Creating presentations in PowerPoint is a common task for a Virtual Assistant. However, there is a big difference between adding content to a few slides and creating effective presentations that can wow an audience. One way of creating gripping slides that will keep an audience focused is by adding music or sound effects to your presentation. If you are familiar with Powerpoint, you may know that it is quite easy to add this functionality, however, getting it to work well can sometimes be quite a game. You might be able to add the sounds in, but perhaps they won’t play throughout your presentation, or stop after each slide changes. The following steps will help you to easily add a sound file to play throughout the duration of your presentation using PowerPoint 2007 or later.

Firstly, make sure you have a good quality file that is in the correct format. Most common file formats are .WAV, .MP3 .MID and .WMA. Next, select the first slide that your music will begin on. In this case, we want the music to begin from the very first slide. From the ‘Insert’ tab under ‘Media’ select Audio – Insert from File and then browse to your media file and click OK. This will insert an audio icon into your slide. You can move this icon to anywhere on the slide, and perhaps hide it away in a corner so that it is not a central focus of your slide. It’s a good idea to try to find a sound file that is the same length as your presentation, in order to prevent the music from cutting off halfway through or being stopped abruptly at the end! PowerPoint Add Audio

Next, click on the audio icon and you will see two tabs appear on the ribbon under ‘Audio Tools’. Select ‘Playback’ and you will see a number of tools that can be used to format how your audio track will play. Under ‘Audio Options’, the drop down box will be automatically set to start ‘on click’. Change this to ‘play across slides’.

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If you wish, you can also check the boxes for ‘Loop until stopped’ which will play your file continuously until the end of the slideshow. Check the box for ‘Hide during show’ to hide the audio icon whilst your slideshow is playing. I also check ‘Rewind after playing’ to ensure your music always starts from the beginning.

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There are various other functions that you can use here to set fade in and fade out timings for your audio or add bookmarks so that your music will only play on certain slides. Have a play with these to customise your presentation as needed.

When you’re all done, this should be all that you need to now have your audio playing throughout your presentation – it’s as easy as that! Start your presentation to view your slides with your background music.

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Steph Middleton is MD of Outhouse and an experienced VA from Worcestershire in the UK.

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