How to Add Audio to Google Slides: Record Voice Overs, Narration, & More

When you add audio to Google Slides, you can create a professional presentation that has higher viewer engagement.

Google Slides is a versatile tool that can be used for presentations, lectures, and more.

Whether you’re looking to add background music to set the mood or record a narration of your slides, there are a few simple steps you can follow that we’ll discuss below.

Google Slides does not have audio recording built-in, but the good news is it’s pretty easy to add audio to Google Slides. You don’t even need any technical skills really.

To have a narration with your presentation, you have to create the audio file(s) separately and then upload the file(s) to add audio to your Google Slides. Or alternatively, you can use a screen recording plugin like Loom that will let capture your presentation on your desktop screen while you speak over it and record the whole thing to share with others.

Don’t worry — it’s easier than you might think. We’re going to show you exactly how to add voice and audio to Google Slides presentations.

 

4 Steps to Add Audio & Voice Over to Google Slides

  1. How to Use Google Slides →
  2. Matching Audio Narration with the Slide Presentation →
  3. Recording Your Voice →
  4. Adding Audio Files to Google Slides →

1. How to Use Google Slides

Google Slides is a presentation program that is part of the Google Suite of productivity tools. It allows users to create, edit, and share presentations online.

Google Slides is similar to other presentation programs such as Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple Keynote. However, it has some unique features that make it a powerful tool for creating and delivering presentations, like its collaborative features and templates.

If you need a Google account and do not want a Gmail account, just go to Google.com and click the “Sign In” icon in the upper right corner of the browser window and then select “Create account” to set up a new account. You can link your existing email account to your Google account. It does not have to be a Gmail account.

The "Sign In" ButtonChoosing the Option

Alternatively, you can get a free Gmail account and never use it except to give you access to Google Drive and Google Tools, including Google Slides, if that is all you want to do.

After you establish your Google (or Gmail) account you will see a tiny icon made up of nine tiny squares in a grid pattern located in the upper right corner of an open browser window on Google.com. Click this icon and it will show the choices of Google Tools available. Scroll down to select Google Slides.Selecting Google SlidesI prefer to make the slides first and then create the audio; however, you can do this in reverse and make the audio first, then the slides, or you can make each slide and add audio to them, one by one.

Let’s assume you have a Google Slides presentation already made and you just need to add audio to it.

2. Matching Audio Narration with the Google Slide Presentation

Writing the Script for Each Slide

If you want to use narration for a full continuously-playing slideshow, write the script that you will use for all the slides and then watch the slide presentation playback as a slide show to get the timing or your narration to match the progression of the slide as the slideshow plays. This is probably the trickiest part of the whole process.

Listening to a Natural Voice at an Understandable SpeedSpeak in a natural voice at a calm, understandable speed.

You will want to edit your script and/or change the playback speed of the slides to match your audio recording of the narration.

Practice reading your script with the slides running in the slideshow mode until you can read the script perfectly.

It is easier to work with the audio file for a slideshow that plays without stopping if you can record the audio narration in one take rather than piecing a bunch of short takes together.

If your video presentation is long or the viewer uses self-pacing to manually click through the slides, you can break up the audio playback into sections or have a separate audio file for each slide. In that case, you need to make sure the audio recordings match, in terms of sound quality.

You want to listen to the audio playback carefully to be certain that the narration playback sounds nice and smooth to the listener. You want to avoid any abrupt volume or tonal changes between slides that may create a distraction or startle the listener.

Problems may arise if the audio recording sessions are in different places under different sounding conditions. To avoid problems, try to record in the same way and the same place if you plan to use separately recorded audio files together in the same presentation. Otherwise, not only will your audio potentially sound disjointed, but it could be an editing nightmare trying to get everything to blend together seamlessly.

3. Recording Your Voice

Recording Your Voice

To record your voice, you can use a free-to-use recording application such as Audacity or a free recorder such as Movavi or another free online recorder. Also, most smartphones have an app to record your voice, which is easy to use.

Another option is to use the Loom for more of a live presentation recording.

Loom is an app that has screen recording capabilities, which allows you to record a live voiceover to your Google Slides presentation and then save and share the video file with others. You can screen record on Windows or Mac with this plugin.

Be sure to record your voice in a quiet place with little or no background noises when trying to add audio to Google Slides presentations.

Speak clearly and directly into your voice over microphone in a clear natural voice – a headset microphone is great for this kind of narration work. Do not overdrive the recording by speaking too loudly and also do not speak too softly. Excessively quiet audio requires adding too much gain later (to increase the sound volume), which may introduce unwanted noise or distort your audio, making it difficult for your audience to follow along and even harder to create captions or a transcript with transcription software.

VolumeTest the sound of your voice in different places and with different levels of speaking volume, close to the mic and further away, until you find a nice way to make a narration that sounds good upon playback. Be sure to record your voice in the audio file type of either .mp3 or .wav format, which is what Google Slides can use.

If you want to add background music or sound effects you will want to use a program like Audacity or another audio editing software to bring those things together into one audio file as a balanced audio mix. If you are getting serious about this effort, review our tips on how to create a professional voiceover recording home studio.

4. How to Add Audio to Google Slides

Once you create your audio file(s), then you upload the files to your Google Drive so that they are stored on the Google Cloud and available for Google Slides to access them. Most virtual conference platforms and webinar software will allow you to upload pre-recorded presentations with voiceovers.

Upload the Audio File(s)

To upload audio files to Google Drive, select the triangular Drive icon from the Google Tools menu (to see the tools menu use the grid button in the upper right-hand corner of your browser) and then click on the “New” button and select “File Upload” and then choose the audio file from your device. Wait for the upload to complete before you attempt to use the audio file.

The "New" Button                       Selecting "File Upload"

Share the Audio File(s)

Share the audio file by right-clicking on its filename on Google Drive and then click on “Share.” Allow access to anyone with the link to remove restrictions on the use of this file. This gives access to the audio files to your Google Slides viewers. Be careful. This important step is often overlooked. When you share a Google Slides presentation without also sharing the audio files, your viewers can’t hear them.

Clicking On "Share"

Allowing Access to Anyone with the Link

Accepting the Changes

Insert Audio File(s) to Google Slides

Open the Google Slides file that you want to use or create a new one. Choose the slide where you want to insert audio. Then, from the menu choices select “Insert” and scroll down to select “Audio.” Click the audio file you saved to your Google Drive to select it and then click the “Select” button.

Inserting the Audio

Selecting the File

After you insert audio into your Slides presentation, you will see a little speaker-shaped icon appear on your slide. You can play the audio by clicking on the speaker icon. You can change the placement of the speaker icon by dragging it to a different position on the page.

A Little Speaker-Shaped Icon

Audio Format Adjustments

Within Google Slides there are some basic sound adjustments available when you add audio files. When the audio object is selected you can click on “Format Options” in the toolbar. There you will see the default settings appear and the adjustments that can be made.

The adjustments include the volume of the audio file playback. You can choose whether the audio file will play automatically or if it requires a click to start it. If you choose “start playing automatically,” then you can also choose to hide the speaker icon since it is no longer necessary as the audio plays on its own.

You can also choose to loop audio if you want it to continuously repeat. You can stop the audio on a slide change if you only want the audio to be available for just one slide. If you uncheck this box not to stop audio on slide change, the audio will continue to play when the slide changes.

Format Options

Audio Preview

While you are in the editing mode making slides, you can preview the inserted audio by clicking on the speaker icon and then clicking on the play button.

Clicking on the Speaker Icon and on the Play Button

Watch this video by Stephen Kwiecinski. He shows three different ways to add a voiceover to Google Slides using Audacity.

 

BONUS for Teachers

New EdTech Classroom’s Sam Kay shows how to use free Google Slides Add-Ons to make interactive slide presentations. Add-Ons are made by third-party software developers to add features and make your slide presentations more interesting. He suggests you use Pear Deck to add audio to your slides.

Final Notes on Adding Audio to Google Slides

As you can see, it’s actually pretty easy to add audio to your Google Slides presentations. There’s no need to be intimidated, even if you never made any voiceover recordings. After a little bit of practice, you will quickly get the hang of how it all works.

It is fun to add audio and voice to your Google Slides, and it’s an easy way to create instructional videos.

As you become more confident you can learn how to mix in background music as well.

You can even add GIFs to Google Slides presentations.

Not a Google Slides fan? You can also easily add audio to PowerPoint presentations in a similar fashion.

If you have issues with syncing audio and video recorded separately check out 11 ways on how to do it.

Have more questions about recording voice overs? Check out our guide to the best voice over training courses to improve your skills.

Still need help trying to add audio to a Google Slides presentation? Comment below with your concerns so we can help you out.

6 thoughts on “How to Add Audio to Google Slides: Record Voice Overs, Narration, & More”

  1. I have audio files saved in my Drive, and have allowed permissions on all BUT I cannot get
    the audio file to show in my Drive when I go to insert each. Says No documents… Help!!

    Reply
  2. I have the same problem as mentioned above. I have uploaded the .mp4 file to my Google drive. Do Sharing and make sure that anyone with the link can access. Then when I go to my Google Slides, hit insert audio there are no files there.

    Reply

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