In this article, you’ll learn how to add slide numbers in PowerPoint so that they properly show up (like they are supposed to).
And I’ve included an advanced troubleshooting section at the end if you have one of the rare slide number cases that requires a bit more effort to solve.
When it comes to adding slide numbers to your PowerPoint presentations, the last thing you want to do is get frustrated and manually add them to each and every one of your slides…
This is a classic 101 PowerPoint mistake.
That’s because not only will it take you forever to manually add them, if something changes in the future (which always happens) it will then take you forever to fix them again.
Instead, just like any common element you want to have on ALL of your slides, you want to use your Slide Master to update and manage them, as explained below.
Note: How your slide numbers appear in PowerPoint depends on how your template is set up. If you are looking for a new and professional PowerPoint template, you can see the 4 places we recommend finding them online here.
[Watch] Adding Slide Numbers in PowerPoint the Right Way!
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Adding slide numbers in PowerPoint is one of those things that should be simple and easy (like it is in Microsoft Word)…but it’s not.
And just so we are on the same page, in this article you can use the term slide number and page number interchangeably. They are the same thing in this case.
While a lot of people can “properly” add them to the PowerPoint Slide Master, they still can’t get them to properly show up in the Normal View.
And if you work in the professional services industry, this is something you’ll want to get right! The last thing you want to do is torpedo the overall quality of your presentation simply because you can’t get your slides properly numbered.
So before you mark your presentation as final or convert your presentation into the PDF file format (details here), follow the steps below.
1. Navigate to your Slide Master
Regardless of which version of PowerPoint you are using, the first step to properly adding slide numbers in PowerPoint is to navigate to the Slide Master view.
This where all your slide numbers, footers, date & time and other content placeholders are managed.
To navigate to the Slide Master view in PowerPoint, simply:
- Navigate to the View tab in your Ribbon
- Select Slide Master
If you frequently need to use your Slide Master, I recommend learning the below Slide Master jump shortcut. Click play to watch top shortcut #1 in the video below.
That way you can quickly jump back and forth between the Slide Master view and the Normal View to edit your template.
2. Navigate to your Parent SlideIn the Slide Master view, navigate to the Parent slide on the top left. This will be the first and largest the slide listed on the left side of your screen.
3. Open the Master Layout dialog boxTo open the Master Layout dialog box in PowerPoint, simply:
- Navigate to the Slide Master tab in your Ribbon
- Click Master Layout to open the dialog box
4. Select Slide numberIn the Master Layout dialog box, make sure you have a check mark next to Slide number. You can additionally add the Title, Text, Date and/or Footer here if you like. With your After you make your selections, hit OK.
5. Place and format your slide numberWith the slide number added to your Master Slide, you can now format and/or place it wherever you want. In this case I’ve placed mine in the upper right-hand corner of my slide. Where you place it on your Parent Slide determines where the numbers show up (by default) on your slides.
6. Return to the Normal ViewWith your slide number properly set and formatted, you can then close the Slide Master View. To do that, simply select the Close Master View command in the Slide Master tab in your ribbon.
7. Open the slide number dialog boxBack in the Normal View of your PowerPoint presentation, you now need to insert the slide numbers. From the Insert tab, select the Slide Number command to launch the Header and Footer dialog box. You can alternatively use the Date and Footer keyboard shortcut, Alt+Shift+D to open the dialog box. To see how to use the Date and Footer shortcut plus a BONUS application of that shortcut, see top PowerPoint shortcut #24 below.
To learn more PowerPoint keyboard shortcuts like this to save you time when building and editing your slides, read our guide here.
8. Apply your slide number
Within the Header and Footer dialog box, make sure there is a check mark next to Slide number.
With it selected, you will see a preview of where they will be placed in the upper right-hand corner of the dialog box. After that, select either:
- Apply, to apply the slide number to the individual slide you are working on.
- Apply to All, to apply slide numbers throughout your presentation. They will not display on any individual layouts that you have removed them on.
Also, if you don’t want them to appear on the first slide of your presentation, select Don’t show on title slide before you apply them.
Click Apply to All and voila! All of your slide numbers should now be properly placed on all of your PowerPoint slides. You can see mine in the upper right-hand corner of my slide in the picture below.
If you that doesn’t work for you, see the trouble shooting sections below.
This is great when you have a cover page for your presentation that needs to be clean. Just be aware, that the title slide in PowerPoint is defined as the first slide in your Slide Master beneath your Parent Slide.
PowerPoint Tip: Removing All Your Slide Numbers
You can use the Header and Footer dialog box to remove all of your slide numbers in a single swoop.
This saves you from having to manually remove them from all your slides one by one.
To do this, in the Header and Footer dialog box, simply un-check Slide Number and click Apply to All.
Clicking Apply to All automatically removes all of the slide numbers from your presentation (saving you a TON of time).
PowerPoint Slide Numbers Not Working? Try this…
1. Re-apply your Slide Number
To reapply PowerPoint slide numbers that aren’t showing up, simply:
- Navigate to the Insert tab
- Click the Header & Footer command
- Select Slide Number
- Click Apply to All
This is the simplest fix if they aren’t showing up in PowerPoint, but it won’t catch everything. But, this is where I would recommend starting out first though.
2. Look for Duplicate Layouts
Another common issue with page numbers, is having a missing placeholder on a child slide layout.
This commonly happens with duplicate layouts on your Slide Master. And the reason this can mess you up is one of the layouts has the correct Slide Number content container on it, and the other one doesn’t.
That means that when you apply them in the Normal View (as discussed above), only one of the layouts works. The other one looks the same, but it is missing the proper placeholder, hence why it doesn’t show up.
To add back the missing placeholder on your Slide Master, simply:
- Navigate to the View tab
- Click the Slide Master command
- Find the layout that is missing the Slide Number placeholder
- Click Footer (so it has a check mark)
- Click Close Slide Master view
Once you are back in the Normal View, the slide number will NOT automatically show up on your slides. You will need to re-apply them again as described in Fix #1 above.
3. Update Your Child Slide Layouts
Another issue with slide numbers in PowerPoint is not having the adjustments you make on your Parent Slide, flow through to your Child Slide Layouts.
If you change more than the color, size or position them on your Parent Slide, like adding Page # of #, you will need to update all your Child Slide layouts to have those changes flow through to your presentation.
To fix this, first you need to update your Child Slide layouts as follows:
- Navigate to the View tab
- Click the Slide Master command
- Cycle through your Child Slide layouts (the small ones)
- Delete all the Footer placeholders on the layouts (all of them)
- Click the Footers icon to re-apply your slide number
- Click Close Master View
Once you have updated your layouts in the Slide Master view, you can then remove and apply the slide numbers in the Normal View (see details above for removing and applying slid numbers).
Resetting your slide layout
Within the Home tab in your Ribbon, simply select the Reset command and all of the objects that are set on your Slide Master will snap back into the correct position, and/or reappear.
If after resetting your slide layout, your objects still do not revert back to the correct position, or show up correctly, it could be one of two things:
- The objects themselves are not correctly positioned on your slide master. In this case, simply navigate back to your Slide Master view and fix them.
- You have duplicate slide layouts. In this case, you need to change the layout of your slide to the correct one by selecting it from the Layout drop down menu. Then, go back to your Slide Master View and make sure you delete the duplicate layout
Slide Numbers STILL not showing…
If you’ve done everything correctly and your numbering is STILL not showing up, click play below to see 4 trouble shooting tricks.
Adding A Slide Number Total
Have you ever needed to add a total at the end of your slide numbers to show how many pages your document has?
While there’s no automatic way to do this in PowerPoint, there is a simple manual method that you can use. Click play below to see how to do this, and find out what can go wrong.
So that is how to add slide numbers in PowerPoint, and some of the issues you will face.
While adding page numbers in Microsoft Word is easy, adding them in PowerPoint remains difficult. But that’s why you get paid the big bucks to be your company’s PowerPoint expert.
Now before you mark your PowerPoint presentation as final and email it to a client or colleague, you can also reduce your file size by compressing the different PowerPoint elements in your presentation. To learn how to compress PowerPoint, see our article here.
If you enjoyed this slide number tutorial and want to take your PowerPoint skills to the next level, check out our online training courses and other PowerPoint tutorials here.
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