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PowerPoint Live with Subtitles and Captions

Many of our students have English as a second or third language. They can often struggle with having a full understanding of a lecture. It can also be cognitively exhausting. Other students are also translating for them. Those with hearing impairments will find it easier to follow a lecture with captions, will also benefit from staff using PowerPoint live in class, hybrid and online modes.

PowerPoint for Office 365 has a useful feature that allows you to provide live subtitles and captions to your audience. It can be used within MS Teams or in in class lecture.

In Class Mode

Using PowerPoint Live does require you to have your file saved on One Drive.

PowerPoint 365

You will need to open PowerPoint via the web through Office 365.

Once open, click on Slide Show tab, and select the “Always Use Subtitles” option.

Highlighting the always use subtitles option in PowerPoint 365

Clicking the arrow, will open up the options. You’ll first need to set the languages.

Language options in PowerPoint 365 subtitles
  • Spoken Language – This displays the languages that PowerPoint recognizes, and should be set to the one that you will be speaking during the presentation.
  • Subtitle Language – This is language that you want the subtitles to appear in. PowerPoint will automatically translate the spoken language into whatever is set here. The user will be able to change this on their own device. This may vary from device to device.

The next set of options are where you want the subtitles to appear. Either overlaid across the top of the presentation, of above or below the slides. To make it more accessible and easier to use, we would suggest displaying it below the slides.

Subtitle display options in PowerPoint 365

Once you’ve chosen your settings, you are now ready to present.

From PowerPoint 365, click on Slide Show, and the Present Live. It will take a few minutes to load.

How to present live in PowerPoint 365

A short code link and QR code will appear on the screen. There is also a counter to show the number of people who have joined.

When you are ready click on “Show Slides” in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.

Example of subtitles generated by PowerPoint Live

On the device the students are using, they are able to change the transcript to a different language.

Students will also be able to move back though a presentation in case the missed a section or to catch up on their notes.

Microsoft Teams Mode

To use PowerPoint Live via Teams, start the meeting as normal.

Click on Share. Underneath the usual screen and window sharing options, you’ll see a heading for PowerPoint Live.

Where to find PowerPoint Live on Microsoft Teams

This will start PowerPoint in presenter view.

To turn on the live captions, click on More > Language and speech > Turn on live captions.

How to turn on live captions in Microsoft Teams

When presenting you’ll now see the subtitles appear below the presentation.

Example of subtitles during a Teams presentation

Important Note: Live captions can be turned on at any point during a Teams meeting, not just when presenting.

Useful Tip

You can use this feature during an in person lecture, if the room you are in has a microphone or the microphone in your device needs to be enabled. To keep the captions are accurate as possible don’t wonder to far from the microphone.

Useful Links

Follow the links below, if you would like to find out more about these options:

If you would like to test out power point live with the digital learning team then please contact us We’d also like to have feedback if you use this tool and how it has helped your students.

One thought on “PowerPoint Live with Subtitles and Captions

  • Ian Hague

    Thanks for this useful article. I use subtitles in class and they are an absolute game changer in terms of student participation. Two additional tips:

    1. If you have a class with one second language, translated subtitles in that language on the main screen can help (but also presents challenges in terms of English language study), but this isn’t great for mixed language groups. In those circumstances, students can run a PowerPoint presentation on their own device with a blank slide and subtitles turned on in the language of their choice. As long as their device’s microphone can pick up your speech they will then get specific subtitles.

    2. Contrary to the article, I have found subtitles above slide tend to be better than below slide. This is because most of our rooms are equipped with TVs that are quite low, so students at the front can block the view of students at the back. Above slide subtitles also tend to align roughly with the height of my head so there’s less looking down at the subtitles then back at me if they’re in that location. This may be different on a large screen in a lecture theatre.


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