Choosing Background Music for a Powerpoint Presentation

We've all used Powerpoint for a school presentation, corporate campaign, or to share family photos, but not many people take advantage of its music features. The versatile program allows you to add sound effects between slides, trigger important audio clips, and play background music that heightens the viewing experience. Anyone can employ audio in Powerpoint with just a few clicks, and below, we've broken down the best ways to harness background music for your needs.    

Placing Background Music (Windows)

To select background music for Powerpoint, first find the Insert tab and select the "Audio" button. On older software versions, a dialog box will appear, allowing you to choose an audio clip. Meanwhile, the 2013 version of Powerpoint gives you a few more options, such as "Online Audio" from the page, personal recordings from your computer, and other audio sources. In most cases, though, you'll want to choose "Audio on My PC" and select a music file from your directory. These include MP3, WAV, WMA, and AIFF files. Once you choose an audio file, a new icon will appear onscreen with a special play button, allowing you to trigger the song manually or have it start automatically.  

Placing Background Music (Mac)

When it comes to selecting background music for Powerpoint, the Mac version is fairly similar to Windows. First, go to the Home tab and select the "Media" button. This will open a drop-down menu, which includes an Audio Browser for selecting music and sound effects. Here, you can find a song on iTunes, your file directory, or record your own clip. To select a song, choose "Audio From File". This will create an audio icon on your slide, which you can tweak with a variety of playback settings.   

Choosing Playback Settings (Windows and Mac)

Once you've created an audio icon, Windows users can adjust playback settings from the "Playback" tab, and Mac users from the "Format Audio" tab. Here, you'll be able to choose whether to hide the audio icon, trigger music automatically, and much more. To have music play from start to finish, across multiple slides, you can enable the "Play Across Slides" option. If you want the song to loop on repeat until the slideshow ends, choose the "Loop Until Stopped" setting. 

Finally, Windows users also have the ability to play a specific section of an audio file. Within the "Playback" section, choose the "Trim Audio" setting, and then drag the playback bar to specify a start and end time for your audio. You can also type the timing in manually. For audio that comes in too abruptly, you can also apply fade-ins and fade-outs.      

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