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Working With Slide Numbers in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

Learn how to add Slide Numbers on slides and Masters in PowerPoint 2010 -- and more tricks on making them work to your will.


Product/Version: PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

OS: Windows XP and higher

Enable Slide Numbers in the Master
Troubleshooting Slide Numbers
Start Numbering from Zero
Start Slide Number from 31
Start on the Third, Fourth, or Another Slide


If your presentation has plenty of slides it will be easy to locate specific slides as long as you have enabled slide numbers on these slides. In PowerPoint 2010, you have to make these slide numbers visible since they don't show by default.

Following these steps will help add slide numbers to your individual slides in PowerPoint 2010.

  1. Select the Insert tab of the Ribbon. Within the Text group, click the Header & Footer button, as shown in Figure 1. Alternatively you can also click the Date & Time or Slide Number buttons in the same tab of the Ribbon.
  2. Header and Footer option in the Insert tab of the Ribbon
    Figure 1: Header and Footer option in the Insert tab of the Ribbon
  3. Either way, this brings up the Header and Footer dialog box (see Figure 2). Make sure that the Slide number option is checked (highlighted in red).
  4. Header and Footer dialog box
    Figure 2: Header and Footer dialog box
  5. Now choose any of these options:
  6. Apply to All: This will apply the slide number to all slides.
  7. Apply: This will apply slide number to the current slide only.
  8. You can also choose the Don't show on title slide (highlighted in red) option to disable the visibility of slide number on the title slide, typically the first slide in a presentation and all other slides based on the Title layout.
Note: Remember that if your Slide Master or Slide Layouts have no Slide Number placeholder, then you will not see any slide numbers on the actual slides, even if you follow the preceding steps. The next section will explain how you can determine if the Slide Number placeholders are available on the Slide Masters or Slide Layouts.

Enable Slide Numbers in the Master

If the presentation has multiple Masters and/or Slide Layouts, you can enable slide numbers in Slide Master view on a particular Slide Master so that you can control which slides show the slide number and which don't.

Note: Multiple Masters are only available in PowerPoint 2002 (XP) and 2003, and later versions. Slide Layouts are only available in PowerPoint 2010 and 2007.

Follow these steps to do so:

  1. Select the View tab of the Ribbon. Under the Master Views group, click the Slide Master button (see Figure 3).

    Slide Master button alt="Slide Master button" />
    Figure 3: Slide Master button
  2. This opens the Slide Master view, as shown in Figure 4.

    Slide Master view alt="Slide Master view" />
    Figure 4: Slide Master view
  3. The Slides pane located on the left side of the Slide Master view has one large thumbnail that represents the Slide Master. All the smaller thumbnails represent individual Slide Layouts. Select the Master or the Layout on the left pane for which you want to enable slide numbers.
  4. Select the Insert tab of the Ribbon, and click the Header & Footer button to bring up the familiar dialog box that you last saw in Figure 2 (refer earlier in this page). Select the option to enable slide numbers.
  5. Choose Apply to All if you want to show slide numbers in all Masters / Layouts of the presentation, and only Apply if you want it to be visible on the current selection (Master or Layout).
  6. Make sure you are on the Slide Master tab of the Ribbon, and click the Close Master View button to go back to the Normal view.

Troubleshooting Slide Numbers

Even after applying the slide numbers some times they are not visible, to make slide numbers visible follow these troubleshooting sequence:

  1. Check whether the slide objects are overlapping the slide numbers in both the Normal and Slide Master views.
  2. If that doesn't work, click the Slide Master button Within View tab on the Ribbon (refer to Figure 3).
  3. This will take you to Slide Master view, select the Slide Master on the left pane (the larger thumbnail on the top of other smaller thumbnails). Now access the Slide Master tab of the Ribbon and click the Master Layout button, as shown in Figure 5.

    Master Layout button alt="Master Layout button" />
    Figure 5: Master Layout button
  4. This opens the Master Layout dialog box, that you can see in Figure 6.

    Master Layout alt="Master Layout" />
    Figure 6: Master Layout
  5. Check the Slide number checkbox, and click OK. If you have multiple Masters (more than one large thumbnail on the left pane), you'll want to summon and check the Master Layout dialog box for all the masters.
  6. Go back to Normal view by clicking the Close Master View button in the Slide Master tab of the Ribbon.
Note: If you find another problem or solution, do enter your comments at the bottom of this page!

Start Numbering from Zero

Do you want to start the numbering on your slides from zero rather than one? Or do you want to start it from 6 or 101? You can do it, just follow these steps:

  1. Choose the Design tab from the Ribbon, and click the Page Setup button (see Figure 7).

    Page Setup alt="Page Setup" />
    Figure 7: Page Setup
  2. This opens the Page setup dialog box (see Figure 8).

    Page Setup dialog box alt="Page Setup dialog box" />
    Figure 8: Page Setup dialog box
  3. Change the number in the Number slides from option at the bottom left of the dialog box (highlighted in red), as required.
  4. Click OK to get back to your slides.

Start Slide Number from 31

When you put in the auto number thing so that you can see what slide number you are on, can you start that at any number? Why does it have to be zero or one, can it be 31?

Yes, it can, since we already detail how this can be done on my blog, let me lead you there, see Start Slide Number from 31.


Start on the Third, Fourth, or Another Slide

Typically you can start your slide numbering with any number, so yes, your first slide can be numbered fourth. But what if you want the opposite, maybe you want your fourth slide to be numbered first!

Read more about making your fourth behave like your first slide.


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