Articulate 101: Importing Audio into Presenter

Feb42008
Written by justin — Posted in Articulate 101, Articulate Presenter

This is the 4th post in the Articulate 101 series. It was written by Articulate Sr. Customer Support Engineer Justin Wilcox.


Importing audio into Articulate Presenter is just a matter of a few mouse clicks. As Gabe has outlined in previous posts, you can import multiple audio files or even use the Timeline Audio Editor to split your audio across several slides.

Today I’m going to provide some useful tips to make sure that the audio you are using is the best quality possible and that the file imports without issue.

WAV versus MP3
Articulate Presenter allows you to import WAV or MP3 files. Which is better? Dave Mozealous, our QA Project Lead, wrote a great blog article that outlines why WAV files are preferred over MP3.

The basic WAV settings that we recommend are these:

  • Bit rate: 16 bit
  • Sampling rate: 44 KHZ
  • Encoding: PCM
  • Format: WAV

If you aren’t entirely convinced that WAV files are better and want to import MP3 files, you need to make sure that they are Flash-supported files.

Naming conventions
When you create audio for your presentation you probably want to keep your files organized for future use. While it might be tempting to use every key on your keyboard to name your audio files, keep things simple.

I prefer to name my files after the slide I am going to import them into. slide1.WAV, while not the most exciting name in the world, is a simple naming convention that will help you keep your files organized.

Location
The location of your audio file is actually an important consideration to make when importing audio files. For best results, we recommend working on your local drive. The directory path of your audio file should also contain only Western characters. For example, here’s a perfect example of a place to store my audio files:

C:\Users\Justin Wilcox\My Documents\Audio Files

Read-only
If you receive audio files from another person, you will want to make sure that the files are not marked as Read-only. You can do this in the following way:

  1. Right-click the file and select Properties.
  2. Under the General tab, look under Attributes and ensure that Read-only is unchecked.

If you follow the steps above, your imported audio will sound great, be in an organized fashion for future use, and will import without issue.


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20 responses to “Articulate 101: Importing Audio into Presenter”

1

One more thing worth considering is the possibility of volume variations between your audio files. While Articulate allows you to normalize your audio upon publishing, I’ve learned that normalizing doesn’t really do everything you might want (or expect) it to.

There is another tool (free!) worth considering before importing your narration audio into Articulate, called The Levelator.

Details on The Levelator and how I use it in my Articulate workflow here: http://www.equixotic.com/2008/02/02/improve-your-elearning-narration-audio-with-the-levelator/

Chris @ eQuixotic // Posted at 6:42 pm on February 4th, 2008
2

Chris, I agree…The Levelator is indeed a simple, great and free way to enhance your audio files. BTW, it does support drag-and-drop batch processing…at least in WinXP.

Phil Corriveau // Posted at 12:17 am on February 5th, 2008
3

Hey Phil, I realized The Levelator will batch process files (it works on the Mac version too) but my question is this: can The Levelator do its magic across multiple files? Or will doing so result in a different “reference point” for each individual file, resulting in inconsistent levels across the multiple files?

Pardon my complete lack of audio technical expertise – my understanding was that The Levelator can’t really do its thing effectively over multiple files, but that conclusion may be based on misinformation I found in various online forums. Yes, Google in the hands of a newbie can be a dangerous thing.

It would be nice to know if it can be effectively used across multiple files – it would save me the additional export/import step.

Chris @ eQuixotic // Posted at 9:32 am on February 5th, 2008
4

Chris, glad you got the batching to work on the Mac. No worries about tech expertise…we’re all here to learn ;)

Although, I am not a regular user (I use Adobe Audition for my compression/normalization chores), I can tell you that I gave The Levelator a good workover a while back when a colleague wanted to recommend it to other departments. I just ran another batch of 40 raw audio files from a single session thru the Levelator, and witnessed a consistent volume level (listening and looking at the waveform) throughout.

Keep in mind that audio compression/limiting–one of the effects that Levelator applies–reduces the range of volume peaks and valleys for a file. This reduced range–resulting in virtually the same peak or “reference point” for all files–allows for much more consistent volume levels across files when normalization is applied afterwards.

Because The Levelator performs compression, limiting and normalization in one pass, and no options can be tweaked in the app, the exact same settings are applied to each file. This should result in consistent volume.

Of course, if you bring in files that were recorded differently (different mic/voice/room etc.), your mileage may vary.

Overall, the app does a nice job, is very efficient and best of all, free!

I hope that info helps and makes some sense.

Phil (AKA Spectre)

Philip Corriveau // Posted at 11:00 pm on February 6th, 2008
5

I am having trouble with the import audio feature. The dialog box is not coming up when I select the menu option “Import Audio.” I have tried resaving my ppt as a different file name and restarting my computer. Any advice?

Suz

Susan // Posted at 11:54 am on February 12th, 2008
6

[...] Importing Audio into Presenter [...]

7

I have an existing PowerPoint presentation with embedded .wav files. I thought I could sync the audio to these existing embedded files. I do not have the original files. Any recommendations? Is there a way to sync audio that is already embedded in PowerPoint using Articulate?

Candice // Posted at 10:26 am on April 1st, 2008
8

Hi Candice- Here’s a Knowledge Base entry that should help.

You can also try saving your PowerPoint file as a Web page (.html), which should extract the .WAV file for you to import via the Articulate menu.

gabe // Posted at 10:38 am on April 1st, 2008
9

Is there a simple way for me to achieve consistent volume among various audio clips and video? I.e. determine video’s sound level and set other audio-only files to the same level?

Sam // Posted at 3:24 am on February 9th, 2009
10

Here are a couple of articles which should give you some ideas:
http://www.articulate.com/blog/articulate-101-how-to-make-the-most-of-your-recorded-audio/
http://www.articulate.com/forums/34585-post3.html

Justin // Posted at 8:35 am on February 9th, 2009
11

Is there any way to view a list of audio files imported into a project?

Tracy Morrow // Posted at 6:29 pm on March 5th, 2009
12

Hi Tracy- What version of Presenter are you using? If you’re using Presenter ’09, you can export audio via Articulate -> Audio Editor -> (Articulate Logo) -> Export.

gabe // Posted at 12:02 pm on March 6th, 2009
13

Actually, what I’d like to do is take all the mappings in the Audio import window and put them out to an Excel file (or something similar). Occasionally, we lose the audio mappings, and the files are named in such a way that we have to map each slide to an audio file. It would make relinking the audio so much easier. Does Articulate do that?

Tracy Morrow // Posted at 12:17 pm on March 6th, 2009
14

Hi Tracy- It sounds like you’re not using Presenter ’09 since when you export from it, the file names are named to match the slide numbers.

For Presenter 4 and 5, see this Knowledge Base entry.

Is that what you were looking for?

gabe // Posted at 3:39 pm on March 6th, 2009
15

Hi,

I use Articulate Presenter 5.1.382. An outside person narrates our slides. The narrator has provided MP3 files in the past and they worked without problem, but the MP3 will not process properly now in Presenter, so the narrator provided the files also as WAV. Fyi,the MP3 files he provided for Engage were inserted without a problem, and I have MP3 Gain software to adjust the volume. However, Presenter will not accept the MP3 files properly and when the WAV files are imported, I cannot change the volume. I have unchecked “read only” on the file properties. Could you advise, please?

The WAV settings follow the recommendations:
Bit rate: 16 bit
Sampling rate: 44 KHZ
Encoding: PCM
Format: WAV

Thanks.

Colleen

Colleen // Posted at 11:39 am on March 18th, 2009
16

Hi Colleen. For technical assistance please submit a case:
http://www.articulate.com/support/contact/

Justin Wilcox // Posted at 8:36 am on March 19th, 2009
17

The link to Dave M’s blog should be updated to: http://www.mozealous.com/?p=31

Will Findlay // Posted at 12:09 pm on September 25th, 2009
18

Thanks for pointing this out, Will. I’ve updated the link in the post.

gabe // Posted at 4:43 pm on September 25th, 2009
19

I used MP3Gain to level my audio sound between files. I’ve never used it before. I clicked Track Gain (Brian Batt’s suggestion). Now what? I have some files marked red, some, blue, some black in MP3Gain and I don’t know what exactly has been done, nor how to get them back into my Articulate course. Please help.

Tanya // Posted at 12:04 pm on March 7th, 2012
20

Hi Tanya,

I saw your forum post yesterday and I answered it here:

http://community.articulate.com/forums/p/6515/60859.aspx#60859

Red means that no changes needed to be made to the file. The changes are applied to the file itself. So, you just need to go into that location (develop\audio_3-7) and import the audio back in:

http://www.articulate.com/support/presenter09/?p=15

Brian Batt // Posted at 8:40 am on March 8th, 2012

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