PowerPoint: Working With Sound in PowerPoint 2007
PowerPoint is an amazing resource to teachers. That is, unless we strip the “power” from it by sticking to the same old bulleted lists. One of the first steps we can take towards our liberation from the boring is by adding multimedia… PowerPoint is a multimedia presentation software, ya know. With this being true, you are free to add more than text and the occasional picture. You can add sound and video. If done well it will strengthen your presentation significantly. (If you truly want a powerful presentation via PowerPoint, check out the book Beyond Bullet Points… it’s a life changer) In this post we will explore using sound in our presentations, and how to tweak it for our needs.
For me, its uses are obvious. I teach music. Of course I am going to want to include sound in my presentations. As long as I have the music on my computer/flash drive/network drive/CD/DVD I can have clickable links to every track I want to play right on the screen with PowerPoint. No digging through CDs or loading webpages. And with some advanced options I can even pause or stop the track to add my input. Let’s not narrow it to music either. Many famous speeches, literature, and narrations are available as sound files.
With Office 2007 released a while now several will have moved on to it. Still others will still be using earlier versions. 123ppt.com has put together a fantastic guide on the subject of working with audio in PowerPoint in this article, Sound and Music in PowerPoint. For the 2007ers, I will walk us through a couple of different possibilities.
Let’s start by inserting our sound. Navigate to the Insert tab. The icons below will change and you will now have one that says sound at the far right of the toolbar. Clicking on the arrow below the speaker icon will allow you to select whether you want to use a sound from a file that’s on your computer, a sound from a CD, or record a sound. Clicking on sound from file will open an explorer window. screenshot1.jpg You can use this window to find the sound file whether it’s on your computer, disk, flash drive, network drive, etc…
Once you have selected the file you want, a message will pop up asking you whether to play it automatically. If you want it to just start when the slide appears you can click “Automatically”. Let’s select “When Clicked” for now. This will allow us to have a little more control over its playback.
You should now have a speaker on your slide. You can place it anywhere you like. There should also be some sound options in the toolbar now. Notice the box that has “max sound file size”. This needs to be considered if you plan on using this presentation elsewhere, like sending it in an email or taking it somewhere on a flash drive. If your sound file is smaller than what that box says, PowerPoint will save the sound with the presentation as one file. If the file is larger it will only link to the location of the sound file. So if you plan on doing this presentation on any computer other than your own make sure you boost that number up to a large enough size. 1000kb = 1mb. Also you can select “loop until stopped if you want the sound to be continuously repeated.
At this point we can click on the speaker icon during our presentation and start the sound. Stopping it is a different matter unfortunately. To stop it you have to change slides. Unless we make a few tweaks.
Navigate to the Animations tab. To the left of the toolbar you should now see a button called Custom Animations. Click it. The Custom Animation task pane will appear to the right side of the screen. taskpane.jpg In the white area of the pane you will see a list of any sound files that you have in your presentation. Right now it says Beethoven will play when I click on him. That’s great but let’s say I wanted to pause for a second while he was playing and talk about something coming up in the song or just stop him. To do that we will need to change an action. To do thi, highlight the action in the task pane (the part that has the orange timing arrow) and select the change action(located at the top of the taskpane). Under Sound Actions you should see the option to play, pause, and stop. Select Pause.
You should now have something like this taskpanepause.jpg.
During your slide show you should now be able to click to start and click again pause your sound files. Other tips on using audio with powerpoint? Leave some comment love.