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How to Add Slide Numbers in PowerPoint (Step-by-Step)

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In this article, you'll learn how to add slide numbers in PowerPoint so that they properly show up.

And I've included an advanced slide number trouble shooting section at the end of this article if you have one of the rare PowerPoint cases that requires a bit more effort.

When it comes to adding 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 manually, 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 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.

Step #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.

Navigate to the slide master view from the view tab

To navigate to the Slide Master view in PowerPoint, simply:

  1. Navigate to the View tab in your Ribbon
  2. 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.

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

Navigate to the parent slide in your slide master to add your slide numbers

In 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.

Step #3: Open the master layout dialog box

To insert or turn on your slide numbers, from the PowerPoint ribbon:

  1. Navigate to the Slide Master tab in your Ribbon
  2. Click Master Layout to open the dialog box

Note: The Slide Master tab will only show up in your Ribbon in the Slide Master view (see step #1 above).

From the slide master tab open the Master Layout dialog box

Step #4: Select Slide number

In 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.

Make sure you have a check mark next to Slide number

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. In this case I've placed mine in the upper right-hand corner of my slide.

Where you place it on your Parent Slide will determine where your slide numbers show up by default on your slides.

Place and format your slide number where you want it to show up on all of your slides

Note: By default, your slide numbers will show up on all of your slides in the same position. If they don’t, re-select the footers icon on the individual layouts, and they should reappear.

Make sure you have the footers selected in your Slide Master tab to see your page numbers

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.

To do that, simply select the Close Master View command in the Slide Master tab in your ribbon.

Close out of the Master View

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.

From the Insert tab, select the Slide Number command to launch the Header and Footer dialog box.

From the insert tab click the Insert Slide number command

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 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.

Use the header and footer dialog box to select and apply your 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.

Example of a slide number showing up on a PowerPoint slide

Note: In the lower left-hand corner of the Header and Footer dialog box, you have the option to Don't show on title slide. Selecting this option and clicking apply removes the slide number, date and time, and footer from your title slide.

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?

What if you properly add your slide numbers and they are still not showing up in your slides?

If the objects you set on your Slide Master are not showing up correctly, the fastest way to fix them is to reset your slide layouts.

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.

From the Home tab, click Reset to reset all of the placeholders on a slide (including your slide numbers)

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
Example of duplicate layouts on the PowerPoint slide master that you will want to fix to make sure your page numbers show up properly in PowerPoint

Slide Numbers STILL not showing...

If you've done everything correctly and your PowerPoint slide numbers are 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.

Conclusion

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 slide numbers 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.

What's next?

Updated on September 14, 2019

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