PowerPoint 2016: Rehearsing and Recording Your Presentation

Lesson 32: Rehearsing and Recording Your Presentation



There are many things to keep in mind when preparing to give a presentation. How long will it last? What will you say? Fortunately, PowerPoint offers several tools that can help you rehearse your slide show. You can even record a copy with voiceover narration, allowing viewers to watch the presentation on their own.

Optional: Download our practice presentation.

Watch the video below to learn how to rehearse and record your presentation.

Rehearsing slide show timings

Rehearsing timings can be useful if you want to set up a presentation to play at a certain speed without having to click through the slides yourself. It also gives you the opportunity to practice your talking points. Using this feature, you can save timings for each slide and animation. PowerPoint will then play the presentation automatically using these timings.

Rehearsing is often one of the last steps in creating a polished presentation. If you've never presented a slide show, you may want to review our lesson on Presenting Your Slide Show to become familiar with the basics.

To rehearse timings:

  1. Go to the Slide Show tab, then click the Rehearse Timings command.
    clicking the Rehearse Timings command
  2. You'll be taken to a full-screen view of your presentation. Practice presenting your slide show. When you're ready to move to the next slide, click the Next button on the Recording toolbar in the upper-left corner. You also can also use the right arrow key on your keyboard.
    moving to the next slide
  3. When you reach the end of the show, a dialog box will appear with the total time of your presentation. If you're satisfied with your timings, click Yes.
    saving timings
  4. The timings will be saved. The next time you present, PowerPoint will use these timings to advance the slides automatically.

If you need more than one try to get the timings just right, the Recording toolbar can be used to take a break or start over on a slide. To pause the timer, click the Pause button. No actions taken while the timer is paused will be included in the timings. To re-record the timings on the current slide, click the Repeat button.

using the Pause and Repeat buttons

Recording your slide show

The Record Slide Show feature is similar to the Rehearse Timings feature, but it's a bit more comprehensive. If you have a microphone for your computer, you can record voiceover narration for the entire presentation. This is useful if you plan to use your slide show as a self-running presentation or video.

To record a slide show:

  1. From the Slide Show tab, select the Record Slide Show drop-down arrow, then choose either Start Recording from Beginning or Start Recording from Current Slide.
    selecting the Record Slide Show command
  2. A dialog box will appear. Select the desired options, then click Start Recording. Remember, you can only record narration if you have a microphone attached to your computer.
    setting the record presentation options
  3. Your presentation will appear in full-screen view. Perform your slide show. Make sure to speak clearly into the microphone if you're recording narration.
  4. When you're ready to move to the next slide, click the Next button on the Recording toolbar or use the right arrow key.
    moving to the next slide
  5. When you reach the end of the show, PowerPoint will close the full-screen view.
  6. Your slide timings and narration are now part of your presentation. The slides with narration will be marked with a speaker icon in the bottom-right corner.
    slides with recorded audio

In recorded slide shows, the mouse pointer isn't visible in the finished product; therefore, if you want to point something out, you'll need to use the laser pointer feature. Simply hold Ctrl on your keyboard while you click and hold your mouse. The cursor will appear as a small red dot.using the laser pointer

To remove slide timings or narration:

If you change your mind about including slide timings or narration, you can easily remove one or both. You can clear them from the entire presentation or just the current slide.

To do this, simply go to the Slide Show tab, click the Record Slide Show drop-down arrow, hover over Clear, then choose the desired option from the menu.

clearing slide timings


  1. Open our practice presentation. If you already downloaded our practice presentation in order to follow along with the lesson, be sure to download a fresh copy.
  2. Record the slide show. If you have a microphone and want to practice recording narration, you can read the slides.
  3. When you're finished, play your slideshow. The slides should advance automatically at the pace you recorded them.