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How to Print PowerPoint with Notes: The Ultimate Guide

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

Note: A quick side note…

If you are distributing your slides to other people, I HIGHLY recommend customizing the handouts with your company information before printing them. That way it’s easy for prospective clients to get in contact with you.

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

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

The standard (and most basic) way to print your notes in PowerPoint is to have thumbnail images of your slides with the notes below each thumbnail.

To see how to not only print your slides like this, but also how to customize the slide handouts with your contact information, see the short video below.

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

  1. Hit CTRL + P for print, to open the PowerPoint print options
  2. Under the Settings area, open the slide layout options
  3. Select the Notes Page
  4. Click Print

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

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 handouts in the Notes Master

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) Close the Notes 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 push your slides to Microsoft Word using the Create Handouts command.

To use the Create Handouts command, simply:

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

Selecting 'Notes next to slide,' PowerPoint pushes your slides into Microsoft Word in a table format that you can then format in Word as you normally would.

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 on how to print your PowerPoint notes only below.

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).

How to print your notes only step by step

To print your PowerPoint notes only, simply:

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

The steps above push your slides into Microsoft Word in a table format. Once your notes are in this format, there are a lot of interesting customizations you can quickly pull off including:

  1. Deleting the thumbnail image column
  2. Resizing the column widths
  3. Pasting your slide title names in from the Outline View in PowerPoint
  4. Customize your handouts with your contact information

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

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

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.

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 pushing your slides into Microsoft Word where you can adjust and customize the lines for your notes.

Both options are covered below.

The easy way

To print your slides with non-customizable lines for notes:

  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

Note: You can customize this layout using the PowerPoint Handout Master. For help customizing this view, see the video on how to print notes above.

The customizable way

To print your slides with customizable lines for notes:

  1. Navigate to the File tab
  2. Select Export
  3. Select Create Handouts on the left
  4. Select Create Handouts on the right
  5. Select 'Blank lines next to slides' or 'Blank lines below slides' (depending on what you want)
  6. Click Okay

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.).

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

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.

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

  1. Navigate to the File tab
  2. Select Export
  3. Select Create Handouts on the left
  4. Select 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

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

What's next?

Updated on December 18, 2017

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