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#05-Adding Audio Narration to PowerPoint Slides

 June 20, 2002


Increasingly teachers are taking advantage of technology tools that make it possible to share information with their students in a format that is archived for later viewing. For some time teachers have been able to share text documents and static graphics in an easily viewable format that does not require a high-powered computer or excessive bandwidth. This capability has improved the exchange of information with students.


Macintosh Info
Charles J. Ansorge
University of Nebraska-Lincoln/Teachers College


Windows Info
Nancy Norman
Instructional Designer
Loyola University-Chicago


Teachers are using software that makes it possible to organize material in the form of a digital slide show to share with students. Microsoft’s PowerPoint has made the process of saving the document in HTML format for posting on a Web site fairly easy. Or, miniatures of slides can be saved in a portable document format (PDF) and later posted on a Web site for easy access.

Only recently has the process of enhancing PowerPoint slides with audio narration reached the point where the process is not particularly complex. In addition, recent advances have substantially reduced the size of computer files and bandwidth requirements for Web viewing. Being able to narrate slides may potentially enrich the text and graphical material that is found in a series of digital slides.

LTA Outcomes

By working through this LTA, the user will be able to use Microsoft PowerPoint to add audio narration to a series of slides and then make this information available in an online format that will permit individuals with at least 56K connectivity to the Internet to view these narrated slides.

Skills Required to Complete this LTA

Users should know how to create a set of PowerPoint slides they wish to add audio narration to and also be somewhat familiar with the process of moving electronic documents from their computer to a Website where the document may be made accessible.

Software and Hardware Required to Complete this LTA

Information is supplied for adding audio narration to PowerPoint slides for both the Macintosh and Windows operating systems.


The description for this LTA requires that users have either PowerPoint from the Office 2001 Suite for Macintosh or the PowerPoint application which is part of the Office X suite for Macintosh.

This LTA also requires that users own a copy of QuickTime Pro (approximate cost $30), a copy of a program to move the completed file with the audio narration to a server (like Fetch), and a microphone to add the audio narration.

Viewers of the completed PowerPoint slides with added audio narration are required to have the free QuickTime application that is available for both the Macintosh and Windows operating systems.


Adding audio narration to PowerPoint slides created in the Windows OS is a fairly straight-forward procedure. PowerPoint97, 2000 or later versions have the capability to support narration. The procedure is similar for each version although there are some distinct differences. Information is presented here for PowerPoint 2000. In addition to the appropriate version of PowerPoint and a PC with the necessary OS and memory to run PowerPoint, a sound card and a microphone are required.

Procedure – Summary

A summary of the steps for adding audio narration to PowerPoint slides for the Macintosh OS appears below:

  1. Create set of PowerPoint slides.
  2. Add audio narration to the slides.
  3. Save the slides as proprietary PowerPoint movie.
  4. Export the proprietary movie to a QuickTime format so that it may be compressed by as much as 90% to make it viewable on the Web.
  5. Move the compressed QuickTime movie of the narrated slides to the Web with program like Fetch.
  6. Make the URL available to students, colleagues, etc.


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