How to Add Audio to Google Slides

To keep up with Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple Keynote, Google Slides has added an audio feature to help you design more interactive presentations. You can add audio from YouTube videos, streaming services like SoundCloud, or your own file. For your own files, Slides supports different formats, so there is no need to convert the files before you insert them into the presentation.

Whichever audio source you prefer, this article will provide a comprehensive guide for each method. Though, a word of caution is in store if you wish to use SoundCloud or YouTube audio. Some of the tracks are copyrighted, so it’s best to go for audio that either falls under the Creative Commons category or is in public domain.

Note: The following explanations assume you already have a presentation. We have used the Consulting Proposal template as an example.

Adding Your Own Audio

Step 1

As indicated, there is no need to convert the audio into MP3 or other formats, which was necessary prior to the most recent Google Productivity Suite update. Just add the file to your Google Drive and make sure to label it for easier navigation, though it should pop up under Recent anyway.

Step 2

To add a file, click on “Insert” in the Slides menu bar and select “Audio”. This immediately takes you to all the available audio files on your drive. Scroll the list, select the one that you want to use, and click “Select” at the bottom-left to confirm.

Step 3

By default, the audio icon appears in the upper-left corner, but this might not be the perfect position for everybody. To reposition the icon, drag and drop it to the desired destination within a slide.

There is also an option to make the icon bigger or smaller by dragging in and out one of the small blue squares around it. As you reposition the icon, a navigation grid appears to make it easier to determine where the icon sits in relation to other slide elements.

Step 4

Google Slides allows you to change the playback settings which are on-click by default. Select the audio icon, click “Format” (in the menu bar), and choose “Format Options.” Open the “Audio Playback” section and select “Automatic”, move the slider to decrease/increase volume, and make sure that “Stop on slide change” is checked.

Tip: To check that everything works well, open that slide in the Present mode.

Adding YouTube Audio

Step 1

For this to work, you need to convert the YouTube video into audio format. Grab the YouTube video link by clicking on Share, then Copy link, and paste it into an online converter. For the purposes of this article, we’ve used, but any other converter should work fine.

Note: Some people want to cut this step and add the YouTube video instead of audio. But the video plays in a small thumbnail on your slide, which might divert the viewer’s attention from the presentation.

Step 2

This step is the same as previously described. You add the audio file to Google Drive, go to “Insert”, select “Audio”, and choose the MP3 that contains just the YouTube audio. And again, the same formatting rules apply – drag and drop the icon to reposition it and use “Format Options” to tweak the playback.

Can You Hide the Audio Icon?

Of course you can, and this can come in handy especially with the auto playback option on. Select the icon, choose “Arrange” from the menu bar, and click on “Order.”

Select “Send backward” or “Send to back” to hide the icon behind another element. In general, it’s best to hide it behind your company logo or image/element rather than text.

Using Streaming Services

There are two ways to add audio to Google Slides from streaming services. You can grab a link by clicking on the Share option under a tune or podcast and add the audio as a link. But this requires an internet connection while you are doing the presentation, and you need to exit the presentation to play the audio.

Needless to say, it is best to download the audio and embed it into a slide as previously described. Just a quick reminder: upload to Drive, click “Insert”, select “Audio”, and choose your tune. But remember, some tunes are under copyright or you might need to pay to download them, so be careful with what you decide to use.

Make Your Slides Speak for Themselves

Adding audio to slides can have so many purposes. It can be used as a direct reference to a person/lecture you might want to quote or just to add some background music for dramatic effect.

Do you like to use audio in your presentations? If so, what do you use it for the most? Share your tips and tricks with the rest of the community in the comments section below.

One thought on “How to Add Audio to Google Slides”

Michael says:
don’t have anything in the insert audio place it is empty

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