A reader wants to send a PPS (a PowerPoint Show) file containing music via email but when he sends it, the viewer doesn’t hear the music. Why?
Know the difference between linked and embedded sounds
The reason is usually because the sound was linked, not embedded. When the recipient opened the PowerPoint file, the audio file was missing, so it wouldn’t play. Some audio (whether narration, music or another sound) is linked and some is embedded:
- Linking means that the audio is in a file that is separate from your PowerPoint file. The PowerPoint file contains a link to the audio file.
- Embedding means that the audio is within the PowerPoint file. There is no separate file.
Advantages and disadvantages of linking and embedding
You don’t always have a choice, but when you do, you should consider which option is best for your needs.
|Linking||Keeps file small; if you change the audio file, the presentation uses the updated file||Requires access to the linked file; if the audio file is missing or moved, the sound doesn’t play|
|Embedding||Ensures that the audio will play (usually)||Makes the PowerPoint file larger, sometimes too big to e-mail; to change the audio file in the presentation, you have to delete the link and re-link to the new file.|
What determines if you can embed a sound?
In PowerPoint 2003 and 2007, you can only embed .wav (WAV) sound files. That means that MP3 and other audio files will be linked. Moreover, WAV sound files that are greater than 100 KB are automatically linked, rather than embedded. However, you can increase the size limit to up to 50,000 KB (50 MB). Here’s how to do so in PowerPoint 2003 and 2007:
- PowerPoint 2003: Choose Tools> Options and click the General tab. In the Link Sounds with File Size Greater Than text box, change 100KB to any number up to 50000 KB. Click OK.
- PowerPoint 2007: Choose the Office button> PowerPoint Options > Advanced. In the Save section, change the number as just described.
Note: This change is not retroactive; it doesn’t affect existing linked files. If you have a linked WAV file that you want to embed, increase the size limit, delete the audio file, and re-insert it.
In PowerPoint 2010, sounds are embedded by default, including MP3 files. This is a great feature, because sounds are now more likely to play. E-mail attachment limits are larger than they used to be, but do remember that some sounds can be very large. The good news is that MP3 sounds are compressed, so they’re significantly smaller than WAV files.
What if you want to link a file in PowerPoint 2010? That’s easily done. Choose Insert tab> Audio. In the dialog box, select your file and click the down arrow next to the Insert button. Then choose Link to File.
How do I e-mail a presentation with a sound?
Let’s say that embedding makes the presentation too big to e-mail. You could use a large file transfer service, such as YouSendIt or Dropbox. You could post the file on a web server or some other stored location, such as Amazon S3, and give people the link. These methods let recipients download the large file.
If you have a linked sound, you need to e-mail both files, the presentation and the audio file. You can zip the 2 files or use PowerPoint’s Package for CD feature; this might make the file small enough to e-mail or you can use one of the methods just discussed for transferring large files.
When you use the Package for CD feature, at least you know that all the related files are together. Here’s the procedure:
- In 2003, choose File> Package for CD.
- In 2007, choose Office button> Publish> Package for CD.
- In 2010, choose File> Save & Send> Package Presentation for CD> Package for CD.
Then follow the instructions in the dialog box. You can burn the files to a CD or choose the Copy to Folder option, which just saves all the files in one place.
Make PowerPoint think that an MP3 is a WAV file
In most cases, you’ll get better results if you embed sounds. That’s why Microsoft changed the behavior of sounds in PowerPoint 2010. But if you have 2003 or 2007, there’s a trick you can use to make PowerPoint think that your MP3 file is a WAV file, so you can embed it (if the file is 50 MB or less). This is one of the advance techniques I cover in my e-book, 101 Advanced Techniques Every PowerPoint User Should Know. (Check it out!). You need to install some 3rd-party software.
Follow these steps:
- Go to http://cdexos.sourceforge.net/?q=download and download and then install CDex.
- In CDex, choose Convert> Add Riff –WAV(s) header to MP2 or MP3 file(s).
- In the Open dialog box, click the ellipsis button. In the Browse for Folder dialog box, navigate to a folder, select it, and Click OK.
- A list of the MP3 files in the folder appears. Select the MP3 file that you want to use, and click Convert.
CDex saves the MP3 file with a WAV filename extension in the same folder as the original. It‘s the same size, too. You can now embed it into PowerPoint.