Have you ever wanted to give people who missed your presentation the entire presentation, including what you said? You could use PowerPoint‘s narration feature as you present, but that solution requires some fiddling, and you need to attach the mike to the computer, which can keep you tethered.
You might find it simpler to use an old-fashioned tape recorder. But how do you transfer your talk from the tape to electronic format? (If you have a digital tape recorder, you don’t need to convert the sound.) Here’s one way that I’ve used successfully to convert sound from a tape to an MP3 file:
Hardware. You’ll need the following
- Tape player with a line-out connector (usually the kind that you have in your living room)
- Audio and Digital-Camera Cable (from Radio Shack $4.99)
- Stereo-to-Mono Headphone Adapter (from Radio Shack $2.99)
Software. You’ll need the following:
- Audacity, an open-source sound editing program (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download)
- 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)
Follow these steps:
- Make an audio tape as usual
- Put the tape in your tape player with the line-out connector
- Put the end of the cable that fits in the tape player in the player’s line-out connector (either left or right — it doesn’t matter)
- Attach the adapter to the other end and insert in your computer’s microphone connector
- Open Audacity.
- Click the Record button (look for the tooltip that says Record).
- Press Play on your tape recorder.
- When the tape is done, click the Stop button.
- Choose File>Export as MP3.
- Choose a file name and location and click Save.
- The first time you do this, you’ll get a message asking you for the location of the LAME MP3 encoder.
- You may have to specify the recording device in Windows. Choose Start>Control Panel>Sounds and Audio. On the Audio tab, choose the appropriate item from the Sound Recording drop-down list. You can also adjust the microphone volume there.
- In Audacity, you can use the Mixer toolbar to choose the recording device, such as microphone and line in. In this case, microphone, the default, should work.
Audacity is also a sound editor. You can edit the sound there.
Once you have the MP3 file, insert it into PowerPoint as follows:
- Move it into the same folder as your presentation.
- Display the first slide.
- Choose Insert > Movies and Sounds > Sound from File. Choose the file and click Insert.
- Choose whether you want to play the sound automatically or when you click. If you’re sending the presentation to others, choose to play it automatically.
- Click the sound icon and choose Slide Show > Custom Animation.
- Click the down arrow for the sound in the Custom Animation task pane and choose Effect Options.
- In the Play Sound dialog box (Effect tab), set the Stop Playing property to After and enter 999 to make sure that the sounds plays throughout the entire presentation.
Test the presentnation to make sure it works. I’ve heard reports of the sound lagging after several slides.
How do your viewers know when to move to the next slide? You have two options that I can think of:
- When you talk, say something like, “On the next slide, we see that …” as a cue.
- Add automatic timing to the presentation. The problem with this option is that it requires you to play through the entire presentation so see when each slide should be changed. If your presentation took an hour, that’s more than an hour of your time, including the time to set the timings.
To add timing to slides:
- Switch to Slide Sorter view.
- Select the first slide and choose Slide Show > Slide Transition.
- In the Advance Slide section of the Slide Transition task pane, check Automatically After and enter the number of seconds or minutes.
- Repeat for the rest of the slides.
Do you have other techniques for getting your spoken words into PowerPoint? Click the E-mail a Tip link in the left column to contribute your experience.