Recording presentations in PowerPoint

This guide is primarily aimed at staff wanting to record narration to a PowerPoint presentation. For information about students recording presentations, please see information on student recordings in Panopto and Student Presentations in PowerPoint

The recording feature in PowerPoint presents a convenient alternative to using Panopto to create desktop recordings.

The main benefit of recording in PowerPoint is that each slide is an independent recording, which allows you to correct any mistakes immediately and makes editing easier should the content on a particular slide need to be changed in the future.

Let’s start with the caveats:

  • It is only possible to record to PowerPoint slides in the desktop version, as the online version does not support this feature.
  • Depending on your version of PowerPoint, the options and instructions differ quite a bit.

Which version of PowerPoint do I have?

If you are not sure which version of PowerPoint you are using, this useful guide to ‘What version of Office am I using?‘ can help you find out.

We highly recommend the latest version of Office which is Office 2019, as it includes the possibility of adding a webcam image to the presentation and is easy to use. Office 2019 is available from the Software Centre, if you are using a UWE built computer, and there are instructions for installing software on the intranet for both PC and Mac. If you are using a personal device, you may be able to access the Office 365 desktop apps, following the installation guide on the intranet.

The following instructions are based on PowerPoint 2019, however Office 365 is very similar and instructions for other versions of PowerPoint can be found on the Microsoft Help Pages.

How do I record?

If you prefer to watch a short video, ‘Record a slide show with narration and timings’ contains a two-minute video made by Microsoft.

Open your PowerPoint presentation, go to the ‘Slide Show’ tab and click on ‘Record Slide Show’.

Screenshot of Slide Show tab

This opens up the recording screen, which has all the settings you will need to record. The items marked in yellow relate to various recording options, and the items marked in red are items related to the actual presentation of the slides.

Screenshot of PowerPoint narration screen

1 – This is where you start and stop the recording.

2 – The ‘Clear’ option is where you can delete the recording, either from a single slide or the whole presentation. The ‘Settings’ option allows you to select your microphone and your camera – if you are using one.

3 – This area allows you to decide if you would like to record voice only or include a webcam.

4 – It is possible to see any notes you may have made when creating the presentation, and you can change the font size of the text.

5 – These are the inking tools for any annotations you may want to do during the presentation.

Please note that every time you change slide or activate an animation, there is a pause in the recording, so allow yourself a couple of seconds break when changing slides in order for all the narration to be recorded.

And finally, if you decide to use the webcam, it is possible to move the picture insert to another part of the slide and adjust the size.

Making the narrated PowerPoint presentation available to students

Depending on how you would like your students to interact with the presentation, there are a number of ways to make it available.

Upload to Blackboard as a PowerPoint presentation

By uploading the presentation to Blackboard, the students will be able to access it as a PowerPoint, and each slide will have a speaker icon that they can click on, in order to hear the narration. Therefore, bear in mind that if it is a presentation with a large number of slides, that would be a large number of clicks.

The benefit is that if you wanted the students to see the notes, these could be made available to students.

Please note, that if you convert the presentation to a PDF, the recording disappears.

Turn it into a video

PowerPoint Show

The easiest way is probably to save the presentation as a ‘PowerPoint Show’, this turns the presentation into a video with your narration. Students can, although not very easily, access any notes you may have written, but they do not need to click on the speaker icon on each slide in this format.

Export the presentation as a .mp4 file

It is also possible to create a .mp4 file out of the presentation, this is especially useful if you need to use the file within another application, for example, it could be uploaded to Panopto and made into an interactive resource with quiz questions (for more information see ‘Adding Quizzes in Panopto’ or ‘Three ways to add quizzes and interactivity to Panopto Recordings

To create a .mp4 file you need to go to the ‘Export’ (1) option in the file tab, select ‘Create a Video’ (2) and check that the settings above the ‘Create Video’ (3) button are what you would like them to be.

Screenshot of Export option

We would recommend doing a short test and perhaps try all the options above, to see which one is the most suitable for your purpose.


Photo by Pixabay from Pexels