Need to record a PowerPoint presentation? Whether for an online course, a virtual conference session, or as an element of a broader content marketing strategy, most edupreneurs and expertise-based businesses will need to record presentations at some point. And while a growing number turn to alternatives like Google Slides or Keynote, Microsoft PowerPoint is still the most common choice.
It’s hard to believe (at least for me) that PowerPoint has been a mainstay of educators and public speakers for over 30 years. Even more surprising, its market share has held steady at 95% since the late 1990s. Clearly, it’s going nowhere, in spite of the complaints about “death by PowerPoint” that have been around for nearly as long.
The problem, of course, is that most presenters have never learned to use PowerPoint effectively, resulting in dull, tired presentations that quickly turn learners off. That problem is usually even worse when you record a PowerPoint presentation because you lose the ability to respond, adjust, and interact with your audience on the fly.
So, in this post, we’ll take a look at how to go about recording a presentation using the tools in PowerPoint (and a few compatible video editing programs) and also review the basics of creating an effective, compelling presentation.
- For a more in-depth look at how to make your content as seamless as your slides, check out 7 steps to record a successful virtual presentation.
- For more on using PowerPoint to create online courses, see Optimizing PowerPoint for E- learning.
How Microsoft PowerPoint Works
You’d have to be living under a rock to have never heard of PowerPoint before, but to understand how it works, it’s important to know why it was first designed.
The original PowerPoint program was written to create overhead transparencies, a favored medium of many educators before video projectors and interactive whiteboards became the norm! This explains PowerPoint’s “slide” feature, as originally each presentation was delivered on a series of individual sheets.
Today the slides created in PowerPoint are usually displayed as a complete video or slide show. This ability opened the door for more interactive elements, such as animated transitions between slides, and embedded video and audio. These features can help make your PowerPoint presentation more engaging, but too many interactive elements can increase the learners’ cognitive load and ultimately make presentations less effective.
How to Create a PowerPoint Presentation
Every presentation starts with the same basic template. These options are fully customizable, or you can select from pre-made templates to speed up the process of designing your slides. To make a simple presentation, you only have to add text, bullet points, and images. Use the preset layouts or select content boxes from the top ribbon and click to insert them into your post.
The latest versions of PowerPoint include a stock image library, and the program will suggest design ideas based on your layout to make each slide look more professional. This is an excellent feature if you’re not particularly design-minded and don’t want to spend a long time adjusting the appearance of your slides.
Pro Tip: If you need to edit your images, check out Pixlr, a simple, but powerful Web- based photo editor.
Once you’re happy with the content and general appearance of your PowerPoint presentation, it’s time to add your audio or video content. The entire slide show can then be exported as a video presentation or virtual lesson, and uploaded to your website, newsletter, or content delivery system of choice.
PowerPoint will export to video (mp4 or wmv) in full or ultra HD (1080p/4K). This is important if you intend to embed your presentation in a website or use it as part of an online course. It also removes compatibility issues for users who either don’t have access to PowerPoint, or are using PowerPoint for the web, which doesn’t support all the functionality of the full program.
How to Record Audio on PowerPoint
The most fundamental question in recording your presentation is how to record voice on PowerPoint. To add voice recordings to your presentation, simply select the Slide Show tab from the top ribbon.
Before completing the entire recording, I recommend using the Rehearse Timings feature to review how your script fits your slides. This opens a test screen that will play your slide show and record how long you spend on each page.
Use the Pause and Reset buttons as you make adjustments and use the Notes section to document any changes you need to make to your script (you do have a script, right?). If timing is an issue, use an online speech calculator to calculate your word count.
When you’re ready to record, select the Record Slide Show option from the top ribbon. Toggle video and/or audio on or off using the options at the top of the record screen.
While you can record audio using a built-in microphone, investing in a good quality shotgun mic will improve the quality of your recording.
By default, PowerPoint enables you to record the full slide show presentation in a single take. Click through the slides to trigger animations or progress through the presentation. When you’re
done, you can review the recording. The recording is saved on a slide-by-slide basis, so you don’t have to re-record the entire presentation to correct any errors.
A word of caution: Because the audio is saved on a per-slide basis, no audio is recorded during slide transitions. Always ensure you have finished speaking before triggering the next slide to avoid cutting off the end of each section.
How to Video Record Yourself Presenting
If you want to include yourself in your PowerPoint, toggle the video option on from the Record Slide Show screen. By default, your camera input will appear at the bottom right of your presentation during the recording.
Once you’ve finished recording your video, return to the editing screen. Your recording will appear in the bottom right. From here it can be dragged anywhere on the slide to reposition it. You can also resize the video frame or remove the recording by selecting and deleting it.
As with audio recording, PowerPoint doesn’t save video during transitions. And while you can use a built-in webcam to record your presentation, if you want it to look more professional, you’re better investing in an external camera such as the Mevo Plus.
Record with a Screen Recorder
While you can get a perfectly good recording using the native capabilities in PowerPoint, there are powerful third-party tools that can help you take your recorded presentation to a more professional level – increasingly important if you want to stand out in the market for online courses and/or virtual event presentations.
Specialized screen recording or screencasting software offers more post-production options, including professional transitions, closed captioning, the ability to add interactive elements, and direct publishing to content distributors such as Vimeo and YouTube, and additional video file formats, including mov, avi, and mpeg-2.
In this section, we’ll take a quick look at three of the most popular choices:
Each of these is compatible with PowerPoint and offers extra features to make your presentation stand out from the crowd. (You can also find more information about screen recording software here as well as in this review of Camtasia alternatives.)
Recording a PowerPoint Presentation with Camtasia
Since its initial release in October 2002, Camtasia has grown to become an industry leader in screen recording and video editing. Using Camtasia you can capture personal videos via your web camera, record sections of your screen, load sound effects from Camtasia’s royalty-free music library, capture stuff from your iPhone, throw in pre-made animations, set up custom video themes, apply device themes, and more.
Camtasia is compatible with both macOS and Windows PCs – it can run on Microsoft Windows 10 or later versions as well as on macOS 10.13 or later.
If you have Camtasia and PowerPoint installed on your computer, you’ll find the Camtasia record features in the Add In tab on the toolbar in PowerPoint. From there you can access additional features Camtasia offers, such as setting custom hot keys or frame rate.
You can also import your PowerPoint slides into Camtasia and edit them in Camtasia’s software instead. Click the Import Media option and select your PowerPoint file. This will convert your slides into PNG image files. While this will limit your ability to edit the slide itself, it gives you much more control over the final output, as you can adjust your slides to fit your audio and video overlay.
If you plan to record a PowerPoint presentation for use as part of an online course, one of the big advantages of using Camtasia is that you can export your finished recording as a SCORM package, meaning it can be imported into any SCORM-compliant learning management system (LMS) and the LMS will be able to track learning activity (e.g., time in course, quiz scores). This is not possible when relying only PowerPoint’s native recording capabilities. (More on SCORM here.)
Recording a PowerPoint Presentation with ScreenFlow
Available only for Mac, ScreenFlow is software that allows you to simultaneously record from your screen, camera, and microphone. You can record everything in a single take by navigating through your slide show on your screen while delivering your audio and/or video presentation, or you can record each element separately and stitch them together. While a little more time consuming, this second method works best if you need to edit, cut, or retake a section of your delivery.
Like Camtasia, ScreenFlow includes a suite of audio and video editing tools to customize your presentation, and it enables you to continue speaking during slide transitions. This can eliminate long pauses and deliver a seamless narration.
In general, Screenflow is very similar to Camtasia in its overall feature set. One major difference is that it cannot export content as a SCORM package, which may make it somewhat less attractive for course creators. On the other hand, if you are a Mac user, it’s lower price tag makes it an attractive option for bring more power to recording your PowerPoint presentations.
Recording a Presentation with Screencast-O-Matic
Screencast-O-Matic screencasting software – compatible with both Mac and PC – boasts a powerful suite of video editing tools. Even the Premier version only costs an extremely reasonable $4/month. As with other software, you can record video or audio as well as your screen and edit the final presentation with post-production tools.
Open PowerPoint and navigate through your slides while Screencast-O-Matic records all or part of your screen. You can hide or show the webcam video at any point during the presentation, and use video editing tools to add effects, captions, and filters.
While somewhat less feature rich than Camtasia – particularly in the free version – Screencast-O-Matic does have the advantage of a very user-friendly interface. If you are new to creating recorded presentations, it will enable you to get up and running in no time and at little to no extra cost.
PowerPoint has come a long way from mundane bullet point slides and gimmicky transitions. Now a host of impressive design and editing tools allow you to create engaging, informative
video presentations for your online courses, webinars, and lecture series. And native tools make it possible to record a PowerPoint presentation so that it can be access and played according to the specific schedules of your audience members.
Getting skilled at recording your presentations is more important than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the value of virtual learning across multiple fields and industries, and there’s every reason to believe that more and more conferences, courses, and events will continue to make video learning a core part of their strategy in the future.
As recorded presentations grow in popularity, though, event planners, attendees, training purchasers, and learners will demand higher quality content. So, it’s more important than ever to produce professional, quality videos that captivate your audience and demonstrate the value of your expertise. PowerPoint and accompanying video editing programs now make creating beautiful presentations easier than ever before.