How to Add Narration to a PowerPoint Presentation (Updated 2021)

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You may treat PowerPoint as a tool to support your ideas when you’re speaking to an audience. But what if the people you want to deliver your message to are not in the same room as you? 

Let’s say you want to share the learning material on the slides with your employees. Do you think static images and text will have a proper impact on your learners? Probably not. And what about adding audio or video narration to PowerPoint presentations? This will obviously boost your learners’ engagement and, therefore, improve their learning results. 

Audio and video narrations will help you turn a plain set of slides into a standalone course that is ideal for self-studying. In this article, we’ll show you how to import ready narrations or record voice-overs and videos with the iSpring Suite authoring toolkit, which works as a PowerPoint add-in. The tool combines slides and presenter video in a customizable player and converts your video presentations to online mobile-ready formats.

With iSpring Suite, you can add one or more audio/video narrations to your PowerPoint presentation. There are two options available:

  • Add one audio/video narration for each slide.
  • Import one or more audio/video narrations that will play over several slides.

Whether you only want to import an existing audio/video file (e.g., background music or sound effects), or record a voice-over/explainer video, this step-by-step guide will take you through the process.

Record Your Audio Narration for PowerPoint

The first step on the road to a successful audio recording is making sure your microphone is properly connected to your PC. Once you’ve checked this, you’re ready to go.

Watch the video or skip to the article if you prefer reading.

  1. Download iSpring Suite for free →
  2. Open the PowerPoint presentation that you wish to enhance with narration. On the PowerPoint toolbar, click the iSpring Suite tab.
The iSpring Suite tab in PowerPoint
  1. Click the Record Audio button on the menu bar to record a voice-over.
Recording audio narration in iSpring Suite

On the open Record panel, choose the slide that you want to synchronize with the narration.

The Record Audio Narration window in iSpring Suite

The Narration Recorder in iSpring Suite contains built-in slide notes, where you can paste the script of your voice-over. It’s also possible to record the audio for one slide only. To do that, select the Process this slide only checkbox. 

Now click the Start Record button. While you’re recording your voice, the presentation will be playing, which means you can synchronize your narration with slides and animations on the fly. Whenever there’s an effect on your slide, the Start Record button will be replaced with the Next Slide/Next Animation/Skip Transition buttons that you can click at the appropriate moments.

Once you’re done recording, click Stop and then OK.

Record Your Video Narration for PowerPoint

Before starting to record a video narration, we recommend you read this article about how to create training presenter videos. It explains what exactly you should do to make an effective video presentation that will really engage your audience.

Now that you’re ready to move on, watch a video on how to record a video narration or skip to the article.

Once again, go to the iSpring Suite toolbar, and this time, click the Record Video button.

Recording video narration in iSpring Suite

You’ll see that the functional design of the video editor is very similar to that of the audio editor. 

The Record Video Narration window in iSpring Suite

You can use the slide notes on the right to paste the script of your video narration. To record video for one slide, select the Process this slide only checkbox. When you’re ready, click the Start Record button. The presentation will start playing.

To synchronize it with your animation and transition effects, click the Next Slide/Next Animation/Skip Transition buttons that will replace the Start Record button every time there’s an effect in your presentation.

Once you’re done recording, click Stop and then OK.

Import Ready Narrations

  1. To import an audio file, click the Manage Narration button on the iSpring Suite ribbon.
Adding audio and video narration to a PowerPoint presentation
  1. In the Narration Editor, you can see a second-by-second timeline of slides and audio. If you want your audio or video to start at a particular moment of the presentation, place your cursor on the timeline accordingly.
The Narration Editor window in iSpring Suite

To import an audio file, click Audio on the Narration Editor ribbon and choose one or more of the files you wish to add. To import a video file, click the Video button on the Narration Editor ribbon. iSpring Suite supports the following audio and video formats: WAV, MP3, WMA, AVI, WMV, MPG, MP4, and MKV.

The Audio and Video buttons on the editor’s toolbar
  1. In the Import Audio/Import Video window, specify whether the file(s) should be inserted at the current cursor position or at the beginning of the chosen slide. Note that with iSpring Suite, you don’t necessarily have to synchronize the duration of slides and audio/video. To let the program automatically adjust each slide duration to the duration of the narration, select the Adjust slide duration option as shown in the screenshot below. 
The Import Audio window in iSpring Suite
The Import Video window in iSpring Suite

If you’ve added more than one file, they will be imported in alphabetical order. All the imported files are automatically saved in the presentation resource folder so they won’t get lost even if you move the presentation to another folder or computer.

Fine-Tune Your Narrations

Once you’ve inserted a narration, you can edit it right in iSpring Suite to make it just perfect.

  1. The main part of the Narration Editor is the timeline that shows the sequence of inserted clips and the slides of your presentation. When working with the timeline, you can adjust its scale to make all slides fit it without scrolling. A quick way to zoom in and out your timeline is to use the Zoom to Slide and Show All options on the editor’s ribbon.
The Zoom buttons on the editor’s toolbar
  1. To adjust the duration of slides, move their borders. If you want to move a given slide border without changing the positions of the other borders, drag a slide border while holding the Shift button on the keyboard.
  2. To delete one of the inserted clips, select it on the timeline and press the Delete key on your keyboard.
  3. To replace the current clip with another one, right-click on the given clip on the timeline and from the drop-down list choose the Change Audio/Video Clip option.
Change Clip option on the editor’s timeline
  1. To delete a part of your narration, click and drag to select the desired fragment, and press the Delete button.
The Delete button on the Video Editor’s toolbar
  1. iSpring Suite has a built-in Audio/Video Editor that allows you to add silence, trim clips, remove noise or use fade effects, all of which can be applied to both audio and video files, except for adding silence. To access the Audio/Video Editor, select the desired clip on the timeline and click the Edit Clip button on the toolbar.
The Edit Clip button on the Video Editor’s toolbar
  1. To insert silence at any place in your audio narration, place the cursor on the part you wish to mute, then click the Silence button on the ribbon. Then indicate the duration of the silence and click OK.
The Silence button on the Video Editor’s toolbar
  1. Often, narrators have an extra second or two of silence at the beginning and/or end. If the silent parts seem unnaturally long, you can easily trim them off. To do that, select the part of your audio/video narration that you want to keep, then click the Trim button on the toolbar. The sections of your audio/video clip outside the selected area will be removed.
The Trim button on the Video Editor’s toolbar
  1. If you notice background noise in your audio or video narration, you can easily get rid of it using the relevant option in iSpring Suite. Select the noise part of your narration, click Remove Noise on the toolbar, and in the open window confirm it by clicking Remove Noise
The Remove Noise button on the Video Editor’s toolbar
  1. If the audio or video you’ve inserted is too quiet or too loud, that’s not a problem! Click the Adjust Volume button on the toolbar and increase or decrease your clip’s volume in the open window.
The Adjust Volume button on the Video Editor’s toolbar
  1. To create a seamless transition from one part of your narration to another, set fade effects. Select the part of your clip that you want to fade, then click the Fade In Fade Out buttons on the toolbar.
The Fade In and Fade Out buttons on the Video Editor’s toolbar

To Sum Up

Audio and video narrations definitely help breathe life into your PowerPoint slides. In fact, silent presentations, no matter how beautiful or engaging, concede to narrated presentations that direct the learner’s attention to course material as it is shown.

In this guide, we used iSpring Suite. Apart from adding multimedia, it enhances PowerPoint presentations with tests and quizzes, dialogue simulations, and interactions.

Don’t hesitate to download a free 14-day trial of iSpring Suite.

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