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


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 the last thing you want to do is get frustrated and add them manually to each and every one of your slides…which is a classic 101 mistake.

Not only does this take an enormous amount of time and effort on your part on the front end of your deck, it takes even longer on the backend when you (or someone else) wants to change the style, format or position of your page numbers.

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, which I’ll show you exactly how to do in the below tutorial…plus the trick to getting them show up correctly.

Video tutorial

Step by step

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 the Slide Master View

Whether you are using PowerPoint 2007, 2010 or 2013, the first step is to insert the page numbers in the PowerPoint slide master view. And this would be the same if you are trying to insert the date or add footers to your slide.

To navigate to the Slide Master view, from within your presentation, navigate to the View Tab in your Ribbon, and select Slide Master.

Adding Page Numbers to PowerPoint Step #1 - Slide Master View

Step #2: Navigate to Your Master Layout

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.

Adding Page Numbers to PowerPoint Step #2 - Slide Master View Parent Slide

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.

Adding Page Numbers to PowerPoint Step #3 - Master Layou

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.

Adding Page Numbers to PowerPoint Step #4 - Master Layout Slide Numbers

Step #5: Place 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.

Adding Page Numbers to PowerPoint Step #5A - Place the Page Number

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.

Adding Page Numbers to PowerPoint Step #5B - Footers

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 the slide number 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.

Adding Page Numbers to PowerPoint Step #6 - Close the Slide 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. So from the Insert Tab in your ribbon, select the Slide Number command to launch the Header and Footer Dialog box.

Adding Page Numbers to PowerPoint Step #7 - Open the Insert Page Number Dialog

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).
Adding Page Numbers to PowerPoint Step #8 - Apply to your Slide

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.

Adding Page Numbers to PowerPoint Step #9 - Page Numbers Appear


What if things still are not showing up where they are supposed to be within your layout?

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.

Adding Page Numbers to PowerPoint - Resetting a Layout

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.

Adding Page Numbers to PowerPoint - Applying a Different PowerPoint Layout

Still not working?

Try these 4 methods to get your slide numbers to show up correctly in PowerPoint:

Add slide total number in PowerPoint

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 December 27, 2018

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