Make a Narrated Slideshow – Easy and Free with Photo Story 3

Photo Story 3 for Narrated Slideshow movies. Free and EasyWe’ve been teaching Photo Story 3 for several years now.  It is a free program from Microsoft that was developed for Windows XP.  In fact, the download page still says that it is only for Windows XP, and newer versions of Windows are not supported.  We use it on Windows 7 and it works fine.  The only quirk we’ve noticed is that, when you download it, it’s important to use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer to do the job rather than Chrome or Firefox.

We love teaching Photo Story 3 – it is the easiest topic we cover.  People who consider themselves computer illiterate leave our class and go straight to their computer to make a professional looking movie with their pictures, music, and narration.  We try to keep up with the times, so have been looking for a replacement for Photo Story.  We simply haven’t found one.

We just taught the seminar last week at the FMCA convention and we thought it would be the last time we taught it, but it was so well received!  One person told us afterward that it solved a dilemma for her in that she had been asked to provide videos of her Church project and she just didn’t know what to do since she had no experience with video.  With Photo Story 3 she could simply use the dozens of photos she’d already taken, add motion, narration, and music.  Voila!  She has a video of her project.

Make a Movie with Photo Story 3

When you first open Photo Story 3, you are prompted to begin a new project and import pictures.  We recommend using Picasa to prepare all the pictures you want to use and export them into one folder so they are easy to find.  Then, Photo Story 3 works like a wizard, when you’re finished with the first step, you click the button to continue, and it tells you what the next step is.  When you’ve run out of ‘Continue’ buttons, you’re done!

Narration is Easy

One of the steps is narration.  There is a place where you can write notes for yourself about what you want to say.  Each piece of narration is attached to a picture – which makes it much less intimidating than having to narrate an entire slideshow.  Just add narration to the pictures that need it.  The rest will just play to the music.

Let the Program Compose the Music

Lots of software, even Picasa, allow you to add a song – a music file – to a slideshow.  Photo Story will do that as well, but it has another option.  It will actually compose music.  All you do is pick a genre (classical, country, etc.) and a tempo, Photo Story does all the rest.  There are two reasons why this is so special:

  1. Timing: since the music is being composed to fit your slides, it has an ending at the appropriate time
  2. There is no copyright, so you can upload to public sharing sites like Youtube without running afoul of their terms of service.

Why settle for boring slideshows when you can direct and produce a movie for free.  We have 11 tutorial videos on Photo Story 3 that show you how, step by step.  Or you can just download the software and start playing!  If you make a movie and upload it to somewhere that we can see, leave a link in the comments OK?  Here is one that I made about my family’s early RVing experiences.


7 replies on “Make a Narrated Slideshow – Easy and Free with Photo Story 3”

  1. Has anyone had any experience with a M/S software called “Digital Image” I put together a slide show with music of our 50th anniversary back in 2000, Sounds like Photo Story 3 and the program had some of the Picasa features .I would like to rework the story for our 60th. Any input would be helpful.

  2. iPhone Silencer Addendum:
    I should have added that. if you wish, you can have your iPhone vibrate when it’s in silent mode. Just choose this option in your Settings.

  3. Here’s how to silence your iPhone:

    To turn the iPhone ringer off and use iPhone silent mode, all you need to do is flip a switch.

    On the upper left-hand side of the iPhone is a small switch. It’s just above the volume control and below the phone’s corner. This is the iPhone ringer.

    The “silencer” switch is on the upper left-hand side of the iPhone, just above the volume control. Simply flip the switch down toward the bottom of the iPhone. You will receive confirmation that the ringer is turned off in that an icon of a bell with a line through it will appear onscreen; you will also see an orange dot on the switch.

  4. I purchased this book for the purpose of extending my knowledge regards to display and storing them.
    I have enjoyed your articles for awhile now.You make difficult things, easy for us.

  5. I appreciate your newsletter and look forward to getting it each month. I am a 76 year old volunteer who tries to teach other seniors how to use the computer. I have put a 3 day workshop together on Picasa for our local SeniorNet volunteer group. I have now added another day where I show how to use Windows Live Movie Maker ( the latest version 2012 is just call Movie Maker). I was not familiar with PhotoStory 3, but from the looks of it, Movie Maker is very similar. You said you were looking for something else and if you are not familiar with Movie Maker, You can go to to download it if you don’t already have it. I would be glad to send you my one day session if you are interested and will let me know where to send it.

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