How To Add Audio to PowerPoint 2003 Presentations

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Ways to Use Audio

Most people can create a PowerPoint presentation consisting of text and pictures. They may even be able to get the text/pictures to dance and spin. But have you ever wondered how to get your presentation to talk and sing?

Welcome to a series of articles on how to add “audio” (music or speech) to your presentations. The articles are designed for those of us who use PowerPoint 2000/2003 and who have neither the desire nor need to change to PowerPoint 2007.

There are various ways in which you can use audio in a presentation. Here are a few, listed in increasing order of difficulty:

• play background music from a CD or file while you are talking;

• play audio on selected slides by clicking on an audio icon;

• have the text read automatically (or on a click) on going to a slide;

• create a self-running presentation in which the presentation “presents” itself by automatically ‘voicing’ and advancing the slides.

For this series, we assume you are using Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2000/2003. If you have a different version, the menu items may be in a different place (and slightly different) but the principles remain exactly the same.


To play music from a CD, your computer will need to have a drive (CD or DVD) which can play a CD.

To record your voice, you will need a headset with a microphone. If your computer has a built-in microphone, you can use it but results tend to be better with the headset.

In addition, you will need a “sound recording” program. For testing and rudimentary work, you can use Sound Recorder which comes with Windows (Start > All Programs > Accessories > Entertainment > Sound Recorder). However, you cannot edit the sound file with Sound Recorder.

For more professional results, I highly recommend Audacity. Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems.

In addition to recording your voice and other sounds, Audacity allows you to do things like make sounds softer or louder, select clips of very precise lengths, remove ‘noise’, change the pitch or speed, fade sounds in or out and ‘normalize’ your audio (for instance, make your voice play at an even volume even though it was recorded with soft and loud portions).

Importantly, Audacity allows you to save your file in various formats like MP3, WAV or Ogg Vorbis.

In our next article, we begin our journey into the wonderful world of presentations that talk and sing.

Additional Resources: For more tips and tricks, be sure to take a look at the collection of Microsoft PowerPoint user guides and tutorials found here on Bright Hub’s Windows Channel. New and updated items are added on a regular basis, so bookmark us and check back often.

This post is part of the series: How To Add Audio To PowerPoint 2000/2003 Presentations

Ever wondered how to get your presentations to talk and sing? Welcome to a series of articles on how to add “audio” (music or speech) to your presentations. These articles are designed primarily for those who use PowerPoint 2000/2003 but the principles are all applicable to other versions.

  1. Getting Started With PowerPoint 2003 Audio
  2. Adding CD Audio to PowerPoint 2000/2003 Presentations
  3. Adding File Audio to PowerPoint 2000/2003 Presentations
  4. How to ‘Voice’ Your PowerPoint Slides with a Recording
  5. Play Voice Recordings Automatically and Across Slides in PowerPoint
  6. How To Create A Self-Running Presentation in PowerPoint 2000/2003
  7. How To Control When Elements Appear In PowerPoint 2000/2003