In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to correctly add slides numbers (or page numbers) to your PowerPoint presentation so that they are easy to update and manage.
And if your slide numbers are NOT showing up properly, see the troubleshooting and advanced trouble shooting sections below (one of those should fix it for you).
When it comes to adding your slide numbers, 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.
Not only will it take you forever to add them this way, 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 your slide numbers, as explained below.
If you need additional help navigating what you SHOULD and SHOULDN'T be doing on your PowerPoint slide master, see our guide on building custom PowerPoint templates here.
[Watch] How To Add Slide Numbers Tutorial
Adding page numbers in PowerPoint is one of those things that should be so easy…but it’s not.
Most people can add them correctly on their Slide Master, but that doesn't mean that they will automatically show up in the Normal View of your presentation.
And this is something you'll want to get right before you mark your presentation as final or convert your presentation into the PDF file format, details here.
So let’s walk through adding them properly - step-by-step - to make sure we’re on the same slide.
Step #1: Navigate to your Slide Master
Regardless of which version of PowerPoint you are using, the first step is to navigate to your 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 hidden Slide Master jump shortcut (top shortcut #1 below)
That way you can quickly jump back and forth between the Slide Master View and the Normal View in PowerPoint, to quickly make edits to your template.
To learn more of our favorite PowerPoint shortcuts that will save you time when building and editing your slides, see our post here.
Step #2: Navigate to your Parent Slide
In the Slide Master View, navigate to the slide master or Parent slide on the top left, which is the first and largest of the slides listed on the left side of your screen.
Step #3: Open the master layout dialog box
To insert or turn on your slide numbers, from the PowerPoint ribbon:
- Navigate to the Slide Master tab in your Ribbon
- Click Master Layout to open the dialog box
Note: The Slide Master tab will only show up in your Ribbon after you have properly navigate to the Slide Master view (see step #1 above).
Step #4: Select Slide number
In the Master Layout Dialog box (this is also where you can also add a Footer or Date field to your Slide Master), make sure you have a check mark next to Slide Number, and then hit OK to close the Master Layout dialog box.
Step #5: Place and format your slide number
With the slide number added to your Master Slide, you can now format and/or place it wherever you want. I’ve placed mine in the upper right-hand corner of my slide.
Note 1: By default your slide number will show up on all of your slide layouts in the same position. If they don’t, simply re-select the footers icon on the individual layouts, and they should reappear.
Note: If you want your slide numbers to appear in a different location or with different formatting on your other slide layouts, you can manually adjust and format them as you see fit within those individual slide layouts.
Step #6: Return to the Normal View
With your slide number properly set and formatted, you can then close the Slide Master View by selecting the Close Master View command in the Slide Master Tab of your PowerPoint ribbon.
Step #7: Open the slide number dialog box
Back in the Normal View of your PowerPoint presentation, you now need to insert the slide numbers. So 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 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 keyboard shortcuts like this, check out our PowerPoint shortcut guide here.
Step #8: Apply your slide number
Within the Header and Footer dialog box, make sure there is a check mark next to ‘Slide number’ (in the upper right-hand corner of the dialog box, you’ll find a preview of where the slide number will be placed within the slide) and then down below select either:
- Apply, to apply the slide number only to the individual slide you are working on.
- Apply to All, to apply slide numbers to all of the slides within your PowerPoint presentation (slide numbers will not appear on any slide layouts where you manually removed the slide number while in the Slide Master View of your deck).
If you only to make your page numbers start on page 2 of your presentation, you'll want to make sure to select the the option Don't show on title slide in the Header and Footer dialog box.
Clicking Apply to All, 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 other slide number trouble shooting section below.
Note: In the lower left-hand corner of the Header and Footer dialog box, there is an option for removing all of these items (the slide number, date and time, and footer) from the title slide of your PowerPoint presentation. This is great when you have a cover page for your presentation that needs to be clean.
PowerPoint Tip: Removing All Your Slide Numbers
You can use the Header and Footer dialog box to remove all of the slide numbers in your presentation in a single swoop.
This saves you from having to otherwise manually work your way through all of your slides and remove the slide numbers 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?
What if you properly add your slide numbers and they are still not showing up in your slides?
If for whatever reason the objects you set on your Slide Master are either not showing up correctly or showing up in the wrong position (maybe you accidentally nudge an object…it happens), the fastest way to fix this is to reset the slide layout.
Resetting your slide layout
Within the Home Tab in your Ribbon, simply select the Reset command within the Slides group, 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 a couple things:
- The objects themselves are not correctly positioned on your slide master, so simply go back to the master and adjust 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 layouts.
Slide Numbers STILL not showing...
If you've done everything correctly as described above and your slide numbers are STILL not showing up in your slides, try these additional 4 trouble shooting tricks in the video below.
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.
In this video you'll learn how to set up a running total for your slide numbers in PowerPoint and more importantly, what can go wrong when setting them up.
Slide Number Conclusion
So those are the different ways you add and trouble shoot your slide numbers in PowerPoint.
For whatever reason, Microsoft has made something that should be simple a simple task and made it extremely difficult, but that's why you get paid the big bucks to be able to solve these kinds of annoying issues in PowerPoint.
If you enjoyed this tutorial and want to take your PowerPoint skills to the next level, you can more about our online training courses and other free PowerPoint tutorials here.