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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Putting Audio in PowerPoint (part 3)

If it seems like I spent a lot of time and effort trying to convince you that audio should be used sparingly if at all in your PowerPoint presentations, it's because I am. It doesn't always work smoothly and it can distract from the message you are trying to share rather than building it up.

So, first things first. Move to the slide where you want to insert the audio clip. Click the "Insert" tab then the "Sound" button and choose "Sound From File..." Hunt around until you find that perfect file then drop it into your presentation by clicking "OK" and wait for PowerPoint to put it in place.

The first thing you'll notice is this funky sound icon. It looks like a little golden speaker. And it must be on the slide where you want to sound to exist. Neat, I know. So, I guess they put it there so you can choose to click on the icon when you want the audio to play as if you'll be sitting there with a mouse during your presentation or something. I don't know.

Make it smaller by dragging any of the handles on the edges (or you could make it bigger, I guess). But what I would rather do is to not have to see it at all. So here's how you can accomplish that feat.

Click on the "Sound Tool" then "Options" tab (it's probably already selected if you just inserted the audio). You need to check the box next to "Hide During Show" and select "Automatically" from the "Play" drop-down box. If you leave it set to play when clicked and the icon is hidden - well, you'll be in trouble, I hope you prepared to present without the audio (like I told you).

Now the file will start playing when you get to that slide and keep playing until the end of the audio clip or until you change slides, which ever comes first. Tune in to our next exciting episode to discover how to keep the file playing across multiple slides and what happens if you try to present on another computer.

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