Microsoft PowerPoint Logo

If you’re sending out your presentation instead of giving it in front of an audience, but you feel adding a vocal explanation would better help to deliver the message, record a voiceover narration. Here’s how to do it.


Before you begin your PowerPoint narration, you’ll need to make sure you’ve made the proper preparations.

Set Up Your Mic

First, you’ll need a microphone. Most modern computers have a built-in microphone that gets the job done, but investing in a USB microphone will increase the audio quality of the narration by quite a bit.

The built-in microphone will be set as your input device by default, so if you plan on using it for the PowerPoint narration, you don’t need to take any additional steps in setting it up. However, if you plan to use a USB microphone for the narration, be sure to set it as the input device.

To do this on Windows, right-click the volume icon found on the right of the taskbar. In the menu that appears, select “Open Sound Settings.”

open sound settings in Windows

The “Sound Settings” window will appear. Here, scroll down to the “Input” section and click the box under “Choose your input device.”

Choose your input device

If you’re using a USB microphone, it will appear here. Select it to set it as the input device.

The steps for Mac users are extremely similar. The only difference is you should go to “System Settings” and select “Sound” instead of right-clicking the volume icon like on Windows. From there, the steps are the same.

Take Notes and Rehearse

With your mic set up, you’re ready to start recording, right? Well, not quite. While you may not be physically standing in front of the audience delivering this presentation, you still need to treat it as though you are. This means going through the basics—taking notes and rehearsing your delivery.

One thing you can do to help you record a successful narration is to write out a script. As with a live presentation, though, you don’t want to sound like you’re reading straight from your notecards. Practice reading through the script a few times so that it sounds natural and fluid.

Once you’re confident in your delivery, it’s time to start recording.

Record a Voiceover for Your Presentation

Open the PowerPoint presentation in which you would like to record a voiceover narration. Head over to the “Slide Show” tab and, in the “Set Up” group, select “Record Slide Show.” Once selected, a drop-down menu will appear. Here, you can choose to start the narration from the beginning or from the current slide. If you choose to start recording from the current slide, make sure that you’re on the slide you’d like to start recording from.

RELATED: How to Record Your Screen with Microsoft PowerPoint

In this example, we’ll choose “Record from Beginning.”

Record presentation from the beginning

Now, you’ll be in full-screen mode. You’ll notice a few extra tools appear, including a record button at the top-left corner of the screen. When you’re ready to start recording, click this button.

Select record button

When you select the record button, a countdown timer will appear, giving you a three-second delay between clicking the button and starting your recording.

countdown timer

You can now start recording your voiceover narration! Continue through the presentation by clicking the right arrow to go to the next slide.

Move forward in the presentation recording

You can pause the recording at any time by pressing the pause button in the top-left corner of the window. The recording will automatically end when you make it to the last slide. Alternatively, you can press the stop button, also located at the top-left corner of the screen.

Pause or stop recording

If you want to play your narration back, you can select the replay button.

Replay recording

A speaker icon will appear at the bottom-right corner of each slide that has a recorded narration. You can also play your narration back on each slide by hovering over the icon and pressing the play button.

If you’re not satisfied with the narration, simply repeat these steps to re-record.

Profile Photo for Marshall Gunnell Marshall Gunnell
Marshall is a writer with experience in the data storage industry. He worked at Synology, and most recently as CMO and technical staff writer at StorageReview. He's currently an API/Software Technical Writer based in Tokyo, Japan, runs VGKAMI and ITEnterpriser, and spends what little free time he has learning Japanese.
Read Full Bio »