PowerPoint: Adding a sound to an animation

March 25, 2011

When I was hosting the Word part of the Microsoft Labs at the 2011 WritersUA Conference last week, one of the attendees (let’s call him Bill) asked what I knew about PowerPoint and if I could help him solve a problem he had. Well, my PowerPoint knowledge is OK, but I’m not an expert in it. However, with a little experimenting using the right-click options, I was able to solve Bill’s problem in a few seconds! He was most grateful.


Bill had a set of bullet points he’d animated so that they appeared on individual mouse clicks — click once and the first bullet item appeared, click again and the second bullet item appeared, click a third time and the third bullet item appeared, etc.

He had the animation working as he wanted it to, but as this slide presentation was a looping one that the viewer — not a presenter — controlled, he wanted to add voice to each bulleted item that explained each item.


(This solution works similarly in PowerPoint 2003, 2007 and 2010, though some of the screen shots will differ in the various versions)

  1. Select a bullet item with animation applied.
  2. If not already displayed, show the Custom Animation pane (called Animation in PowerPoint 2010).
  3. In the Custom Animation pane, right-click on the selected bullet item.
  4. Choose Effect Options.
  5. By default, there is no sound — select a sound from the Sound list, or scroll to the bottom of the list and select Other Sound… If you select Other Sound, a file explorer window opens for you to navigate to and select the sound file to attach to this animation. The only sound files you can select are *.wav files.
  6. Set other options from the Effect and Timing tabs on this window.
  7. Click OK when you’ve finished.
  8. Display the slide in Slide Show view and click to display each bullet item and its attached sound.

Bill was happy! And I was happy that I could help him as I never knew this was even an option in PowerPoint.

One comment

  1. This is much batter understanding then provided on microsoft’s help website.

    thanks a ton!

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