Adding sound or scrolling text to an email

Add Sound buttonIt seems like such a nice way to cheer up a birthday email or a Christmas wish; Add some background music and scrolling text.

This all used to be possible in Outlook as well up until a security update took the feature away a long (long!) time ago. At that time, Outlook was still very much a business email client and Microsoft never bothered to implement a new and secure way to do this again. Granted; Many other email applications do not support (and may never had supported) these features either.

Now that these features are gone, you are left with some workarounds and alternatives to achieve something similar but to be honest; You pretty much have to find new creative ways to cheer up your emails.

Link to a personalized html-page

Internet buttonIf you really want to make a cheerful greeting with background music and scrolling text, then it is best to create this as a html-page and place it somewhere on a webserver (many ISPs provide some web space which you can use for this with your Internet subscription for home). Then you include a link to this page in your email.

Background sound

Audio buttonThe <bgsound> tag which used to control this never was a standard and its use is no longer recommended as it was basically only supported in Internet Explorer.

As an alternative, you should use the <audio> tag. This tag however doesn’t support mid-files and midi-files but you can use wav, mp3 and ogg-files.

Scrolling text

Scrolling Text buttonThe <marquee> tag, which could be used for scrolling text, is no longer recommended either.

The new alternative for this is the CSS-Animations specification. A good working example for scrolling text similar to the marquee tag can be found here.


Alternatives? buttonIf designing a webpage is not your thing, there still are plenty of other creative ways to cheer up your emails.

A few suggestions can be found below.


Emoji's in Outlook buttonEmoji are a quick and easy way to bring some personality and fun to your email. Windows 10 has a long list of emoji that you can use directly but you can also choose to use your own.

For instructions see;

Animated GIFs

GIF File buttonAnimated GIFs are back and this time, Outlook for Microsoft 365 has support for it as well.

Earlier versions of Outlook such as Outlook 2019 and Outlook 2016 unfortunately do no not support animated GIFs so it might be helpful to know which mail client and version the recipient uses.

Background picture or color

Background buttonThis is a simple and effective way to stand out from all the “white background” emails that one normally receives.

To apply a background color when composing a message use;

  • Options-> Page Color

To apply a background image use;

  • Options-> Page Color-> Fill Effect…-> tab: Picture

Link to a YouTube video with Play button overlay

YouTube buttonIn case you’ve uploaded a YouTube video or found another video you want to link to, you can create a nice looking video thumbnail with a Play overlay button on it which the recipient can click on to be taken to the video on YouTube.

This may sound more complicated than it is. Step-by-step instructions are provided in the guide; Embed YouTube videos.