By now, we all know that adding video to a presentation adds some much-needed potency to otherwise humdrum PowerPoints. What we haven’t discussed is the other end of the media revolution: streaming audio.
The likes of Spotify and Apple Music have changed the music landscape (for better or worse, depending on who you ask), and not just for backyard grilling parties. PowerPoint wants in on the action, too.
We’ve got you covered, PowerPointers.
Let’s talk about the easiest way to embed streaming audio in your presentations. We’re going to use SoundCloud, since it has a massive library not just of music, but of other audio clips like lectures, radio shows, and other audio goodness that can complement your presentation in pretty powerful ways.
But first… why would you even want to do such a thing as embedding SoundCloud into PowerPoint?
Let’s say you’re giving a presentation on women in design and you want to get your audience in the right mindset from the get-go. Luckily, a particular segment from Debbie Millman’s Design Matters podcast fits the bill quite nicely.
Now, you’re not necessarily concerned with your audience hearing every single word of the discussion. You just want to set the mood.
So you simply embed that conversation as the first slide of your presentation as the audience rolls in. Once you’re ready to roll, you can just move onto the next slide.
That’s only one potential use, of course- you could also play some inspirational quotes at the start of the presentation, cue up some music to add dramatic suspense to the announcement of contest winners, or even record and upload your own track.
You’re a creative bunch. You’ll have ideas.
Alas, we are not the sole creators of the audio-in-PowerPoint idea, but we are the first to make it less frustrating than the wrap rage that comes with trying to remove a new Barbie from her plastic and twistie tie fortess.
From Microsoft’s official page on embedding sound files in PowerPoint:
By default, only .wav (waveform audio data) sound files under 100 kilobytes (KB) each in size are embedded in your presentation. All other media file types and .wav files greater than 100 KB are linked. If you want the .wav sound file to be contained inside the presentation, you can increase the size of the embedded file to a maximum of 50,000 KB (50 megabytes). However, raising this limit also increases the overall size of your presentation and may slow down its performance.
To help you decide whether to embed or link your sound files, consider the following table.
Umm, no thanks. We’ll just use LiveSlides.
Now, let’s go over just how we’re going to embed streaming audio into your PowerPoint presentation. Then your imagination will be free to ponder over the possibilities.
First, we’re going to embed SoundCloud directly with the LiveSlides add-in.
Once you find the track you want to embed, click the “share” button to bring up your options. In the resulting popup, you’ll see a link at the bottom. Copy that link, then paste it—just like you would any other link—into the LiveSlides add-in by clicking “LiveSlides” in the PowerPoint toolbar.
(Really… that’s all there is to it.)
Now, if you want the slide to automatically load the relevant part of Millman and Hale’s conversation, just click the “at” checkbox next to the SoundCloud link before you copy it, and enter the appropriate time. In this case, Hale’s awesome story about her “Move Over Mad Men” postcard starts at 24:59.
Now, when you enter the resulting link in the LiveSlides addin, the slide in question will automatically play starting at the 24:59 mark.
Quick note: for some tracks, free users of SoundCloud may hear an ad before the track starts to play. To bypass the ads, you can sign up for a SoundCloud Go account.
The above method loads the entire SoundCloud track webpage in your presentation.
If you want to embed just the track player, we can use LiveSlides’ seamless integration with Slides.com to accomplish that.
First, go back to SoundCloud’s “share” settings. This time, you’re going to click on the “embed” link at the top. From there, copy and paste the code in the box under “code and preview.” (If you want to set autoplay or change the size of the widget, you can do so in the “more options” menu beneath the player.)
In your Slides.com presentation, paste the code you just copied into the “iframe source” box.
Once that’s done, click the Slides.com share button to find the link to the presentation, copy it, then paste that into the LiveSlides PowerPoint addin.
The result is a PowerPoint slide that’s decidedly cleaner than loading the entire webpage:
The only downside to using this method is SoundCloud doesn’t allow specifying a starting point in the track through the player widget, so if you need to specify a starting point, skip the Slides.com method and embed SoundCloud directly into LiveSlides (à la step one).
That’s it! You’re now well-versed in the art of embedding streaming sound clips directly into PowerPoint. As always, we’d love to hear how you’re using this newfound PowerPoint wizardry. Give us a shoutout on Twitter to declare your mastery.
Power to the Point.