Microsoft PowerPoint offers a feature that allows for automatic closed captioning to appear on presented slides. If a presenter enables the subtitle feature for their PowerPoint presentation, and shares their PowerPoint via the screenshare feature in Zoom during a webinar or meeting, PowerPoint will pick up the presenter’s voice and automatically transcribe subtitles onto the slide. This text is viewable by the audience automatically and in real-time when the slides are being screenshared.
Note: This PowerPoint feature is heavily reliant upon the presenter’s microphone. While PowerPoint's closed captioning is most accurate when picking up the words of the presenter screensharing the slide content, it is not as accurate when picking up external voices through the presenter’s microphone (i.e. attendees asking live questions, a panel-style discussion, etc.). Microsoft's caption service depends on AI text generation, so having a reliable and fast internet connection is important for the quality of this service.
PowerPoint for Microsoft 365 version 16.0.11601.20178 or higher is required for this functionality.
To set up a PowerPoint slide deck to have closed captioning enabled:
- Open the PowerPoint file.
- On the ribbon tab, select Slide Show, then select Subtitle Settings.
- Set the Spoken Language option. This is the language the presenter will be speaking.
- Set the Subtitle Language option. This is the language that the closed captioning or subtitles will be transcribed.
- Under Subtitle Settings you can also select where the closed captioning will be displayed; overlaid at the bottom or the top of the slide, or above or below the slide. All of the offered layout options are compatible with the Pathable platform for both webinar and BOF-style meetings and will display to the attendee during screenshare. The presenter should consider their individual slide content when selecting where the closed captioning should be displayed (i.e. will overlaying the closed captioning interfere with words or images on their slides).
- Under Subtitle Settings, review the Microphone setting to confirm PowerPoint is able to pick up the presenter’s voice. The selection here will vary based on the individual presenter’s device and whether they are using a headset, web camera microphone, their device’s embedded microphone, etc.
Note: Mac users may need to also select the Always Use Subtitles setting.
If the webinar or meeting is set to be recorded within the Pathable platform, the closed captioning that displays during screenshare will be preserved within the recording.
Unlike closed captioning set up through Zoom, the closed caption text will only display as long as PowerPoint slides are being screenshared. If you would like more information about setting up closed captioning via Zoom, please review the Closed Captioning in Zoom Sessions Knowledgebase article.
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