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How to Add Slide Numbers in PowerPoint (the Right Way)

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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 adv. trouble shooting sections below (one of those should fix it for you).

When it comes to your slide numbers, that last thing you want to do is get frustrated and add them manually to each and every one of your slides…

This is a classic 101 mistake.

Not only will it take you forever to add them manually this way, if something changes in the future (which always happens) it will take you forever to update them.

So just like any common element you want 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 working with your Slide Master, see our post on how to create a PowerPoint template.

Adding Slide Numbers Video Tutorial

Adding page numbers in PowerPoint is one of those things that should be so easy…but it’s not.

Most people get them correctly onto their Slide Master, but then they don’t show correctly in the Normal View of their presentation. Let’s walk through this 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, from within your presentation, navigate to the View Tab in your Ribbon, and select Slide Master.

If you frequently need to use your Slide Master, I recommend learning the below hidden slide master jump shortcut.

That way you can quickly jump back and forth between your slide master view and your normal view in PowerPoint to make the edits you need to your template.

Keyboard shortcuts like this are the fastest way to DOUBLE your productivity in PowerPoint.

To learn more PowerPoint shortcuts like this, check out our the Top 25 PowerPoint keyboard shortcuts.

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, select the Master Layout command to open the Master Layout dialog box.

Step #4: Select the 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 other slide layouts in the same position. If they don’t, simply re-select the footers icon on the individual layouts where they are not showing up, and they should reappear.

Note 2: 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 it 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 in your ribbon, select the Slide Number command to launch the Header and Footer Dialog box.

You can alternatively use the Date & Footer keyboard shortcut, Alt+Shift+D.

To see how to use the Date & Footer shortcut plus a BONUS application of that shortcut, see top PowerPoint shortcut #24 below.

To learn more keyboard shortcuts like this, check out the Top 25 PowerPoint shortcuts that save time.

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).

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

You can use the Header and Footer dialog box to remove all of the slide numbers in your presentation in a single swoop. Simply uncheck the ‘Slide number’ option and select Apply to All.

And voila! With the header and footer dialog box closed, all of your slide numbers should now be on your PowerPoint slides. You can see mine in the upper right-hand corner of my slide.

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:

  1. The objects themselves are not correctly positioned on your slide master, so simply go back to the master and adjust 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.

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.

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.

Note: This is different than the method you'd use to add page number totals in Microsoft Word.

What's next?

Updated on February 20, 2019

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