Office 2011 for Mac: Rehearse and Record PowerPoint Slide Shows

By Geetesh Bajaj, James Gordon

You may want to create a narrated version of your presentation in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac that you can distribute or broadcast. You can’t be everywhere, and even though your audience members won’t get the benefit of your physical presence, they’ll at least be able to hear you while they enjoy your PowerPoint 2011 slide show. Narrated shows can be presented in PowerPoint’s kiosk mode for automatic playback in screens that seem to be everywhere these days.

PowerPoint 2011 for Mac has two features that are similar: Rehearse and Record Slide Show. Both of them play the slide show while you rehearse it or speak along. While you rehearse, both features record how much time you spend on each slide. When you’re done, PowerPoint offers to let you use those timings for the slide show.

Rehearsing your PowerPoint slide show

Use Rehearse whenever you want to practice your presentation. You can advance slides one after the other, and PowerPoint prompts you to save the timings. You turn on this feature by choosing Slide Show→Rehearse from the menu bar or by clicking the Ribbon’s Slide Show tab, and in the Presenter Tools group, clicking Rehearse. The slide show runs in Presenter view from the first slide. PowerPoint keeps track of how much time you take while you rehearse.

At the end of the show, you decide whether to keep the timings. If you opt to save these timings, they’re saved as transition timings. When PowerPoint refers to an Automatic presentation, it refers to a presentation with timings, which can run unattended.

Many users work with the Rehearse Timings option to practice their PowerPoint slides aloud. They can get an idea about how long it’ll take to do an actual presentation using these slides. Thereafter, they opt not to save the timings.

Recording a slide show in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Use the Record Slide Show feature when you want to make a version of your presentation that has narration included for distribution. Record Slide Show works the same way as Rehearse Timings, but PowerPoint records what you say while you rehearse. At the end of each slide, PowerPoint creates a sound file and adds it to the slide. If you’re not happy with the audio, you can always go back, delete the sound icon from the slide, and re-record the slide’s narration.

To start the slide show and begin recording, choose Slide Show→Record Slide Show from the menu bar, or click the Ribbon’s Slide Show tab, and in the Presenter Tools group, click Record Slide Show. The procedure is the same as for the Rehearse feature described in the previous section.

Work from a script rather than try to wing it. Even with a script, expect to spend 40 minutes or more working on the audio for each 15 minutes’ worth of audio that makes it into your presentation.