PowerPoint Hack: Use PowerPoint like a Whiteboard

Sometimes, I don’t feel like writing things on the whiteboard. Sometimes, I want to collect student ideas, but want them to be written clearly, neatly, and quickly, This blog post will demonstrate how I use PowerPoint to achieve this. The end result looks like this:

pptwhiteboard1

Recording student-elicited vocabulary into my PPT

Step 1: The Developer Tab

In order to accomplish this “hack,” you will need to have the Developer tab activated on your toolbar/ribbon. To do this, you will need to go to File -> Options -> Customize Ribbon and check the “Developer” in the right-hand column.

developeroptions

This will give you the following tab:

developertab

Step 2: Adding a Text Box

Next, you will need to add a text box to your slide. Click the [abc] icon (circled red above) and then draw your box anywhere on your slide.

Step 3: Changing the Text-Box Properties

The text box is very limited in functionality unless you make several important changes to its properties. To do so, right-click on the box and choose “Property Sheet.” There are numerous changes that you can make. The most important are

  1. EnterKeyBehavior – change to “True”. This allows you to use the “Enter” key to make new lines
  2. MultiLine – change to “True”. This allows the text box to display multiple lines
  3. Font – this sets up your font, font size, and other font properties.

propertysheet

Other properties of note include:

  • BackColor – change the background color
  • ForeColor – change the font color
  • Scrollbars – to have scrollbars in case text goes beyond the text box dimensions

Step 4: Copy, Paste, Resize

To use multiple text boxes, you do not have to complete the above steps. Just copy and paste the box throughout your PowerPoint.

Step 5: Save

Save it. Any text you type will be saved, too!

Caveats

You are limited in color and making the box transparent has never worked for me. Boxes cannot be animated. If you accidentally select “View Code” instead of “Property Sheet” when you right-click on the box, saving might become more difficult as sometimes PowerPoint thinks you have edited a macro and therefore need to save as a .pptm. If this happens, delete the code.

I hope that you found this useful. Please let me know if you have any questions or any suggestions for creative ways to use this!

2 thoughts on “PowerPoint Hack: Use PowerPoint like a Whiteboard

  1. I would probably do this the old fashioned way, and just type on to the slide in edit/non-presentation mode, then return to the fullscreen mode to show it. Your way looks much nicer though 🙂

    • That’s one way to do it. But, you can do a lot more design around the text input box this way. This could work with pre-planned lesson elements or activities you plan to do on the PPT itself. For example, maybe you want to fill in blanks as part of a sentence, or add a small box on only one half of the screen to generate ideas based on a text or picture on the other half. And, this way doesn’t break the flow of the PowerPoint by switching between presentation and editing mode.

      But whatever you are comfortable with is fine!

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