Subtitle your Presentations



When we run webcasts and presentations, we like to include subtitles.  There are a couple of ways we’ve done this with the Microsoft tools and one of those methods is now in the ubiquitous PowerPoint.

Microsoft have done very well in the last few years improving the accessibility tools in Windows and Office and much of this has to do with the improved AI capabilities enabled by Azure.

Office has included a dictate feature for some time, first in OneNote, followed by the mainstream applications.  Dictate allowed users to create notes and documents using voice and also to edit documents and control the interface.

Dictate in PowerPoint now goes a step further by adding real-time subtitling to your slide shows.  There is a bit of a lag and it’s not perfect but it’s easy to use, helpful and included in the application.

To use the feature, open a PowerPoint presentation and click the Slide Show tab and choose your subtitle options, including the languages.  This is not a translation service and I haven’t determined how good the translations might be but the subtitling feature accepts various spoken languages and can display the subtitles in another language.

Subtitle feature in PowerPoint 2019


Next, run the slideshow as normal.  You can use presenter view in the normal way if you choose to.

On the primary presentation screen, move the mouse to view the overlaid toolbar and click the subtitle icon.  PowerPoint is now listening and will display subtitles.

Here’s a video of the feature in action.  I’m using a small headset here and I haven’t tuned my microphone and the results are pretty impressive.  I spotted a couple of minor mistakes during testing but for live, automated subtitling, I think this is excellent.


The subtitling feature is not available if you are recording your slideshow to video, which I think is a big loss as that’s a great way to create accessible presentations that can be viewed later.

And the final point.  The subtitling does not show swear words (although I probably haven’t tested this exhaustively) and as detailed in this previous blog post, I still can’t get this feature to create a £ sign.