Add, Format and View Speaker Notes in PowerPoint Decks

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated May 28, 2021

Applies to: Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 (Windows)

You can add speaker notes in your PowerPoint decks using the Notes pane in Normal View. Speaker notes may be viewed by a presenter during a slide show and may be printed as well. When you create your PowerPoint slides, you can add, edit and format notes.

Speaker notes may include:

  • Key talking points
  • Reminders to tell an anecdote or story
  • Optional and / or supporting information
  • References or sources
  • Links to related documents or web sites
  • Reminders to start an animation or video
  • Prompts to introduce or gesture to another speaker or member of the audience
  • Reminders to take a break or pause
  • Reminders for audience follow-up or call to action

If you’d like to view notes during your presentation, you’ll need to keep them short because there is a limited amount of space to view them in Presenter View.

You can also format notes and they can be distributed as a standalone document as an alternative to traditional PowerPoint handouts.

Recommended article: How to Export PowerPoint Speaker Notes to Microsoft Word

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Adding speaker notes

In order to add notes, you may need to display the Notes pane first and then enter your notes.

To add notes:

  1. Click Normal on the bottom right of the PowerPoint window to go to Normal View. You can also click the View tab in the Ribbon and select Normal in the Presentation Views group to go to Normal View.
  2. At the bottom of the window, if the Notes pane is not visible, click Notes in the Status Bar or click the View tab in the Ribbon and then click Notes Page.
  3. Click in the Notes pane and type your notes.

Depending on version, the Notes button appears in different locations in the Status Toolbar at the bottom of the PowerPoint window:

Notes button in the Status Toolbar in Microsoft PowerPoint.

Below is a slide in Normal View. The Notes pane appears below the slide:

Adding speaker notes in the Notes pane in Microsoft PowerPoint.

If your notes are longer than the Notes pane, a scroll bar appears on the right side of the pane. You can enlarge the Notes pane by positioning the mouse pointer on the top line of the pane until it turns into a double-headed arrow and then dragging upward.

Formatting speaker notes

You can format notes on individual slides in the Notes pane using commands on the Home tab in the Ribbon. However, it’s best to format notes using the Notes Master if you want to format notes consistently throughout a presentation.

You can apply bullets in the Notes pane on individual slides in Normal View or in the Notes Master. Click Bullets on the Home tab in the Ribbon to add bullets.

If you want to format all notes, you can change the formatting of different levels in your notes and then change font size and other character formatting in the Notes Master. Bullets will appear in the Notes pane automatically but other formatting changes such as font size may not appear initially.

Below is the View tab in the Ribbon which includes the Notes Master command:

View tab with Notes Master in the Ribbon in PowerPoint.

To format notes in the Notes Master:

  1. Click the View tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Click Notes Master in the Master Views group.
  3. Click in the Notes pane and then select each level of notes you want to format. You can press Ctrl + A to select all notes.
  4. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  5. Select a font size and apply any other formatting you’d like in the Font group.
  6. Click the Normal button on the bottom right of the PowerPoint window to return to Normal view.

To view the formatting changes in 2013 and later versions:

  1. Click the View tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Click Outline View.
  3. Right-click in the Outline pane on the left side of the screen. A context menu appears.
  4. From the menu, select Show Text Formatting. Formatting should now appear in the Notes pane.

Below is the context menu that appears when you right-click in the Outline pane:

Context menu to Show Text Formatting in Notes pane in Microsoft PowerPoint.

To view notes formatting changes in 2010:

  1. In Normal View, click the Outline tab on the top left of the PowerPoint window.
  2. Right-click in the Outline pane on the left side of the screen. A context menu appears.
  3. From the menu, select Show Text Formatting. Formatting should now appear in the Notes pane.

Notes formatting also appears in Print Preview. To preview speaker notes:

  1. Click the File tab in the Ribbon and then click Print.
  2. Click Full Page Slides and then click Notes Pages for a preview of the notes with formatting.

Viewing notes in Presenter View

PowerPoint is set up by default to show notes to the speaker only when you run a slide show and your computer is connected to another output device such as a projector, TV or monitor. The easiest way to run a slide show is to click Slide Show on the bottom right of the PowerPoint window.

In Presenter View, speaker notes appear in a pane on the right. The text should wrap automatically and a vertical scroll bar appears if necessary. You can change the size of the text in the Notes pane in Presenter View by clicking the Increase or Decrease Font Size buttons on the lower left corner of the Notes pane:

Turning Presenter View on or off

By default, PowerPoint is set to use Presenter View when you run a slide show and you are connected to another output device.

To turn Presenter View on or off:

  1. In Normal or Slide Sorter View, click the Slide Show tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Check or uncheck the check box for Use Presenter View.
  3. Run the show by clicking from Beginning or From Current Slide.

Below is the Slide Show tab in the Ribbon:

Slide Show tab in the Ribbon in PowerPoint to turn presenter view off or on.

Deleting speaker notes

You can delete speaker notes in the Notes pane by selecting them and pressing Delete.

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More resources

How to Use the Built-in Laser Pointer in PowerPoint (with Shortcuts)

How to Print a PowerPoint Presentation with Notes

How to Quickly Remove All Speaker Notes in a PowerPoint Presentation

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Summary
How to Add and Format Notes in PowerPoint
Article Name
How to Add and Format Notes in PowerPoint
Description
You can add speaker notes in your PowerPoint decks using the Notes pane in Normal View. Speaker notes may be viewed by a presenter during a slide show and may be printed as well. When you create your PowerPoint slides, you can add, edit and format notes.
Author
Publisher Name
Avantix Learning

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