PowerPoint is a very helpful tool for just about any industry and business. Throughout my career in various positions I have used PowerPoint daily.
One very common issue that I have encountered over the years is the slide number no longer appearing either across all slides or just a select few.
If you discover your PowerPoint slide numbers not showing, go to the “Insert” tab and select the “Header & Footer” dialogue box. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut “Alt, Shift, D”. Finally, in the open Header & Footer dialogue box select “Slide number” and click “Apply to All”.
For the vast majority of cases, this will add slide numbers back to your presentation and fix the problem.
Read on for additional tips and fixes!
Why You Should Insert Slide Numbers in PowerPoint
During presentation prep and even during the presentation itself, your audience will be able to reference slide numbers while asking questions.
In doing so, you will be able to jump around your presentation and use PowerPoint’s helpful speaker notes, while still keeping everyone focused and on point.
Slide numbers can also help after the presentation when you send your completed slide deck to coworkers and clients. During follow up, should anyone have a question about a specific topic they can easily reference the slide number and direct your attention to the content in question.
Simply put, slide numbers offer both you and your audience a simple tool to more easily navigate your content.
How To Add Slide Numbers To PowerPoint
To add slide numbers to PowerPoint, first click the Insert tab and select the Header & Footer dialogue box. If you are more of a keyboard shortcut junkie you can also use the Alt, Shift, D shortcut.
Next, in the open Header & Footer dialogue box select Slide number and click Apply to All.
In most cases the above method will add numbers to all of your slides. However, there are some cases where this method will add slide numbers to most but not all of your slides. You may also find that the slide numbers are out of order.
What should you do if some slides numbers are still not showing up or not showing up properly?
First, a quick word on Reset.
PowerPoint Reset will reset content place holders on the slide master, like your title and subtitle. For this reason many people think this will also reset and fix their slide number issue.
Unfortunately, this is incorrect.
Reset will set your layout back to the way it should be on the slide master but it will not reset the page number.
If you are still having issues with your PowerPoint slide numbers don’t worry. The Slide Master usually offers an easy solution.
To get there, first click the View tab and select Slide Master.
Multiple Layouts Issue
Once you are in the Slide Master, review the slide-by-slide thumbnail navigation and check to see if there are any duplicate slides.
Often times the issue is due to there being multiple layouts in the master. One layout will have the slide number place holder associated with it and the other will not.
In most cases you will want to simply remove the duplicate that does not contain the slide number place holder from your slide master.
However, you can also fix this without removing the duplicate by selecting Footers in the Slide Master view. This will repopulate the slide number place holder in the master deck.
When you go back to the Normal view (View > Normal) you will still not see the slide number.
To get it to appear you need to once again follow the previously provided instructions to add slide numbers:
- Click the Insert tab and select the Header & Footer dialogue box. Or use Alt, Shift, D keyboard shortcut.
- Next, select Slide number and click Apply to All.
You did it – your page number is back!
Custom Slide Number Issue
What if you want to customize the slide number field? For example, instead of it just showing the number “1” you want it to read “Slide 1”.
To make this custom change head back to the Slide Master view (View > Slide Master).
In Slide Master view, first customize the slide number on the Parent slide.
Once the Parent slide is customized you MUST then also go to each of the Child slides and delete the slide number place holder.
Now that the slide number placeholders have been deleted from the Child slides, select Footers in the Slide Master view. This will repopulate the newly customized slide number place holders in the Child slides.
Ok, I properly set up my Master slides, but my normal slides still are not showing my customized slide numbers correctly! What gives?
At this stage , only the Slide Master view has been repopulated. The Normal view will still not show your newly customized slide numbers.
To repopulate your slide numbers in the Normal view:
- First, click the Insert tab and select the Header & Footer dialogue box. Then deselect Slide number and click Apply to All.
- Once all slide numbers have been removed go back into the Header & Footer and select Slide number and click Apply to All.
You did it – your custom page numbers are properly displaying in Normal view!
Slide Number Not On Title Slide
What if your slide numbers are showing properly everywhere except the title slide?
Fortunately there is an easy fix for this.
Go to Insert > Header & Footer. Here you will find an option titled Don’t show on title slide. To get the slide number to repopulated on the title slide, deselect this option and select Apply.
Externally, I have used PowerPoint as the medium for my client proposals and bid defense presentations. Internally, I have used PowerPoint to organize my thoughts and to help prepare my teams.
PowerPoint slide numbers are a simple tool to help guide your audience during a presentation. Page numbers also offer an easy way to reference specific content following your presentation.
How to add slide numbers in PowerPoint:
- Go to the “Insert” tab and select the “Header & Footer” dialogue box.
- Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut “Alt, Shift, D”.
- Finally, in the open Header & Footer dialogue box select “Slide number” and click “Apply to All”.
That’s it! You are ready to nail your next presentation!
Chelsea Ashbrook is a Senior Manager of Corporate Digital Experience at Genentech. Chelsea received her B.A. from the University of Connecticut and has spent the last 11 years working in the technology field.