Adding audio narration to PowerPoint slides

Last updated: November 13, 2020, 5:42 p.m.

Teaching considerations when creating online lectures

If your PowerPoint lecture is longer than 20 minutes, you may want to consider breaking it into 15 – 20 minute segments and adding an activity (reflective question(s), discussion questions for students to discuss in groups on a Moodle discussion forum, short activity that prompts students to put the ideas to ‘action’, etc.)

Steps to record an audio narration

The following workflow guides you through the steps to record audio narration for your PowerPoint slides.

Important note about software versioning: This workflow is based on Microsoft PowerPoint version 2016 for Windows. If you are using a different version or operating system (i.e. Mac), please consult the Microsoft PowerPoint Training Page for step-by-step instructions for other versions.

1. Open your PowerPoint slide presentation.

2. In the top navigation bar, select Slide Show and Record Slide Show.

3. From the drop-down dialogue box, select Start Recording from Beginning to record from the beginning of your presentation slides.’

4. When you are ready, select Start Recording and begin speaking.

The Record Slide Show WIndow show the options for recording a slide and the Start Recording Button

5. A dialogue box will open in the top left corner of your screen with a pause button and a timer that will keep track of the length of the recording.

Note: You can click the Pause button to pause the recording at any time. If you pause, a dialogue box will appear in the center of you screen to signal you have paused. Select Resume Recording to continue.

6. Click anywhere on the screen to move to the next slide.

  • The recording will begin again once the new slide appears.
  • Note: The audio will not record during slide transitions, so pause your narration for a second while the slide is transitioning.

7. When you are finished recording, click on the X in the dialogue box. Your audio will automatically be saved to the PowerPoint slides.

An audio icon will now be on each slide to signal there is a recorded narration to accompany the slide.

A PowerPoint slide shows an arrow pointing to an audio icon in the bottom-right-hand corner of the slide.


8. To listen to your narration, go to the top navigation bar and select Slideshow and select From Beginning.

Your presentation will play and automatically transition through each slide.

If you want to re-record any of the slides, follow these steps:

a) Open the PowerPoint to the slide you want to revise.

b) In the top navigation bar, click Slide Show, and Record Slide Show.

c) From the drop-down dialogue box, select Clear Narration on Current Slide.
d) When you are ready to re-record, select Start Recording from Current Slide.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You MUST click the X in the dialogue box when you are finished recording. If you click the next slide, it will begin a new recording over the original audio.

9.  It is recommended to save your file as a video so that it can be captioned. To save your PowerPoint as a video, click File in the top left-hand corner, and then click Export from the menu.

10. Within the Export menu options, click Create Video.

11. In the Create a Video options on the right, select Largest file size  and Quality (1440 X 1080) from the Presentation Quality dropdown.

12. In the dropdown below, select Use Recorded Timings and Narrations.

THe Create a VIdeo options appear with a arrow pointing to the setting Largest file size and highest quality and an arrow pointing to the setting Use recorded Timings and Narration

13. Click Create video to export the file.

The Save As window appears.

14. Navigate to the folder on your desktop where you would like to save the file.

15. In the File name box, enter an appropriate name for the file (for example, ENGR 203 Lecture March 23), and click Save.

The video is now saved to the designated folder and ready to upload to Moodle.

The save as WIndow aapears where you need to type in the name of the file to be saved and the save button is highlighted.


PowerPoint will begin the export process, which may take several minutes. The more slides and audio in the file, the longer it will take to process. A progress bar at the bottom will show you the progress. Once it is complete, the video will be in the designated folder ready for you to upload to Moodle.

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