. To preview your recording, click the Play button.
    Previewing the recording
  6. When you're done, click OK. The audio file will be inserted into the slide.
    The recorded audio file

Working with audio

To preview an audio file:

  1. Click an audio file to select it.
  2. Click the Play/Pause button below the audio file. The sound will begin playing, and the timeline next to the Play/Pause button will advance.
    Playing an audio file
  3. To jump to a different part of the file, click anywhere on the timeline.

To move an audio file:

  • Click and drag to move an audio file to a new location on a slide.
    Moving an audio file

To delete an audio file:

  • Select the audio file you want to delete, then press the Backspace or Delete key on your keyboard.

Editing audio

You can modify your audio files using the commands on the Playback tab. For example, if you add a song to a slide you can trim it to play only a brief section. You can also add a fade in and fade out and can add bookmarks that allow you to jump to specific points in the audio file.

To trim an audio file:

  1. Select the audio file, then click the Playback tab on the Ribbon.
    Clicking the Playback tab
  2. Click the Trim Audio command.
    Clicking the Trim Audio command
  3. A dialog box will appear. Use the green handle to set the start time and the red handle to set the end time.
    Setting the start and end time
  4. To preview the audio file, click the Play button.
    Clicking the Play button to preview the changes
  5. Adjust the 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 the desired values, or use the up and down arrows to adjust the times.
    Adding a Fade In and Fade Out

To add a bookmark:

  1. Click the timeline to locate the desired part of the audio file.
    Selecting the desired location in the audio file
  2. From the Playback tab, click the Add Bookmark command.
    Clicking the Add Bookmark command
  3. The bookmark will appear on the timeline. Click the bookmark to jump to that location.
    The added bookmark

Audio options

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

The Audio Options group
  • Volume: Changes the audio volume
  • Start: Controls whether the audio file starts automatically or when the mouse is clicked
  • Hide During Show: Hides the audio icon while the slide show is playing
  • Play Across Slides: Continues playing the audio file across multiple slides instead of just the current slide
  • Loop until Stopped: Replays the audio file until stopped
  • Rewind after Playing: Returns the audio file to the beginning when it is finished playing

To change the audio icon:

By default, an audio file will appear as a speaker icon in the slide. If you want, you can change the icon to a different picture.

  1. Select the audio file, then click the Format tab.
  2. Click the Change Picture command.
    Clicking the Change Picture command
  3. The Insert Pictures dialog box will appear. Click Browse to select a file from your computer. Alternatively, you can use the online image search tools to locate an image online. In our example, we'll search using the phrase music note.
    Clicking Browse
  4. Locate and select the desired picture, then click Insert.
    Selecting the desired picture
  5. The icon will change to the new picture.
    The updated audio icon

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


  1. Open our practice presentation. Also, right-click this link to our example file and save it to your computer. Music credit: Something Small (Instrumental) by Minden, C.C. BY-NC 3.0.
  2. On slide 3, insert our example audio file.
  3. Move the file to the bottom-left corner of the slide.
  4. Trim the audio so the start time is around 00:15 and the end time is around 00:55.
  5. Change the Fade Duration to 02:00 for fade in and 08:00 for fade out.
  6. Set the audio to Start Automatically and Play Across Slides.
  7. Change the icon to an online picture of your choice.
  8. When you're finished, your slide should look something like this:
  9. Optional: Play your slideshow from the beginning to test the audio. Your audio should start playing when you get to slide 3, and it should continue to play when you advance to the next slide.