You know when you learn something new, something that really helped you, and you can’t wait to share it with other people who think might find it useful? That’s what this post is all about.

I love using PowerPoint and I sell several PowerPoint resources over at my Teachers Pay Teachers store *cough*shameless plug*cough*. One of the things that has always frustrated me about PowerPoint – even when I started using it as a student in high school, is that you can’t add text to a slide while presenting. It’s seems obvious that that would be a useful feature and yet there is no simple, intuitive way to do it.

But now I know the secret! That’s right, I have found the Holy Grail of PowerPoint. Let me share it with you.

You can see in clip above from my Middle Ages Plague WebQuest that students can type directly onto slides, without leaving presentation mode. This is useful because the kids don’t have to stuff around with going in and out of presentation mode in order to add text in response to a question or task. It’s also useful if you are presenting to a class, and want to record their responses in real time.

So how do you do this? It’s so simple once you know how.

Using the Developer tab to add an editable text box in PowerPoint

These are the steps you see in the clip above. I know next-to-nothing about coding so please forgive me if (when) I use the wrong terms:

  1. We have a slide with a question that we want students to answer. Go to the the developer tab on the Ribbon and select Text Box. Draw the text box on the screen, just as you would any other shape in PPT.
  2. With the Text Box still selected, click on the Properties tab. To be honest, this is where I initially felt intimidated, but you can ignore most of the properties (until you decide you want to experiment more).
  3. On the left side of the properties sheet is the commands and on the right side are toggles to turn the commands on and off, or make them ‘true’ or ‘false’. The first command I make ‘true’ is ‘EnterKeyBehavior’, because I want students to be able to use ‘Enter’ to go down a line. The next command I make ‘true’ is ‘MultiLine’. And the final command I toggle is ‘ScrollBars’, which has three options (horizonal, vertical, and horizontal and vertical).

As you can see in the video, there’s nothing difficult about it and, for a few seconds work, it makes your PowerPoint presentation much more versatile.

Did you already know how to do this? Any tips and tricks you could share with us in the comments? We’d love to hear them.

Wendy Allott

I'm an educator, mum and wife living in beautiful Victoria, Australia. I make learning resources for passionate, but time-poor, teachers in need of a better work-life balance. I'm a voracious reader, love a good curry, and believe life is always better with chocolate.

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