Creating interactive lessons with Microsoft PowerPoint


Did you know you can create interactive lessons with PowerPoint? Depending on your version of PowerPoint, these can include audio, video, screen recording, quizzes, and other interactive experiences, including ones for science and math, available through an add-in called “Office Mix”.

Getting started

If you want to make your own audio recording, make sure you have a working microphone on your computer. Most laptops have one built-in. The steps for checking out your microphone vary, but many involve opening your computer’s Control Panel (available from the Start menu in Windows), then viewing Hardware and Sound, then Sound, then Recording. If there is a microphone with a green check near it, you’re good to go. You can also get plug-and-play microphones for your computer.

If you plan to insert quizzes and other added interactive functions, you need to install Office Mix as an add-in. Go to, click on Get Office Mix, and follow the prompts. The next time you open PowerPoint, Mix will be added to the menu bar.

Adding images, including those that move!

Good images can spice up a presentation. To bring humor and interest to your lesson, check out, which offers a host of free movable pictures that come to life when the slideshow is running. To capture a picture in, right-click on it, select Save image as… and browse for a folder to store the file.

An animated *gif file from

An animated *gif file from

To insert an image from the PowerPoint menu bar, click on Insert > Pictures to browse for a picture you have saved, or Insert > Online Pictures (if available) to search Bing for pictures.

Adding and editing sound/audio onto a slide

There are two ways to insert audio onto a slide. You can insert a pre-made recording, usually in *.mp3 or *.wav format. Or you can create your own recording in the slide.

To insert audio from a pre-made file, from the PowerPoint menu bar select Insert > Media > Audio and look for Audio on My PC. Browse for the audio file and select it. You will see a speaker icon in the middle of the slide, which you can move to the side if desired.

To insert your own recording, follow the same process as above, but instead of selecting a file, select Record Audio. When prompted to record, enter a name for the recording and click the red circle to start recording. The recording will continue until you click the blue square and/or the OK button. Before long you will see a speaker icon on the slide.

To edit the audio, select the speaker icon, then right-click and look for editing options in the Audio > Format and Audio > Playback menus. You can make the audio play automatically when the slide changes by select Audio > Playback from the menu bar, then changing Start: On Click to Start: Automatically and selecting the Hide During Slideshow checkbox.


After you select the speaker icon associated with an audio recording, you can change how it plays and appears within the PowerPoint slide.

Adding pre-made videos

To insert a pre-made video, from the PowerPoint menu select Insert > Media > Video. You will be given a choice to select a video file from your computer or choose one from the Web.

Adding a screen recording

If you want to demonstrate how to do a computer process, you can record your screen. From the PowerPoint menu select Insert > Media > Screen Recording. Select the area you want to record, click the red record button, and go through the screen process you want to document.

When done, hover the mouse near the top of the screen to pull up a menu which lets you stop or pause. When you finish, the recording will be placed on the slide.

Adding quizzes

Here’s where Office Mix comes in handy. To see what it has to offer, select Mix from the PowerPoint menu and see the first two items on the Mix menu.

mix menu

Office Mix offers interactive activities and slide recordings for PowerPoint slides.

Click on Quizzes Videos Apps, then click on the Office Store button to continue. Here you will see free apps you can add to PowerPoint, which include a multiple choice quiz, multiple response poll, free response quiz (short answer), and true/false quiz.

To add an app, click on its Add button.

add in list

Office Mix offers four types of interactive testing tools which can be inserted into PowerPoint slides.

Inserting pre-made lessons

If you scroll further down the Lab Office Add-ins menu, you’ll see math-related apps including GeoGebra, Online Python Tutor, Khan Content, FluidMath, PhET Sims – Science/Math, CK-12 Science Resources and CK-12 Math Resources.

math resources

Office Mix offers a variety of math and science videos and teaching tools which can be inserted in PowerPoint slides.

Click Add to add an app. If the program requires it, you may have to sign in.

After you select the app, you may also need to refine your selection until you see another Add button.

Adding hand drawings, handwriting, and video recordings

The Slide Recordings app works best with a tablet, because it records stylus and/or mouse movement. If you have a camera and microphone, you can include a video and/or audio recording of yourself.


Slide Recording in Office Mix allows you to show the progression of hand drawing or handwriting in a PowerPoint slide. You can also audio and video of yourself as your record.

To start, from the PowerPoint menu select Mix > Slide Recording. When the app opens, select a pen and ink color in the right side bar. Also in the right sidebar, make sure the camera and microphone are set as desired.

To find out more about Office Mix, including how to create closed captioning, see Microsoft’s web article “Deliver compelling presentations using Office Mix SlideNotes and closed captioning.”


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