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.

41 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?

    Thanks

  • 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 http://www.ellenfinkelstein.com/pptblog/create-hyperlinks-in-a-timed-presentation/. Hope this helps,
    Ellen

  • 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.
    http://www.ellenfinkelstein.com/pptblog/create-hyperlinks-in-a-timed-presentation/
    Ellen

  • 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?

    PLEEEEEEEEEESE help!!!

  • If the instructions in this tip don’t help you, try Microsoft’s forum at http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/powerpoint?tab=all. 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

    Hi,

    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,
    Wilma

  • 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

    Ellen,

    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?
    Thanks!

  • 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: http://www.ellenfinkelstein.com/pptblog/secrets-for-successfully-narrating-a-presentation/

  • mike

    Ellen

    I would like to thank you for you wonderful website

    Happy Holidays

    Mike

  • mike

    Ellen

    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……!!!
    :D

  • 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
    sue

  • 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.
    WE NEED HELP.
    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: http://www.ellenfinkelstein.com/pptblog/create-hyperlinks-in-a-timed-presentation/

  • 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.

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