The best way to add a slide number to PowerPoint.
Here are two common PowerPoint slide number problems and how to fix them.
Scenario A. You have finished creating a PowerPoint deck for tomorrow’s big meeting and received an email from your boss asking you to add another slide to the beginning of the deck. You create a slide, but then you notice that all subsequent slide numbers diverge by one.
Since you manually added slide numbers to each slide using text boxes, you now need to go through the entire presentation, slide by slide, and update the slide number on each slide individually. Such a pain.
Scenario B: You were smart enough to use PowerPoint’s built-in slide number feature, but even though you checked the Slide Numbers check box in the Header and Footer dialog box, slide numbers are not displayed anywhere on the slides. What’s happening?
How to add slide numbers in PowerPoint
Here are the steps you need to follow to add slide numbers in PowerPoint the right way so that they appear where you want so you don’t have to renumber your slides again.
- Open the slide master. Select the View tab, and then click the Slide Master icon.
- Select the parent slide. The parent slide will be at the very top of the slide list on the left, and it will be the largest slide on the list. You may need to scroll to the beginning.
- Click the main layout icon to open a dialog box.
- Check the box next to the slide number.
- On the Slide Master tab in the Ribbon, click the red X to close the Master View.
- Select a slide number.
Note. Even though you chose a slide number in step 5 above, you only indicated that you want the option to add slide numbers to your deck. This is why the dialog box in step 5 says Placeholders. At this point, you must tell PowerPoint to actually insert slide numbers. Then you can specify where the slide numbers should appear and how you want them to look.
- Select the “Insert” tab and click on the slide number. icon to open a dialog box with header and footer options.
- Check the box next to the slide number. Make sure there is a checkmark in the box next to the slide number.
- Select the Do not show on the title page check box. Best practices say that a title slide should not have a slide number. Check the box highlighted below to hide the slide number from the title slide.
- Select Apply or Apply to All and you’re done!
Note. Remember that slide number suppression on a title slide will only work correctly if you have selected a title slide layout for that slide. You can double-check this by right-clicking on the title slide, choosing Layout, and confirming that the title slide layout is selected.
- Format and move slide numbers. If you want to change the appearance and / or position of slide numbers, go to the Slide Master to do so. Follow steps 1 and 2 above to navigate to the parent slide. Find a placeholder for the slide number. It will look like this: (#). Select this text and format it however you want. You can also select a bounding box around the placeholder and move the slide number placeholder element anywhere on the slide.
Likewise, if you want the slide number to appear in different positions depending on which slide layout you applied, you can adjust the position of the slide number placeholder on individual layouts in the slide master.
To do this, go to the slide master, select the slide layout you want to change from the list on the left, and change the position or format of the slide number placeholder for that particular layout.
Add slide numbers to PowerPoint.
By now, you’ve figured out that a slide master is useful for more than just adding slide numbers to your PowerPoint presentation. Just as adding and placing slide numbers on a slide master affects all of the slides in a deck, you can use different layouts in the slide master to apply different elements and formatting to slides throughout your presentation.
If you change one item in a layout master slide, the change will propagate to all dependent slides. Learn more about slide master layouts and become a slide master!