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    How to add audio to Google Slides

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    Judit Llordés

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    Audio can make your presentations more dynamic. Here's how to add audio to Google Slides in just a few simple steps. The right kind of audio and sound can add something extra to your presentations. It can be a simple background score that plays with the intro or at the end.

    It can also be a voiceover describing what you are watching on the screen or just sound effects that play with slide transitions. Google Slides lets you add audio to any presentation and make it richer.

    Before you start adding audio to Google Slides, remember that not all presentations require audio. It's a design choice like any other.

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    How to add audio in Google Slides

    There are three prerequisites you should be aware of when considering using audio in your presentation.

    • Only audio files in MP3 or WAV file formats can be used.
    • You can add audio to Google Slides only on the desktop through a browser.
    • You can only add audio files from Google Drive and not add them directly from the desktop.

    With these three conditions in mind, follow these steps to add audio to your presentation.

    Upload the audio file to Google Drive

    Create a new folder to contain your audio file or upload it to The my Drive principal. A specific folder helps keep your Drive organized if you have a lot of files. Note that you should share the audio file separately when you want to present it to an audience.

    1. Drag and drop the audio file to Google Drive. Alternatively, click New> File Upload to select and load the audio file.
    2. Right-click the file from Google Drive and click Share.
    3. Follow the usual Google Drive file sharing rules to allow your collaborators to access the audio file when you present presentations.

    Insert the audio file into Google Slides

    Go to Google Drive and open a new or existing Google Slides presentation. You can also enter in the browser address bar to instantly create a new presentation.

    1. Select the slide where you want to insert the audio file.
    2. Go to Insert> Audio in the menu.
    3. Select the file from your Google Drive (The my Drive ).
    4. After clicking the button Select, Google Slides will insert the audio into the slide and display it as an icon with the playback controls. Click the controls to play the audio and test it.
    5. Select the audio icon and move it to any preferred position on the slide.

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    Format the playback options in Google Slides

    You can format the behavior of the audio file with the settings of audio playback in Format options. The sidebar will only appear when you select the audio icon.

    You can also view it by right-clicking on the icon and selecting Format Options. Click and drag to position it where you want it and refine the precise position with the arrow keys.

    The options are self-explanatory and will depend on the type of audio you are using in your slides.

    1. Select Automatically to play audio with the slide. If set to auto play (e.g. background music), you can select Hide icon during presentation as no one will have to click on the icon to play it.
    2. To play audio even when changing slides, deselect Stop on slide change.
    3. Test the volume and adjust with the volume slider if necessary.

    It is not yet possible to play a single audio file on some selected slides. This is when you want to play it on slides 1, 2, 5 and not 3,4.

    Use other format options

    Play around with the other format options in the sidebar to see how they affect the audio icon. These formatting options are the same for each graphic on the slide. Some of the design choices are:

    • Change the size and rotation of the audio icon (lock the aspect ratio so that the size increases or decreases relative to each other).
    • Use Recolor  to match the shadow of the icon with the color themes on the slide.
    • Tax Transparency in Adjustments to change the opacity of the icon or make it invisible.
    • From a shadow or  reflection to add a style to the icon if it is visible.

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    How to play audio in Google Slides

    Play the audio in edit mode by hovering the mouse over the speaker icon and then clicking the button Play. When in presentation mode, you can also click the speaker button to play the audio, or just hover and click the play button.

    Note that you can always hide the icon when playing audio automatically. Check if the placement of the icon obstructs the text or graphics on the screen before finalizing the presentation.

    Top 3 Reasons to Add Audio to Google Slides

    It's easy to add audio to Google Slides. But you shouldn't do this because it's easy, but because it adds value to your presentation. Here are some reasons and situations you can choose to beautify your slides with audio.

    1. Background music can set the theme or tone of the presentation.
    2. Provide your viewers with a recorded narration to help them follow the talking points as the presentation unfolds.
    3. Historical speeches can be a useful addition to an academic presentation and give more context to the text.
    4. Add your speech to your slides and make it more interactive on any medium you share your presentation on.
    5. Audio can make your presentation more accessible to anyone with visual impairments.

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    Inserting audio is better than linking to audio files

    The ability to add audio to Google Slides is a neater way to design slides. It saves you the hassle of connecting to an external audio source and using a graphic element to hide the link. The audio now plays on the slide instead of opening in a separate tab.

    Google Slides lets you make presentations from anywhere. Use audio (don't forget to share your audio files) next time and see how it goes. It gives you more choice to create multiple interactive slide decks.

    Further Reading:

    • How to insert GIFs in Google Slides
    • How to merge PowerPoint files into a single file
    • The best free alternatives to Microsoft Office 365
    • How to cut music in iMovie
    • PhotoStage Slideshow: the best application for your presentations
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