Add Slide Numbers in PowerPoint using Slide Layouts

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated April 5, 2021

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

You can insert slide numbers on some or all of your PowerPoint slides using slide layouts. If your slide layouts contain slide number placeholders, you can then apply those layouts to your slides and insert slide numbers in the placeholders. If the placeholders have been deleted, slide numbers will not display.

It’s best not to type slide numbers in text boxes on slides in Normal View. If slide numbers are entered manually in text boxes on your slides, you won’t be able to edit or format them easily and they will not renumber if the slides are rearranged.

In order to insert slide numbers on a slide, you will need to do two things:

  1. In Normal View, apply layouts that include a slide number placeholder to slides.
  2. In Slide Master View, click the Insert tab in the Ribbon, click Header & Footer in the Text group, check Slide number and click Apply to apply to the current layout or Apply to All to apply to all layouts. Most slide numbers tend to appear in the footer position at the bottom of a slide.

Recommended article: How to Change Slide Size or Dimensions in PowerPoint

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Applying slide layouts

In PowerPoint, every slide is based on a slide layout (which is part of a set of layouts with a slide master or parent). Slide layouts are created and edited in Slide Master view.

To view the slide master and the layouts for the current presentation:

  1. Click the View tab in the Ribbon and click Slide Master in the Master Views group.
  2. In the thumbnails on the left, the first thumbnail is the slide master and below it are the associated slide layouts.
  3. Click a layout such as Title and Content. Placeholders should appear in the slide layout on the right. These placeholders usually include footer, date and slide number. If you haven’t inserted headers or footers, the placeholders are empty.

On the left side of the screen in Slide Master View, the slide master and its associated layouts appear in the thumbnails area:

Slide master with slide layouts in PowerPoint with placeholders to add slide numbers.

To apply a slide layout to a slide in Normal View:

  1. If necessary, click the Normal button on the bottom right of the screen.
  2. Select or display a slide.
  3. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  4. In the Slides group, click the Layouts drop-down menu and click a layout to apply it to the current slide. Common layouts include Title Slide, Title and Content and Title Only.

In Normal View, Layouts appear in the Layouts drop-down menu:

Slide layouts in PowerPoint Normal View.

If the layout does not seem to apply correctly, click Reset in the Slides group. If text boxes (not placeholders) have been added to the slide, you may need to delete them.

Ensuring the slide number placeholder appears on the slide master

By default, slide layouts include placeholders such as a title placeholder, body placeholder, footer placeholder, date placeholder and slide number placeholder. If the slide number placeholder has been removed from a layout in Slide Master view, the slide numbers have no place to go.

Slide layouts are part of a set which includes a slide master or parent and multiple layouts. Initially, slide layouts follow the slide master so if the slide number placeholder has been deleted on the slide master, this affects its layouts as well.

If the slide number placeholder has been deleted on the slide master (or parent), to add it to the slide master:

  1. Click the View tab in the Ribbon and click Slide Master in the Master Views group.
  2. Click the slide master (or parent) on the top left in the thumbnails (this normally appears with a number 1 beside it and is the first and largest thumbnail on the left).
  3. If the slide number placeholder does not appear in the slide on the right, click the Slide Master tab in the Ribbon and click Master Layout in the Master Layout group. A dialog box appears.
  4. In the Master Layout dialog box, check slide number and any other check boxes to display the desired placeholders.
  5. Click OK.

Below is a slide master with title, body, date, footer and number placeholders:

Slide Master with footer, date and slide number placeholders.

Ensuring the slide number placeholder appears on layouts

To ensure that the slide number placeholder appears on a layout or layouts:

  1. Click the View tab in the Ribbon and click Slide Master in the Master Views group.
  2. In the thumbnails on the left, click a layout such as Title and Content. Placeholders should appear in the slide layout on the right. These placeholders usually include footer, date and slide number. If you haven’t inserted headers or footers, the placeholders are empty in Normal View.
  3. If the footer, date and slide number placeholders are not on the slide layout, click the Slide Master tab in the Ribbon and click the Footers check box in the Slide Master group. You may need to check and uncheck the Footer check box multiple times until the placeholders appear.
  4. Repeat for other layouts.

Note the Footers check box below (which is enabled only if you have selected a slide layout in the thumbnails on the left):

Footers check box on Slide Master tab in PowerPoint.

Below is a slide layout with title, body, date, footer and number placeholders:

Slide layout in Slide Master View in PowerPoint with footer, date and number placeholders.

Inserting slide numbers into the slide number placeholder

As long as a slide number placeholder appears on a layout or layouts, you can insert slide numbers using the Header & Footer command:

  1. Click the View tab in the Ribbon and click Slide Master in the Master Views group.
  2. In Slide Master View, click a layout on the left in the thumbnails.
  3. Click the Insert tab in the Ribbon and click Header & Footer in the Text group. A dialog box appears.
  4. If necessary, click the Slide tab in the dialog box.
  5. Click the check box for Slide number (a checkmark appears). You can also check Footer and Date if required. You may also want to check Don’t show on title slide.
  6. Click Apply to apply to the current layout or Apply to All to insert slide numbers on every layout where a slide number placeholder appears.

Below is the Header & Footer dialog box:

Header and Footer dialog box in PowerPoint to insert slide numbers, footers and dates into placeholders.

In Slide Master View, the slide number placeholder does not display the slide numbers. You’ll need to return to Normal View to view the slide numbers. To return to Normal View, click the Normal button on the bottom right or click the View tab in the Ribbon and click Normal in the Presentation Views group.

Formatting slide number placeholders

You can format the slide number placeholder on the slide master or on individual layouts.

To format a slide number placeholder:

  1. Click the View tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Click Slide Master in the Master Views group.
  3. Click the slide master or the layout with the slide number placeholder you wish to format (in the thumbnails on the left).
  4. Click the edge of the slide number placeholder in the slide area on the right.
  5. Select a different font size, font color and other formats from the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  6. Repeat for other layouts if necessary.

You can also move a placeholder by clicking its edge and pressing the arrow keys on your keyboard or by dragging the edge of the placeholder. The number placeholder can appear in different locations on different layouts.

Changing the starting slide number

PowerPoint automatically numbers slides starting at 1 (whether they are displayed or not on your slides).

To change the starting slide number in Normal View:

  1. Click the Design tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Click Slide Size and then Custom Slide Size or click Page Setup (depending on your PowerPoint version).
  3. Enter a new starting number.
  4. Click OK.

The Slide Size dialog box appears as follows:

Slide Size dialog box in PowerPoint.

Removing all slide numbers

If you decide that you want to remove all slide numbers in your presentation, you don’t need to delete the placeholders in Slide Master view. Simply turn off slide numbers in the Header & Footer dialog box.

To turn off slide numbers for all slides:

  1. In Normal View or Slide Master View, click the Insert tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Click Header & Footer in the Text group.
  3. In the dialog box, uncheck Slide Number (and Date and Footer if necessary).
  4. Click Apply to All. The slide numbers will be removed but the placeholders will remain in Slide Master view so it will be simple to insert slide numbers again.

For many PowerPoint users, slide numbering is an ongoing problem so it’s important to learn how to work with placeholders in Slide Master view to ensure that numbering can be added or removed easily.

Slide numbers still not working? Check out the article Troubleshoot Slide Numbers in PowerPoint Decks.

This article was originally published on September 20, 2018 and has been updated for clarity and content.

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Summary
How to Insert Slide Numbers in PowerPoint Presentations (Step-by-Step)
Article Name
How to Insert Slide Numbers in PowerPoint Presentations (Step-by-Step)
Description
You can insert slide numbers on some or all of your PowerPoint slides using slide layouts. If your slide layouts contain slide number placeholders, you can then apply those layouts to your slides and insert slide numbers in the placeholders. If the placeholders have been deleted, slide numbers will not display.
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Avantix Learning

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