Even though PowerPoint is often associated with corporate presentations, it is increasingly being used in non-conventional areas to create greeting cards, photo slide shows and even family trees. For these situations, rather than being a distraction, music can the perfect accompaniment to your slide show.
Microsoft realized that users want more fun features in PowerPoint and gave PowerPoint 2003 the ability to play entire media play lists in sequence. These lists can be made up of all sorts of sound and movie formats. When you combine the play list feature with a cool background ‘skin,' you really can can create a nice semi-jukebox presentation in PowerPoint.
The Presentation Background
Usually, you want to use subtle backgrounds for PowerPoint presentations --
something that lets you easily read the text content that's placed on it. However, a media presentation doesn't have to be conventional. You can create and use all sorts of crowded collages for backgrounds. In fact, you can forget about backgrounds altogether and create a series of slides with full screen photographs using PowerPoint's Photo Album feature (Insert | Picture | New Photo Album…). Then you can use the information in this article to make the music tracks span across the slides as they play (note that this technique only works in PowerPoint 2003).
The Playlist in PowerPoint
Launch Windows Media Player and create a playlist that contains your favorite music tracks. Reorder them if required and save it as a Windows Media Playlist file (*.WPL). If you already have a playlist created, you can skip this step. If you want to know more about creating Windows Media playlists, check out this KnowledgeBase article:
How to Create a Personal Playlist for Use in Windows Media Player (http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;249234&Product=wmp)
PowerPoint also accepts M3U playlists created with other media players like WinAmp or MusicMatch Jukebox.
Now open PowerPoint. You can either create a new presentation or open an existing one. If you use an existing presentation, it's a good idea to create a backup of it before you go any further.
Navigate to the slide where you want to begin playing the sounds (usually the first slide) and choose Insert | Movies and Sounds | Sound from File...
Within the subsequent dialog box, navigate to the folder that contain the play list (*.WPL or *.M3U) file. You may need to change the Files of type drop-down to show All files (*.*). If you can't remember where the play list file is saved, you can always find that information again in Windows Media Player. The default play list folder is usually My Documents/My Music/My Playlists.
Select your play list and click OK. PowerPoint gives you a prompt that asks if you want the sound to start Automatically. Say yes.
Right-click the shape that PowerPoint places on the slide and choose Custom Animation. In the Custom Animation task pane, click the play action item (not the trigger animation) and choose Effect Options from the drop-down menu.
In the Stop playing group, specify how many slides you want the play list to continue playing through. The highest number you can type here is 999. Setting it to 999 is ideal if you want the play list to loop and play all the time. On the other hand, if you want all the sounds and movies to play on a single slide, choose Stop playing after current slide instead.
Because a play list can include either audio or video, the play list object appears and behaves like a Movie object in PowerPoint. For sounds, it appears as a black rectangle on the slide (where Windows Media visualizations appear for audio).
You might have a continuous photo slide show accompanying the music tracks/ media play list. In that case, you won't need the large rectangle in the center of the slide that represents the media player.
You can resize the media area as required. In fact, you can also drag it off the slide and the music tracks still play as your presentation moves from one slide to the other.