PowerPoint 2003: Inserting Sound Effects

Adding sound effects to a PowerPoint 2003 presentation can be an effective way to emphasize key points, transitions between slides, or add interest to your presentation. However, sound effects should be used judiciously as overuse can become distracting or annoying to your audience.

When to Use Sound Effects

Here are some instances where sound effects can be useful in a PowerPoint 2003 presentation:

  • Transition sounds: Play a subtle sound effect like a “swoosh” when transitioning between major sections or topics in your presentation. This alerts your audience that you are moving on.
  • Punctuate key points: Use a subtle sound like a gentle chime after making an important point or revealing a key statistic.
  • Reinforce concepts: Associate relevant sounds to visuals to reinforce ideas. For example, play a cash register “cha-ching” when showing a slide about increased sales.
  • Grab attention: Use more striking sounds like applause or a rooster crowing to grab the audience’s attention before revealing something important. But use these effects sparingly.

How to Insert Sound Effects

Adding sound effects in PowerPoint 2003 is straightforward:

  1. Navigate to the slide where you want to insert the sound effect
  2. Select Insert > Movies and Sounds > Sound from Clip Organizer
  3. Browse the available sound clips and double click on your desired sound to insert it
  4. The sound effect will appear on your slide as a speaker icon, which you can drag to reposition

Tip: You can also insert sound effects from files on your computer rather than the Clip Organizer by selecting Sound from File instead.

Controlling How Sounds Play

Once inserted, double click the sound icon to preview it. There are also several options that control how sounds play:

  • Start: Choose if the sound plays automatically or when clicked
  • Play across slides: Have the sound continue playing as you advance slides
  • Rewind after playing: Automatically rewind the sound to the beginning after it finishes playing
  • Loop until stopped: Continuously loop the sound until manually stopped
  • Hide sound icon during slide show: Hide the icon so it doesn’t distract from slide content

These options are found by right clicking the sound icon and choosing Custom Animation.

Best Practices

When adding sound effects, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Use subtle, soft sounds: Harsh or loud sounds can annoy. Stick to gentle effects.
  • Keep sounds short: Cut longer sound clips down to just a few seconds.
  • Limit the number of sounds: Only use 1-2 sound effects per slide, and even per presentation.
  • Match sounds to slides: Choose sounds that relate to the accompanying visuals. Random sounds are distracting.
  • Check the order: If using multiple sounds on one slide, check they play in the intended sequence.
  • Preview the slide show: Preview the slide show to ensure the sounds have the desired effect.


Used judiciously and in moderation, sound effects can enhance a PowerPoint 2003 presentation. But too many sounds or sounds that don’t match the content can undermine your message. Follow the best practices outlined to insert simple yet impactful sounds.


[1] https://edu.gcfglobal.org/en/powerpoint2003/inserting-sound-effects/1/
[2] https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/131357/PowerPoint_2003_Voice_Over.pdf