Hi, Microsoft 365 Insiders! I’m Peter Wu, a Principal Software Engineer on the PowerPoint team. I’m excited to share with you, improvements to closed captions support in PowerPoint that will help you make your presentations accessible to people with disabilities.
Closed captions for embedded audio
Have you recorded a PowerPoint presentation with your camera off? Or added music clips to your presentation? When you do, you add audio objects on your slides. Audio is a great way to engage with your audience! It complements the visuals on your slides without adding any unwanted clutter (when using the Hide During Show setting). But what if some people can’t hear the audio? If they are Deaf/deaf or Hard of Hearing, or are in a noisy room, or need to turn their volume down to be quiet, they may not be able to hear the audio.
You can now add closed captions to audio objects in PowerPoint for Windows and PowerPoint for Mac. When closed captions are included, viewers have the option to show the words on the screen while the audio plays, so they can understand your message even if they can’t hear the audio. You can even add closed captions tracks in multiple languages and let viewers choose which one to see. PowerPoint for Windows and PowerPoint for Mac already support adding closed captions for embedded video, and now you can add closed captions for embedded audio in the same way.
Closed captions for audio objects appear across the bottom of the slide for easy reading even if the audio object is small, positioned off the slide, or is not visible at all if the Hide During Show setting has been applied.
While audio file formats do not include closed captions you can create closed captions in separate files in WebVTT format and insert them for the audio object.
How it works
- Select the audio object and select Playback >Insert Captions.
- Select the file or files you want to insert.
- To show the captions while playing the video, click the Caption button on the right side of the audio playback bar (or press Alt+J and Esc on Windows or Option+J on Mac), and then select the track that you want.
NOTE: Each file that you insert appears as a separate track on the menu. The captions will appear overlaid on the slide as it plays.
Saving audio or video with closed captions as separate files
Suppose you have audio or video in your presentation and you need the audio or video files again to use in another place. The Save Media as command makes it easy.
NOTE: if the audio or video has closed captions associated with it, the closed caption files will be saved alongside the audio or video file.
How it works
- Right-click (or Control-click on macOS) the audio icon or video, and then click Save Media as.
- In the Save Media As dialog box, select the folder you want to save the media file in, and enter a name.
- Select the Save button.
If the audio or video has closed captions, the closed caption files will be saved in a new folder along with the audio or video file. Also note that the language code is included in the closed caption filenames to keep them organized.
Playing closed captions in PowerPoint for iOS
When you open a presentation in PowerPoint for iOS or Office Mobile for iOS, you can play closed captions for audio and video. Just tap the Caption button and select the track you want.
The captions will appear as the audio or video plays.
Tips and tricks
- Even if you have live captions enabled in PowerPoint, or you have a professional captioner or sign language interpreter for your presentation, it is a best practice to create and insert closed captions for your audio tracks and videos ahead of time. They will be more accurate and better synchronized with the audio or video, and you will be better able to convey your message.
- You can also insert closed captions from the Accessibility ribbon using the Insert Captions button.
Scenarios to try
- Add closed captions to embedded audios and videos in your presentation in PowerPoint for Windows or PowerPoint for Mac to make them more accessible.
- Add closed captions in additional languages.
- Turn on closed captions when playing audios and videos in PowerPoint for Windows, PowerPoint for Mac, PowerPoint for iOS, or Office Mobile for iOS.
- Use the Save Media as command in PowerPoint for Windows or PowerPoint for Mac to reuse closed captions again for audio or video files.
Closed captions for embedded audio is rolling out to Beta Channel users running:
- Windows: Version 2302 (Build 16130.20020) or later
- Mac: Version 16.71 (Build 23012902) or later
- iOS: Version 2.71 (Build 23013100) or later
The Save Media as command with closed caption files is available to Current Channel users running:
- Windows: Version 2211 (Build 15831.20208) or later
- Mac: Version 16.67 (Build 22103100) or later
Don’t have it yet? It’s probably us, not you.
Features are released over some time to ensure things are working smoothly. We highlight features that you may not have because they’re slowly releasing to larger numbers of Insiders. Sometimes we remove elements to further improve them based on your feedback. Though this is rare, we also reserve the option to pull a feature entirely out of the product, even if you, as an Insider, have had the opportunity to try it.
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Learn what other information you should include in your feedback to ensure it’s actionable and reaches the right people. We’re excited to hear from you!