PowerPoint: Pause a Sound File During Slide Show


Here’s one of my rare post concerning things you can do without using code.

I got an email the other day from a user who had read my blog entries about inserting sound files using code. He had an issue he was looking for help with. He didn’t seem all the comfortable with programming, but was willing to learn some coding if it solved his problem.

Here’s what he wanted to do: He had recorded narration for a slide as an mp3 file. He knew how to insert the file, and set it to play automatically, but he also wanted to have a Pause/Play button on the slide itself, so he could pause the narration at will during the slide show.

I knew how I’d set that up in code, but it seemed like a reasonable thing that users would want to be able to do without resorting to automation. So I went to our ever-helpful end-user writers, and sure enough, you can do what he wanted to without writing a single line of code. After they showed me how, I wrote up instructions and mailed them to him. Then I figured I might as well post them on my blog, in case anyone else was trying to do something similar. So here they are.

When you break it down, here’s what we actually want to do:

·        Insert narration that plays automatically when the slide loads.

·        Add a button that lets you pause the narration during the slide show.

So here are the four general tasks we need to set this up:

1.      Insert the sound file on the slide, and set it to play automatically.

2.      Add a ‘Pause’ button to the slide.

3.      Add a custom animation to the slide that pauses the sound file.

4.      Set the custom animation so that it’s triggered when you click the Pause button.

First, let’s insert the sound file:

1.      From the Insert menu, select Movies and Sounds, and then select the option for the sound you want to insert (Sound From File, etc.).

2.      We want the narration to start when the slide loads, so click Automatically when prompted.

Next, add the action button:

1.      From the Slide Show menu, select Action Buttons, and then click the button you want to use.

2.      Draw the button on your slide.

3.      When the Action Settings dialog box appears, under Action on Click, select None, and then click OK.

Next, add a custom animation to your slide:

1.      From the Slide Show menu, click Custom Animation.

The Custom Animation pane appears.

2.      In the Custom Animation pane, select Add Effect, then Sound Actions, and then Pause. This inserts a Pause animation into your animation sequence.

Finally, set the Pause animation to be triggered when the user clicks your ‘Pause’ action button:

1.      Select the Pause animation in the Custom Animation pane.

2.      Right-click and select Timing.

3.      On the Timing tab, click Triggers. Then click Start effect on click of, and select the action button from the pull-down list. Click OK.

That should do it. Now, when the sound file plays, clicking the action button will pause the file playback. Clicking the button again starts the sound file from where it was paused.

The end-user writers were also kind enough to suggest some online articles and trainings that cover these issues in more detail.

Here’s an article that’s about triggers:

Use triggers to create an interactive slide show in PowerPoint

This course covers the new sounds options that were available in 2003:

Playing Sound

While the next link is to a course focused on video, its second lesson tells how to set up the button panel to play the video (sound, in this case).

Playing movies

And, as always, you can also check out the public PowerPoint newsgroup. It’s a great place to get quick answers for stuff like this.

PowerPoint General Questions

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