Record and Play Audio Notes in Word 2011 for Mac

By Geetesh Bajaj, James Gordon

The Notebook Layout view in Word 2011 for Mac allows you to record sound while you type. What you type is linked to the audio so that Word annotates the audio. You can play back the audio that was recorded when you typed the text by clicking anywhere in the text of the document and then clicking the speaker icon that appears.

All Mac laptops and iMacs are equipped with built-in microphones that offer surprisingly good sensitivity in meetings. Other Macs require a microphone to record audio notes. The Recording Status indicator of the Audio Notes tab on the Ribbon always displays the current audio status. Follow these steps to get started with a recording session:

  1. Click the Audio Notes tab on the Ribbon.

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  2. Adjust the Input Volume slider.

    Try starting with the Input Volume slider adjusted so that the sound input level indicator shows the volume is about 3/4 of full volume. Take a sound sample before you do your real recording to get the best level for the meeting room.

  3. Click the red Record button and then type notes while you record the session.

    Audio is synchronized automatically with your notes as you type. Press Return or Enter as you type while recording to make it visually apparent in your document when a new topic or something noteworthy you want to differentiate appears. Keep an eye on the sound input level indicator and try to keep it at about bf3/4 volume with the Input Volume slider. You can adjust indenting levels later. Pressing Enter or Return adds an audio marker and denotes a new paragraph. Press Tab to indent and Shift-Tab to outdent.

  4. Click the black Stop button to stop recording the audio.

After you record audio, you can have some fun playing it back. If you move your mouse over the margin to the left of anything you typed, an audio icon appears. Click that icon to hear the audio that was recorded while the text on that line was being typed. If you see a disclosure triangle, click it to show or hide indented Notes Levels. To find the following playback options, go to the Ribbon, click the Audio Notes tab, and look for the Audio Playback group:

  • Play: Starts audio playback at the beginning of the document, resumes playing when paused, or plays from the time chosen in Seek.

  • Pause: Halts playback until you click Play again.

  • Seek: Lets you go to a specific time in the audio timeline as follows:

    • Click the button at the left to move closer to the beginning of the audio.

    • Click the button at the right to move more to the end of the audio.

    • Drag from the left side of the Seek timeline to move the timeline indicator to a specific time.

    • Click into the Seek control. Click or drag the mouse to adjust the time.

  • Rate: Drag the slider left for slower playback, or right for faster playback.

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