Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

How to embed audio in PowerPoint presentations and convert m4a to mp3

Shortened link for this post is:

I've just discovered how to do this so I'm writing it down in my blogojournal as an aide memoire for when I find that I have to do it again.

As part of a workshop that my colleagues on the CHI+MED project are running we've been asked to put together a single slide to tell delegates who we are and what we do. For those not attending the workshop to deliver the slide in person we can add the audio and set it to run for us.

I've definitely done this before as we've previously used digital stories (we're a large project stretching over four universities and two hospitals and it's helpful to know who everyone is when we all get together as there are always new people) but could I remember how? No.

On Twitter @cvelhas was kind enough to give me the answer: "Hey Jodie, go to Insert, then Audio, then Record Audio :)" and she's right.

On my version of PowerPoint, clicking the Insert tab brings up a range of icons the last of which is the Audio one - clicking that brings up the option to:

Insert audio from file...
Clipart audio... (yikes!)
Record audio...

At first I tried to record but it turns out that my microphone and recording system aren't working very well on this computer.

So I recorded it on my iPhone (using the Voice Memos app that comes with it) and emailed the resulting .m4a file to myself (click on the icon with three lines, select the relevant memo, click the blue Share button and choose email - you can also do this via USB / iTunes).

It did sort of work when I embedded it into the slide but it was a struggle, and rather than appearing as an attractive 'play audio' icon it looked like a black box. When it was eventually persuaded to play the audio file it wiggled a little green line across the box, in time with my voice. Odd.

Then I googled "convert m4a to mp3" and found this free software which I've downloaded and used and it was all quick and painless. Once I'd remembered where I'd saved the output .mp3 I was able to embed it in the PowerPoint and send it to my colleague.


I also got a message from @liamgh who suggested "have a look at handbrake, vlc and ffmpeg too. All great for converting files - and open source."

I've not tried the others but VLC is amazing.

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