If you’re sending your presentation instead of speaking in front of an audience, but feel that adding a voice explanation would help get the message across better, record a voice-over. Here’s how to do it.


Before you start talking in PowerPoint, you need to make sure that you are properly prepared.

Set up your microphone

First you need a microphone. Most modern computers have a built-in microphone that gets the job done, but investing in a USB microphone will greatly improve the audio quality of the narration.

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

To do this in Windows, right-click on the volume icon located on the right side of the taskbar. From the menu that appears, select «Open Sound Settings».

open sound settings in windows

The Sound Settings window will open. Here, scroll down to the «Input» section and check the «Select input device» box.

Choose your input device

If you are using a USB microphone, it will appear here. Select it to set it as your input device.

The steps for Mac users are extremely similar. The only difference is that you have to go to «System Settings» and select «Sound» instead of right-clicking the volume icon like in Windows. From there the steps are the same.

Take notes and rehearse

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

One thing you can do to help you write successful storytelling is to write a screenplay. As with a live presentation, you don’t want it to sound like you’re reading straight from your cards. Practice reading the script a few times to make it sound natural and flowing.

If you’re confident about your delivery, it’s time to start recording.

Record a voice-over for your presentation

Open the PowerPoint presentation in which you want to record the voiceover. Click the Slide Show tab and in the Settings group, select Record Slide Show. Once selected, a drop-down menu will appear. Here you can start the story from the beginning or from the current slide. If you choose to start recording from the current slide, make sure you are on the slide you want to start recording from.

RELATED: How to Record Your Screen with Microsoft PowerPoint

In this example, we will select «Record from the beginning».

Recording a presentation from the beginning

You will now be in full screen mode. You’ll see several additional tools, including a record button in the top left corner of the screen. When you’re ready to start recording, click this button.

Record selection button

When you select the record button, a countdown timer appears giving you a three second delay between pressing the button and starting recording.

Countdown timer

Now you can start recording your voice-over! To continue the presentation, click the right arrow to advance to the next slide.

Move forward in a presentation recording

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

Pause or stop recording

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

Record playback

A speaker icon will appear in the lower right corner of each slide with a recorded comment. You can also play your narration on each slide by hovering over the icon and clicking the play button.

speaker icon

If you are not satisfied with the narration, simply repeat these steps to overwrite.

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