Microsoft PowerPoint remains one of the premier presentation-building applications and it is used widely in business and education. Using this software you can create complex presentations that include multimedia snippets like audio clips and videos.
An aspect of PowerPoint that is often overlooked, however, is reusing those multimedia clips and having access to the audio in a more user-friendly way. This is where transcription and audio conversion are beneficial and in this guide, I look at how to convert audio to text in PowerPoint.
Understanding the Audio Capabilities of PowerPoint
Before we look at audio to text online tools and how to convert PowerPoint audio, we need to understand how audio is used in the program and this includes:
- Embedded videos with audio.
- Embedded audio files.
- Audio generated by the presenter.
Firstly, video files can be embedded into PowerPoint slides to provide interactive multimedia content. These videos usually have accompanying audio. For example, a business presentation might include a product demonstration video.
Secondly, standalone audio files such as MP3 files can be embedded into PowerPoint slides too. These could be something like an example of a bird song in a nature presentation, or a historical account recorded from a war veteran.
Lastly, there is the audio generated from the presentation itself which can include the presenter speaking, and interactions with the audience.
These are the three potential audio elements that can be included in PowerPoint presentations and you have to think about which ones you want to convert into text as it makes the process quite different.
The Different Ways of Transcribing PowerPoint Audio
Once you have decided which elements of the PowerPoint presentation you want to transcribe, there are several ways to convert the audio which I discuss below.
Method 1 - Recording a live presentation
If you are watching a live PowerPoint presentation such as in a lecture or business meeting, the simplest method is to record the presentation and then upload the resulting file to an audio-to-text transcription service. To do this do the following steps:
- Use an audio recorder to record the presentation.
- Get the resulting audio file in a shareable location.
- Upload the audio file to an online transcription service.
- Save the resulting text file.
Although this is a straightforward method several caveats can limit the suitability. Firstly, you need permission to record the presentation.
Secondly, the audio quality could be poor depending on your proximity to the speaker or output device for the PowerPoint presentation. There could also be interference and noise pollution. These factors can reduce the quality of the transcription.
If you can control these caveats then you can easily get detailed transcriptions from PowerPoint presentations, including the interactions with the audience, and input from the presenter which can be valuable.
Method 2 - Using PowerPoint’s Speech-to-Text Dictation Tool
Microsoft PowerPoint does have a speech-to-text dictation tool but this is used in a creative way - not for creating transcripts.
This tool is fantastic if you have ideas in your head that you want to use in your PowerPoint. Essentially, you dictate what you want to include in the PowerPoint slides and the tool automatically writes it!
- Open a new PowerPoint presentation.
- Click on Home > Dictate.
- Wait for the button to respond and start recording.
- Click on the slide where you want the text to appear.
- Start talking!
This dictation service works well, but you have to verbally insert punctuation by saying “question mark” for example which can be tedious.
Method 3 - Using a third-party transcription service
If you have access to the original PowerPoint file you can use a third-party transcription service which is by far the quickest method and yields the best results. Some transcription services allow you to upload the entire PowerPoint file, but most require that you upload only the embedded audio files from the presentation.
- Open the PowerPoint presentation.
- Navigate to the slides with the embedded audio files.
- Right-click on the embedded audio or video file.
- On the pop-up box, click “Save Media as”.
- Choose the save location and file name.
- Click save.
- Repeat this for all audio/video files in the presentation.
This simple process gives you audio or video files that can then be uploaded to an online audio-to-text transcription service. From there, the presentation audio is converted and you get a transcribed text document.
This is the easiest process and the only drawback is if the PowerPoint presentation has multiple slides and audio files where you have to save each one individually.
Get the Most From PowerPoint Presentations With Audio Transcription
How to convert audio to text in PowerPoint is a tricky one, but as you can see, with this capability, you can easily extract important audio information from presentations for future use. This gives you greater flexibility and means that you don’t have to waste time continually replaying the presentation audio to write down what was said.