How to Use PowerPoint as a Teleprompter

how to use PowerPoint as a teleprompter

Do you need to read a script to a camera or to an audience? Learn how to use PowerPoint as a teleprompter using this guide.

If you’re doing a speech or a presentation, you probably don’t want to have to worry about learning the whole thing by heart. After all, if you forget your lines, the whole thing is going to fall apart, and really, who needs the stress?

That’s why the pros, from politicians to CEOs, use teleprompters so that they can read their speeches rather than memorize them. It’s one less thing to worry about, ensuring that you can focus on making the speech or presentation as good as it can be.

Professional teleprompter systems don’t come cheap. The good news is that you can make your own using software you probably already have. Here’s how to use PowerPoint as a teleprompter.

What is a Teleprompter?

A teleprompter is a device that allows someone who is giving a speech or presentation to see the text of that speech or presentation as they are speaking. When filming, the teleprompter is usually just above or below the camera. This is so that the presenter can read it and appear to be talking directly down the lens.

In speeches, multiple teleprompter screens are often used to that the speaker can appear to be talking to different sections of the audience whilst still being able to read the script. Professional teleprompters scroll slowly through the script so that only a few lines are visible on the screen at any time.

This allows the entire text to be read at a distance, even for long scripts.

How to Use Teleprompter View in PowerPoint

PowerPoint has a view called Teleprompter View that can be used when recording or playing a presentation. This allows you to see your notes for each slide as well as the slide itself, whilst the audience display will only show the slides.

If you only have a line or two per slide, this can be useful. Since the text doesn’t scroll, however, if you have a lot of text to read per slide, then Teleprompter View isn’t going to be much help.

To use Teleprompter View in PowerPoint:

  1. Open the PowerPoint presentation that you want to use the Teleprompter View in.
  2. If you haven’t already, add PowerPoint speaker notes containing the script you want to read.
    powerpoint notes
  3. Select the Record menu.
    powerpoint record
  4. Click the From Beginning button to start your presentation from the beginning.
    powerpoint from beginning
  5. In the bottom right-hand corner, click the Views button.
    powerpoint views button
  6. Select Teleprompter.
    powerpoint teleprompter view
  7. You will now see your notes above your slides, which can be read as a teleprompter.
    powerpoint teleprompter view slide
  8. These notes will not scroll by themselves; if the text is too long, you’ll either need to manually scroll them, reduce the text size, or split the text over multiple slides.
  9. You can always duplicate a slide multiple times and add a section of text to each. When you move from one slide to the next, the slide will look the same, but the text will change.

How to Create a Working Teleprompter in PowerPoint

The Teleprompter View in PowerPoint is a simple way to read text for a presentation, but it’s only really any use when you have minimal amounts of text to read per slide. If you want to read a large amount of text, you’ll probably want to create a teleprompter that slowly scrolls through all of your text, so that you can read the entire thing without having to interact with the presentation in any way.

This is possible in PowerPoint by using a text animation that will make your text scroll at a speed of your choosing.

To create a teleprompter in PowerPoint:

  1. Create a new blank PowerPoint presentation.
  2. Select the subtitle section and press Delete or Backspace to remove it.
    powerpoint subtitle
  3. Click in the section marked Click To Add Title.
    powerpoint title
  4. Type out the text you want to appear in your teleprompter or copy and paste it from another source.
  5. If you see the bottom of your text instead of the top, under the Home menu, click the Text Align button.
    powerpoint text align
  6. Select Top.
    powerpoint text align top
  7. Select the text box containing your text and click on one of the drag handles at the side of the text box.
    powerpoint drag handle
  8. Drag it to near the edge of your slide. Do the same on the other side, so the text box is virtually the full width of your slide.
    powerpoint full width
  9. Highlight all of the text and click the Font Color icon under the Home menu.
    powerpoint font color
  10. Select white from the color options.
    powerpoint select font color
  11. Select the Design menu.
    powerpoint design menu
  12. Click Format Background.
    powerpoint format background
  13. Ensure Solid Fill is selected and click the Color icon.
    powerpoint background color
  14. Select black from the color options.
    powerpoint select background color
  15. Click the text box containing your text and then select the Animations menu.
    powerpoint animations menu
  16. Click the Add Animation icon.
    powerpoint add animation
  17. Under Motion Paths select Lines.
    powerpoint lines
  18. In the ribbon, click the Effect Options button.
    powerpoint effect options
  19. Select Up.
    powerpoint up
  20. Click the Preview button and you will see your text scroll, but not to its full extent.
    powerpoint preview button
  21. Use the Zoom bar to zoom out until you can see all of your text, including the text that is below the slide.
    powerpoint zoom
  22. Under the Animation menu, click the Animation Pane button.
    powerpoint animation pane
  23. Click the animation listed in the Animation Pane.
    powerpoint animation
  24. Your cursor should appear as an arrow.
  25. Click and hold the small red dot at the top of the animation icon, which should be in the middle of your slide.
    powerpoint red handle
  26. Drag this dot directly upwards until the final line of your text is almost at the top of your slide.
    powerpoint text dragged up
  27. Press the preview button again, and you should see your entire text scroll from top to bottom.
  28. Right-click on the animation in the Animation Pane and select Effect Options.
    powerpoint effect options
  29. Under the Effect tab, set Smooth Start and Smooth End to zero and click OK.
    powerpoint smooth start off
  30. If your text is scrolling too quickly, change the Duration in the Animation ribbon. The higher the number, the slower the text will scroll. Keep experimenting by reading the text out loud. If you don’t get to the end before the text finishes scrolling, increase the time further until you do.
    powerpoint animation duration
  31. Depending on how far away you will be from the teleprompter, you may need to increase the font size in order to be able to read it clearly. If you do so, you’ll need to change the Duration again to get the correct speed for you to read.

Take Your Presentations to the Next Level

Knowing how to use PowerPoint as a teleprompter ensures that you can give great speeches or presentations without having to read from a printed script. Make sure that you place your screen carefully—ideally somewhere where you will have an eye line that is looking toward your audience. You may need to practice a few times to get the hang of using it.

There are plenty of other useful PowerPoint tricks to make your presentations stand out from the crowd. You can learn how to hide text until clicked to reveal important information exactly when you want to. You can blur images in PowerPoint to create effective backgrounds or hide key information until you’re ready to reveal it. And you can also learn about other PowerPoint animations you can use to make your presentations pop.

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