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When creating online learning materials, I like the idea of sharing slideshows with audio commentary for each slide. I know it is possible to do this with PowerPoint (e.g., see this MS Office tutorial). However, I prefer to create PDF slides using tools like beamer.

Questions

  • Is it possible to create PDF presentations with embedded audio?
  • What is a good workflow for implementing this (e.g., recording the audio files, storing the audio files, sharing, etc.?

Ideally, the solution would be cross-platform and minimise external viewer requirements.

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    You can do this with LaTeX. See for example this thread in TeX.SX. – Marc van Dongen Aug 16 '12 at 9:42
  • Any reason you want a PDF with audio and not a video? – earthling Jan 19 '15 at 12:18
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    But then your Pdf file size will be very big, which is against one of the original ideas that Pdf is supposed to be small. I am sorry if my comment is too strong. – kitty Jan 19 '15 at 14:19
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You need Adobe Acrobat Pro to record audio and integrate it into your PDF files. Anybody can access the PDF+audio via the free Adobe Reader.

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If you don't want to pay for Adobe Acrobat Pro, as @schultem mentions, LaTeX can do this with embedded hyperlinks. See http://www.bio.lmu.de/~benda/software/latex/ section 3.5 for more information. Note that if you use this method (as far as I know) you will have to click for sound, it cannot be automatic.

  • +1 Thanks. The LaTeX option is much more appealing to me. One challenge that remains is how best to distribute the audio online with the presentation. Can it be embedded in the pdf for example or does it need to be a large number of external individual files? – Jeromy Anglim Aug 18 '12 at 5:08
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    Put the PDF and audio in a folder, zip the folder, and distribute the .zip file as you would have distributed the PDF. In the PDF make the hyperlinks all assuming the audio is in the same folder. – nullUser Aug 18 '12 at 14:24
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If you don't mind hosting your files online, SlideShare is a good solution. You can create an online audio presentation by combining your slides with an audio recording of yourself (MP3 format, for example) and a list of timings at which slides go forward.

I have used it myself, and it is a decent tool for this purpose.


Another solution, which is technically far from optimal but just works, is to convert your slides + audio file into a movie. This can be done with any AV recording/capture software. Then, you encode the movie into a Web-suitable format before putting it online.

Depending on your OS of choice, there are tools to do that. My wife does it on the iPad, for example, with ExplainEverything and the workflow is quite neat.

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You can make slides with LaTeX/Beamer and embed audio (and video) with the media9 package --- \usepackage[...]{media9}. The presentation becomes system-dependent, however. Embedded sound in my slides plays in Acrobat Reader but not (on a Mac) in Preview.

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