How to Create a Scrollable Text Box in Powerpoint

By James T Wood

PowerPoint is like an ancient castle with untold rooms to explore, if you dare. But to get to some of the secret passages, like scrollable text boxes, you need to enable the Developer toolbar. From the File menu in PowerPoint, you can get to options that let you customize the Microsoft Office ribbon. Once the Developer tab is available, you can insert all sorts of interesting, complex and enticing things into your PowerPoint presentation.

Launch PowerPoint and open the presentation into which you want to insert a text box.

Click on the "Developer" tab on the far right of the Microsoft Office ribbon.

Click the ActiveX control for "Text Box." The control button is a box with "ab" inside. If you hover your mouse over the buttons, the titles will appear.

Click and drag on the slide to draw the text box where you want it. You can resize it later if needed. The text box will appear on the slide as a white box with sizing handles.

Right-click on the text box and choose "Properties." Since it's a Developer tool, you can't directly edit the text box. Instead you enter the details into fields in the properties dialog box. Also, there's no "OK" button to confirm your entries. You just click the "X" in the upper-right corner when you're done.

Change the value for ScrollBars to "3 - fmScrollBarsBoth." Make the value for MultiLine "True."

Type the text you want in value field for Text. You can also adjust the font values, background color and other values. When you're done, click the "X" in the upper-right corner.

Launch the slideshow to see the scrolling effect. Press "Shift-F5" to start the presentation from the current slide. Press "Esc" when you're done.


The scroll bars will only appear if there's enough text to justify them. If you don't see scroll bars, resize the textbox or add more text.

You can't use the mouse scroll-wheel in the ActiveX control. You must click the scroll bar and drag it or click the arrows.

If you simply want the text to scroll when it's animated, you can apply the Credits effect on the Animation tab for a normal text box.


Third-party PowerPoint files can embed malicious code through the developer tools. Even if you've added something innocent, other users might block your presentation to protect themselves.