In this article, you’ll learn how to print your PowerPoint slides with speaker notes as handouts (the way you want them) so that you can get out of the office and make it to Happy Hour.

If you instead want to present your your speaker notes using the Presenter View, see the Presenter View section in our how to start a PowerPoint slideshow article here.

Just keep in mind that, like many things in PowerPoint, there are a variety of ways to print your notes (all covered below) to get to your desired result.

Don’t get frustrated with PowerPoint… just get creative.

Customizing Your Handouts: If you are distributing your slides to other people, I HIGHLY recommend customizing your handouts with your company information before you print them.

This not only makes your handouts look more professional, it allows people to more easily get in touch with you in the future.

Example of customized handouts versus the default blank handouts when you print your PowerPoint notes

For help customizing your handouts, see customizing your speaker notes using the Notes Master.

For help turning your PowerPoint notes (without or without notes) into PDF handouts, <ahref=””>see our blog post here.

The standard way to print your notes / speaker notes in PowerPoint is to with the thumbnail image of your slide at the top of the page, and your notes directly beneath the image.

I demo what this looks like in the video below, or scroll below to see a step-by-step tutorial of how to do this.

To print your notes in PowerPoint with a single slide thumbnail image per slide:

  1. Hit Ctrl + P for Print, to open the PowerPoint print options
  2. Under the Settings area, open the Print Layout options
  3. Select the Notes Page Print Layout
  4. Click Print
In the print dialog box, open the Print Layout options and select Notes Pages to print your speaker notes below your slide thumbnail

As you can see in the live preview on the right, this allows you to print your speaker notes at the bottom of your PowerPoint presentation.

If you have lots of speaker notes for a particular slide, those notes will run off on to a second or third page. If this happens, keep in mind that your slide thumbnail will only appear on the first page of notes.

Also keep in mind, that the page number at the bottom of your handouts represents the slide number in your presentation, not the number of pages you are printing.

That means that if you have 10 pages of speaker notes for slide number 2 in your deck, each of those 10 pages of speakers notes will have a number 2 on them.

To learn how to print multiple slides on one page in PowerPoint, read our guide here.

If you are printing your slides as handouts to be distributed individually, you can save yourself a lot of time by using the uncollated printing option. To discover what collate means and how to use it, read our guide here.

Note: If you are distributing your notes as handouts before or after your presentation, I recommend customizing your Notes Master.

This not only makes your handouts look more professional, it makes it easy for prospective clients to get in contact with you.

For help customizing your notes in PowerPoint, read on or watch the video above

Customizing your speaker notes using the Notes Master

From the View tab, select Notes Master to open the notes master view To customize your handouts with your own contact information, simply:
  1. From the Normal View in PowerPoint select the View tab
  2. Select the Notes Master
  3. Format the Notes Master as you would normally edit a slide in PowerPoint
  4. (Optional recommended step) select Close Master View
  5. Print your notes (see above)
Note: In the picture above, I used the Header and Footer dialog box to add my email address and website address. For a demonstration of what I did, see the video tutorial above.

To print your PowerPoint notes as handouts with multiple slides per page, you need to first need to convert PowerPoint to Word using the Create Handouts command.

From the file tab, select Export, Create Handouts and Notes next to slides to push your notes to Microsoft Word

To convert PowerPoint to Word using the Create Handouts command, simply:

  1. In PowerPoint, open the File menu
  2. Click Export on the left
  3. Select Create Handouts in the middle
  4. Click Create Handouts on the right
  5. Select ‘Notes next to slides
  6. Click OK

Selecting Notes next to slide, your PowerPoint presentation is turned into a Word document, with all of your slides and speaker notes in a table format that you can then update and edit in Microsoft Word.

For some Microsoft Office tricks you can pull off in this format (including getting your real slide title names into the table using the Outline view), see the video tutorial below.

Example of PowerPoint notes in Microsoft Word

To learn how to do the reverse and convert Word to PowerPoint, read our how to guide here.

Table of Contents: If you have a lot of slides you are converting into a Word document, you can make your Word document easier to read and navigate by inserting a table of contents.

To learn how to make a table of contents in Word quickly and easily (including pro tricks), read our guide here.

How to print PowerPoint notes ONLY

Yes, you can print JUST your PowerPoint notes (no slide thumbnail images) without messing up your presentation by deleting things on your Notes Master (not recommended).

To see how to pull this off using a combination of the Create Handouts command and the Outline View in PowerPoint, see the short PowerPoint video tutorial below (it will make the most sense that way).

To print your PowerPoint notes only (see both sets of instrcutions below):

  1. From within PowerPoint open the File menu
  2. ​Click Export on the left
  3. Select Create Handouts in the middle
  4. Click Create Handouts on the right
  5. Select ‘Notes next to slides
  6. Click OK

The steps above convert your PowerPoint presentation into a Microsoft Word document in a table format. Once your speaker notes are in this table format, you can make a number of interesting customizations including:

  1. Delete the thumbnail image column
  2. Resize the column widths
  3. Paste your slide title names in from the Outline View in PowerPoint
  4. Customize your handouts with your contact information
  5. And MUCH more.

To see how to get to the result pictured below, see the video above.

example of PowerPoint notes only (no slide thumbnail)
To learn how to best use the Outline View in PowerPoint, including shortcuts to open and close it, read our ultimate guide here.

Assuming you have comments in your presentation, you can pint those in any of the PowerPoint Handout or Outline views.

It’s just important to note that PowerPoint comments always print on the second page. Your first page will be the handouts themselves (with the comment marked on the slide). The second will be the actual comments.

As this tends to waste a lot of printer paper and ink, I recommend using the 9-slide layout a unless you have a specific reason to do otherwise.

To print your PowerPoint slides with comments:

  1. Hit Ctrl + P for print, to open the print formatting options
  2. In the Settings area, open the Slide Layout options
  3. Choose how many handouts you want per slide (I recommend 9, see why below)
  4. Select Print Comments and Ink Markup
  5. Click Print

From the print dialog box, select 9 slides vertical and Print Comments and ink Markup to print your comments
The reason I recommend choosing the 9-slide layout, is that all of your comments will stack up nicely on the second page behind your slides, tagging each note to the slide on the preceding page.

This saves you reams of paper and ink at your office.

Example of PowerPoint slides printed with the comments page

There are two different ways to print your slides as Handouts with lines for notes:

  1. The easy way: This involves directly printing your slides from PowerPoint with the default lines that PowerPoint gives you for taking notes.
  2. The customizable way: This involves converting your PowerPoint slides to Word, where you can then adjust and customize the lines for your notes.

Both options are covered below.

1. The easy way

To print your slides with non-customizable lines for notes (in PowerPoint):

  1. From within PowerPoint, hit Ctrl + P for print
  2. Under the Settings section, open the Slide Layout options
  3. Choose the 3-slide layout with lines (you’ll see a live preview on the right)
  4. Click Print

From the print dialog box, select 3 slides with lines next to them to print your slides with straight lines as handoutsNote: You can customize this layout using the PowerPoint Handout Master. For help customizing this view, see the video on how to print notes above.

2. The customizable way

To print your slides with customizable lines for notes (Converting PowerPoint to Word):

  1. Navigate to the File tab
  2. ​Click Export
  3. Select Create Handouts on the left
  4. ​Click Create Handouts on the right
  5. Select ‘Blank lines next to slides‘ or ‘Blank lines below slides’ (depending on what you want)
  6. Click OK
From the print dialog box, select export, create handouts and blank lines next to slides to push your notes to Microsoft word with blank lines

Clicking OK, your PowerPoint slides are pushed to Microsoft Word in one of the table formats pictured below.

Once your notes are in Microsoft Word like this, you can then customize them anyway you like (fitting more on your slide etc.).

Example of PowerPoint slides exported to Microsoft Word with blank lines for notes

To learn more about exporting your PowerPoint slides to Microsoft Word (and the different options you have), read our guide here.

Before you get TOO excited about printing your PowerPoint outline, it’s important note that only information that is within your content placeholders will print.

That means that not only will NO graphics, charts or pictures show up in your printed document, any text added to your slide outside of the placeholders set on your PowerPoint Slide Master, will also NOT show up in the printed document.

To print your PowerPoint slides as an outline only outline, simply:

  1. Hit Ctrl + P on to open the print options
  2. In the Settings area, open the Slide Layout options
  3. Select Outline
  4. Click Print

Print PowerPoint outline

Note: If you don’t see all the content in your Outline (you only see the slide titles, for example) that means that your Outline View is collapsed.

To expand your Outline View, simply:

  1. Navigate to the View tab and click on the Outline View
  2. Within the Outline View (click into that actual Outline View on the left), hit the expand keyboard shortcut: ALT + SHIFT + 9.

To learn more shortcuts for working in the Outline View in PowerPoint, see the shortcut tutorial below, which will help you fill in your PowerPoint template quickly.

For help building your own custom PowerPoint template, see our step-by-step guide here.

If you want to customize your PowerPoint outline in Microsoft Word before you print it, simply:

  1. Navigate to the File tab
  2. Click Export
  3. Select Create Handouts on the left
  4. Click Create Handouts on the right
  5. Select ‘Blank lines next to slides‘ or ‘Blank lines below slides’ (depending on what you want)
  6. Click OK
From the print dialog box, select export, create handouts and Outline Only to export your PowerPoint outline to Microsoft Word

Pushing your outline into Microsoft Word like this allows you to customize and edit the outline before you print it.


So those are ALL the different ways you can print your notes in PowerPoint.

If you intend to print your notes as handouts for a business meeting or client presentation, I highly recommend formatting your Notes Master and/or Handout Master.

That way you can include your contact information and/or your company formatting, making your handouts look more professional.

If you enjoyed this in-depth PowerPoint tutorial, you can learn more about our online training courses and other presentation resources here.

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