Closed captions for PowerPoint audio – adding and saving

PowerPoint 365 (Windows, Mac and iOS) can now use separate caption files for audio inside a presentation and also export the captions with media.

What’s new are captions for audio files like a transcript of a lecture or even song lyrics for a PowerPoint ‘sing-a-long’.  There’s a catch but one that can be bypassed.

Modern PowerPoint already lets you add captions to embedded video files and live captions during a presentation.

How to add captions to an audio file

Insert the audio file as usual, then go to the Playback tab and look for ‘Insert Captions’ on the right-side of the ribbon.

Source: Microsoft, cropped by us.

Select one or more caption files to insert. Captions can be for multiple languages, selectable at playback.

WebVTT format only

Caption files must be in WebVTT format, that’s the little trap we mentioned earlier.  A lot of subtitles and captions are in .srt format which isn’t compatible with PowerPoint captioning.

If your captions are in the more common .srt format or just a text file, there are conversion tools available.

Playing audio with captions

The audio play toolbar has a [CC] button to select one of the captions available or none.

Source: Microsoft, cropped by us.

Get the audio playback toolbar using Alt+J then Esc  in PowerPoint for Windows or just  Option+J on Mac PPT.

Audio captions on iPhone and iPad

Audio captions can also appear on iPhone and iPad.

Source: Microsoft, yet more cropping from us

Save audio with captions

Save As … will save embedded video or audio to separate files.  If there are linked captions, they will also be exported as .vtt files.

Source: Microsoft

Who gets it?

Closed captions for audio files is appearing first for PowerPoint 365, Insiders, beta channel:

  • Windows: v2302 build 16130.20020) or later
  • Mac: v16.71 build 23012902) or later
  • iOS: v2.71 build 23013100) or later

Save As Media with captions was added a little earlier for Windows/Mac only.

  • Windows: v2211 build 15831.20208
  • Mac: v16.67 build 22103100

Make captions for PowerPoint video and audio
PowerPoint 365 gets live captions and translation

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