Play music or narration throughout a presentation

If you just insert a sound without any other settings, you’ll find that it stops when you go to the next slide. So how do you insert music or narration that continues throughout the presentation? This is a frequently asked question.

powerpoint-tips-play-music-narration-throughout-presentation-1 Follow these steps:

  1. In PowerPoint 2003, choose Insert, Movies and Sounds, then choose one of the options, such as Sound From File. In PowerPoint 2007 – 2013, go to Insert tab> Media Clips group> Sound/Audio. Locate the sound and insert it. (You see a sound icon, which you can drag off the slide if you don’t want it to appear during your presentation.)
  2. If a message appears asking  how you want the sound to play, you would usually choose Automatically, but if you want the sound to wait for your mouse click, choose When Clicked. In PowerPoint 2010 and 2013, you need to click the Audio Tools Playback tab and choose Automatically from the Start drop-down list.
  3. In 2003, right-click the sound’s icon and choose Custom Animation from the shortcut menu. The Custom Animation pane opens with your sound file listed. In 2007, go to Animations tab> Custom Animations; in 2010, on the Animations tab, click Animation Pane. In PowerPoint 2013, on the Playback tab, just choose Play Across Slides (and skip the next steps).
  4. In the Animation pane, click the arrow directly to the right of the sound’s item and choose Effect Options. In the Play Sound dialog box, choose the Effect tab.
  5. In the Stop Playing section, choose the After XXX slides option. Enter 999 in the box (the largest number allowed) so the sound will play throughout all your slides. Note: PowerPoint counts each display as a slide, so if you show some slides more than once, they count.
  6. Click OK to close the dialog box.

Now your sound or music will play continuously throughout the presentation.

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78 comments to Play music or narration throughout a presentation

  • Shams

    Id like to know how to put several songs onto different slides without having them overlap because even when I trim the audio once it gets to the 5th slide where I inserted another song it still continues playing.
    Thank you in advance.

  • In step 5 of the steps listed, instead of entering 999, enter 4. The music should stop after slide 4 and on slide 5, the new music should start.

  • lety

    I have a ppt that I am using as a web presentation. The problem that I am having is when I move from one slide with music if the user goes back to that slide the music does not paly again.

    Can you offer any suggestions?


  • Lety,
    Yes, this is a “feature” that doesn’t play animation, sounds, or timing when a slide is viewed a second time. This usually happens when you have hyperlinks that let the viewer navigate anywhere through the presentation. So when the viewer displays a slide a second time, the effects don’t work. There’s a workaround, although it’s a little complex. I have it on my site at Hope this helps,

  • Greg

    Sorry to dig up an old thread but I would like to solve a similar problem. Whilst getting music to play continuously through a show works fine, when it returns to the first page (where the music icon is) it starts a second version of the song playing over the first.

    Previously a workaround was used whereby a custom show and hyperlink was used to bypass the first slide, but now clicking on the hyperlink stops the music.

    Any suggestions?

  • I’m not sure if this will help–it sounds a little like the workaround you mention but there isn’t any hyperlink to click.

  • Roshini Jojan

    Thank you so much madam for your valuable information

  • Ginger

    All I can say is – Thank you!

  • Pigeon

    Excuse me , how do i have one song play throughout the slide in Powerpoint Mac Version?


  • If the instructions in this tip don’t help you, try Microsoft’s forum at Someone there should be able to help you. I don’t have a Mac.

  • Grabes

    or if you have a MAC just go to format audio and click “play across slides”
    Gotta love mac’s

  • Pranay

    Thank you very much for your help!!

  • Scotti

    I followed the instructions, but the music stops after the 4th slide. I can’t figure out why! Any suggestions?

  • Scotti

    Oops, never mind. I figured it out. 🙂

  • Vinita Bhatia


    It would be really helpfull if you can let me know about the soundfile i want to save on my ppt slides but it gets saved as a shortcut and is not played on an other pc or when i mail the slides to someone else.
    i basecally have to make slides with music and have to send it to someone else via email.

    can you please let me know what should i do so that the original song gets saved in the pps file and not the shortcut.

    thanks a lot in advance.

  • It depends on the file type of the music file (MP3? WAV?) and the version of PowerPoint. Before 2010, there’s no way to embed a sound file unless it’s under 50 MB and you increase the allowable embedded sound to the size of the file. If the sound file is large and you’re trying to email the presentation, embedding the sound might make the presentation too big to email. There are a number of alternatives depending on the results you want–using the Package to CD feature or linking to a sound on a web server. Let me know more details.

  • Wilma Laryn

    Hi, I’m using a Power Point 2003.
    My problem with inserting audio is the following:
    now the power point works as a slide show with automatic transition at 8sec for each slide;
    when I insert the wav audio file (same lenght as the show) on the first slide, the audio icon appears, and when I launch the PP, the audio starts; at this point however the automatic transition doesn’t work any more, and the slide show remains stuck at slide number 1.
    It’s a bit maddening….
    Thank you in advance for your advice,

  • It’s hard to envision what’s going on. Is the WAV file the same length as all the slides put together?
    Open the Custom Animation task pane and make sure that something else isn’t there interfering, like another animation that needs a click.
    Do you click to start the sound? If so, try setting it to play automatically.

  • hindy

    My music plays continuosly through all the slides on my powerpoint presentation, but it starts with the 2nd slide. The music does not start with the 1st slide

  • Check the animation pane to see if there are animations on the first slide that occur before the music.
    And check the Start settings for the sound.

  • Vicki


    I need to narrate my powerpoint, which also has 2 embedded videos (both are from web and cannot be saved). The presentation needs to automatically go from slide to slide after my narration ends, with the exception of the 2 slides that have the video present…my narration need to queue the video, which upon ending should queue next slide.

    Any ideas?

  • Consider using individual MP3s for the narration. You could use transition timing to time the slides. What do you mean by the narration queueing the video? Is it OK if both start when the slide is displayed?
    This might help:

  • mike


    I would like to thank you for you wonderful website

    Happy Holidays


  • mike


    I am having problems with video that I created and put it in to my last slide to play and then it jumps and jerks when I try to play it in powerpoint 2010 but if I show the video on its (not including it on a slide) It plays pefectly fine as a separate Document any suggestions ?

  • Saleel Ahsan

    Thanks a lot it really helped……!!!

  • Sue

    How do I stop music from jumping as it’s playing continuously through the powerpoint slideshow (it’s only a little jump or stop/start but it’s distracting).
    Thank you

  • carl

    I have 2 or 3 songs I would like to play in my PP ’03 presentation, but only the first one plays to its end even though I’ve set song 1 to quit after the 3rd slide, song 2 to quit after 3 more slides.

  • Ian

    in ppt 2007 we cannot get to play music and a transition together (Applause sound) all the music is linked to the presentation in the one folder can transition and music be played together, we have the applause sound to play on the slide to get peoples attention then the music will play still in the same slide.
    thank you Ian.

  • You can put multiple sounds on a slide. You’ll have more control than using a sound on a slide plus a sound on a transition.
    But read this:

  • margaret

    Thank you for your help. Amazing!

  • grace

    my problem is the music continues on all slides but the sound is always the beginning part of the song. i want to have the song played throughout and not have the beginning part played after each slide.

  • I haven’t heard of that happening. Make sure that you don’t have instances of the sound inserted on more than one slide. Then, the sound would start from scratch each time.

  • evelyn

    Hey, Ellen!

    I’ve got a question regarding videos and continuous music. I want to have a song play in its entirety in the background for all of the slides and you’ve explained how to achieve this in a very clear manner – thank you! The only thing is I’m adding two videos that will automatically play once the slide with that video opens and I need the music to stop for those videos and then pick up where it left off over the remaining slides. Any way to do this? Please let me know. Thanks so much!

  • Alex

    I want the audio icon to stay visible throughout the deck (I have to pause the music for some videos). Under the animation effect for the audio the “Hide Audio icon during slide show” is not checked, but greyed out. Any thoughts.

  • Richard Fedchenko

    Hi Ellen,
    I’m trying to use the sound track from a video clip, and I want it to play across slides. The video itself will not be seen- I’ll shrink it to one pixel or just move it off to the side. I can insert the video and the music will play but I can’t find a command similar to the audio clip choice of “play across slides.” Any ideas? Did i miss something basic?

  • Richard,
    That’s because most people don’t want to play videos across slides — you play a video on 1 slide and when it’s done, you go to the next slide.
    I would extract the sound from the video. You can probably find a free tool to do that.

  • Bonnie

    My problem is similar to Sham’s (above), but I cannot find any “stop playing” section. I am working with PP2010, trying to use one song for the first few slides, then fade it out and start up a new song. No matter how many times I “trim” the music, the first song just plays until it’s finished. Please help asap. Thanks!

  • Have you tried cutting the end of the song off in another program such as Audacity?

  • Bonnie

    No. I don’t know about Audacity. No way to accomplish this within PowerPoint?

  • Rebecca

    I’m writing about the solution you have posted above to “Lety” on March 11, 2011. Is this still the best work around for trhis issue? I have a pretty complex presentation that I’m actually using for a training and it doesn’t play the narration when using the hyperlink navigation buttons moving backward (or on a replay button to repeat the current slide). I would really rather not duplicate 40 slides and then redo all the hyperlinks if there is a better way now. Any thoughts? I have PPT 2010 on one machine and 2013(cloud) on another – in case there are different work a rounds for each. Thanks!

  • Rebecca, I’m not aware of another workaround for any version. However, specifically for narration, if you’re using a sound file and can convert it to a WAV file, can add the sound to the slide transition instead of inserting it on the slide itself. On the other hand, that might be more work than duplicating the 40 slides!

    If you want to try it, here are the steps:
    Convert the sound file to WAV format if necessary. (That’s because you can only add WAV sounds to transitions, which is a shame.) There are lots of free tools that you can find online to do this.
    With a slide displayed, click the Transitions tab. On the right, click the Sound drop-down arrow and choose Other Sound.
    Then choose the WAV file.

  • DOM

    I have created a powerpoint project and have a strange issue. I added a song in it to start playing on slide 7 and run for 12 slides. My problem is, after about slide 11 the music cuts out. **AND HERE IS THE KICKER** it only does this on the first time I play the PP when opening it. If I leave it open and play it a second time, the music plays all through the 12 slides. Not sure what glitch could be causing this, please help!

  • Ingrid

    I am trying to make a movie from my presentation and have a number of different songs starting at different slides. I have put in all the settings such as trimming the song and stop playing after the number of slides but when it makes the movie it just keeps playing the first song then the second one starts playing when it suppose too but the first song keeps on playing and so with the 3rd and 4th songs the songs only stops when they finish. When I preview the presentation they stop when they are suppose too but not when powerpoint makes the movie. Please HELP!!

  • Pat

    I have a :60 narration that I am trying to spread evenly over four slides. I have selected “stop playing” after 4 slides but the narration only plays for the first slide. Please advise. Thanks you.

  • Travis

    I’m working with PP2010. I have a slideshow set for continuous loop. How do I add music to it so it also continuously flows with the slides? Right now, the music cuts off at the end of the first-run of the slideshow then restarts on slide one. I’d like for the music to keep running while the slideshow continuously loops.

  • I have my children’s book on Power Point 2007. Have finished the narration, but when I go to play nothing happens. I have the sound button all all the pages, followed all the directions, but when I go play from the beginning, all the pages play – but NO audio.

    Also, when making previous Powers points, I could lay the pages out and see the transition from own slide to another, what happen to this tool? Also, there are tools missing, like page turn, movie animation. I have only had 2007, where did these go?

    two you-tube I have completed show what see what I mean – Life and Times on Pleasant Pond and Best in Times Bed and Breakfast, St Albans, Vt.

  • Thanks so much, for your very clear instructions. I have now completed my presentation, and can place it on the website. Appreciate the article, have bookmarked the site, as no doubt I will be back for further tips

  • MH

    Hi – I’m putting together a presentation in MS PPT 13 and am having difficulty with the audio file I have inserted. I have trimmed the audio so that the song starts midway through (rather than from the beginning) and selected “Start-Play across slides”. When I play my slideshow, however, the song always starts from the beginning, rather than from where I trimmed it. When I switch to “Start-Automatically”, the song starts from where I trimmed it, but then it doesn’t play across slides (it turns off when I go to slide 2). Help! What am I doing wrong? Thank you!

  • If I remember correctly, it’s a bug and not something you are doing wrong. Can you trim the audio in a program like Audacity?

    -Audacity, an open-source sound editing program (
    -LAME MP3 encoder (from the same location, after clicking your platform (Windows or Mac OS); also read the instructions for installing it — remember the location)

  • Stacey

    Hi There, I have inserted music clips to my slideshow using a MAC and PP 11. I have it set to play automatically and through 6 slides but throughout my presentation but when its navigating through to the 7th slide to change the music clip theres a pause in between switching slides. This happens with all my music changes. I would like it to play throughout and have no pauses when switching songs.
    Anyway to change this and have my music flow instead of having a pause?

  • Personally, I would use Audacity to combine the clips into one and then insert that. Unless you need pauses between slides and want the music to stop if you stay on a slide. But if the slides advance automatically, Audacity is a good idea.
    Also, you might find that the 2nd time around, you don’t get pauses. If that’s the case, you can run through the presentation in advance before showing it to people. It all depends on your situation.

  • El "Powerpointista"

    Hi there,

    I discovered your site and saw the great feedback you have been posting. I have having some…”difficulties” with my audio. I have been trying to simply get the audio to play after recording it (I have used a high-qual mic and my laptop built-in), but it always displays, “Cannot Play Media”. I have attempted many angles, including downloading Audacity for the first time and recording there, then exporting it to PP; but the same chilling message appears. Please help, it is for a Spanish presentation!


  • It could be so many things. Try using PowerPoint’s internal narration feature and see if that plays. Try a brand new presentation. If possible, try playing it on another computer. Can you play back the sound in Audacity? What file format are you using for the audio? Try a different one.

  • alistair wallace

    Hi Ellen
    I seem to have an age old problem when trying to play sound on slides on PPoint 2011.
    I can import the sound ok from file, the icon appears on the slide and I can play it but when I change slides the sound goes off. I have tried the obvious Play across slides but nothing works.
    Similar when I insert video and play, the chosen sound goes off.
    Am I not seeing a button that says “save changes”?

  • Check in the Animation pane to see if you have other animations that happen before the sound. I’m not familiar with the Mac interface. In my blog post, you should follow the instructions for PowerPoint 2010, since the Mac 2011 is closest to the PC 2010.

  • dija

    Best answers and simply put! thanks Ellen

  • Gani

    I have tried to google this, but can’t seem to find an answer. I am learning to use powerpoint and Google presentation. Since Google presentation has no direct way of inserting audio, I transfer it to PowerPoint. Now, I’m trying to figure out how to play 1 (possibley 2) audio clip(s) with multiple animations on 1 slide. I just have 1 slide with multiple animations. I spend long time with no results so far and I’m still trying to continue to figure out.

  • Susan H

    Hi, I am trying to have a song play across all slides. I am using PP 2010, slideshow is only 8 slides, and the MP3 file is about 4 MB. I have embedded the MP3 in the first slide, and set it to play across slides. I’ve set everything in PP2010 as you have suggested. There are no transitions or other animations. But the audio file hangs my PC every time, even when I just try to test it. I can play it as a regular MP3 file through windows media player. Do you know what is going on? Thanks.

  • Isabella


    I got the PPS from my friends, when I right click the “New’ I can open the PPT but I cannot find the speaker iron?


  • Kathy J.

    Having issue with 6 minute audio playing over 41 slides. Audio is MP3 and is continuous vocal & music. The problem occurs at about slide 14 when the audio starts to play over itself (playover is from the beginning)…so now there are 2 voices playing at the same time… Can’t seem to figure out what is causing issue?

  • Brea

    I’m having an issue. When I go in and trim my audio file to stop playing a certain part of a song, the powerpoint continues to play the entire song as if I haven’t trimmed it at all. Any idea what is going on? I really need quick help. Thanks.

  • gronya

    Can anyone help me.
    I have a new flat screen in my waiting room of my surgery and would like to put a PP 2010 up with around 20 slides that will loop all day showing what we can do.
    I would love to be able to attached a playlist to this so that we don’t have to listen to the same music all the time.
    When I go to insert audio it seems to just take one song and I would really like a playlist and to have it looping for the 8 hours while we are open.

    Can I do this or not ???

  • I’m not sure. I think I would just play music separately from another source, such as a playlist in Windows Media Player. You used to be able to play music from a CD. See this: The article says that it applies to PowerPoint 2007. I think this feature might have been removed in PowerPoint 2010.

  • Kay

    Audio played across slides just fine until I began adding animations to images….then the music skips. Many apologies if this has already been covered~

  • Hannah

    I’m using google presentation for a project, and need to add a sound clip to it. It is a recording of me commentating on the video, and music in the background. Anyone know how to help?

  • Philip Bustin

    In a test I set up for 2 seconds per slide (in order to run the test quickly), my initial 12 slides (4 identical sets of 3) are now looping correctly, but the music stops and reloads after the 12th slide even though (in my test) it is not finished. I can time the slides at about 9 seconds so that the music ends and reloads after the 12th slide, which works well for this particular piece of music, but I’d like to the music to continue to the end regardless of reaching the end of the set of slides.

  • Philip Bustin

    Just a postscript to my previous post: An advantage of having the music continue regardless of what slide is appearing in my initial loop is that I can remove the extra 3 sets of slides from my loop.

  • Philip Bustin

    Set to transition at 9 seconds, the music ends when the last of 12 slides ends, but either takes one slide + to reload, or to start again (I don’t know which). Since the 2nd and 3rd slide of each 3-slide set introduce text that asks a trivia question regarding the music and the presentation sub-title (for fun), it doesn’t work to not have the music playing when the second slide appears. A workaround might be to add a second set of 9 or so slides (and adjust the timing based on tests) and not loop, and just leave the 24th slide in place until I’m ready to click. With the workaround, I wouldn’t need to add a shape to the last intro slide in order to advance to the next slide (I haven’t tried that yet).

  • Teddrick Small

    How to do it if you have google slides 2015

  • The Smiler

    Hi, Please can anyone help.
    I am using Powerpoint 2010 and the problem is that ive added a song to my presentation and when i goto create a video and this is done either the song finishes after or before the slide presentation. before i create the video it all finishes together.
    What am i doing wrong.

  • Pete

    Is there a way in PP 2013 to automatically time slide show to the length of the music? It was possible in older versions but I can’t seem to figure it out now.

  • JC

    I am using powerpoint 2013. I have music playing throughout all slides. When the last slide is done, it goes right back to the beginning slide and song. How do i get it to stop playing the music at the end of the slides? Thank you

  • Karen Daniels

    I have a powerpoint (2013) slideshow on repeat, but I don’t want the music to repeat. I used Audacity to compile enough music to cover the repeat of the slideshow 3 times. But every time the slideshow starts again, so does the music. How can I get the music to continue playing and not restart? Thank you

  • […] Play music or narration throughout a … – If you just insert a sound without any other settings, you’ll find that it stops when you go to the next slide. So how do you insert music or narration … […]

  • T

    I have a song in the background but when I switch to other slide (in a slide show) the song starts from beginning and it’s the same for every slide after.

  • Alvin

    Hi Helen,

    I need a solution for music that plays across slides. I have managed to get the music to start on slide 1 and plays across slides. The sound icon works on slide 1 – I can pause and play again. I want to have the same sound icon on slide 2 (I copied the first one) but when i click on the second icon it starts another instance of the song. I want the second icon to pause the music from the first icon. Is that possible?


  • Hennie Vorster

    Hi Ellen
    I have PP2013. i compile a presentation on a external drive. the music is linked to the slides. when I check the presentation everything works fine.
    But when I open the presentation on the same external drive on the PC at church, the music of the first slide plays with every new song.
    I then have to re enter the songs, slides with music into the presentation. wht can be the problem? The slides with music is linked, and saved seperateley. Everything on the external hard drive.

  • Rekha Khobragade

    I have used these steps it was usedful but I came across certain problem that sound gets stopped after three slides

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