In a presentation with plenty of slides, it's quite easy to locate a specific slide as long as you know the sequence of your slide deck. You can see which slide number an active slide is within both Normal and Slide Sorter views. However, the same requirement becomes a challenge during Slide Show view, especially if you also want your audience to be able to see the slide numbers. To do so, you must enable slide numbers on the slides. Here are the steps required in PowerPoint 2011:
- With your presentation open, select the Insert | Header and Footer menu option, as shown in Figure 1. You can also select the Slide Number option (highlighted in red within Figure 1) within the same menu.
Figure 1: Select the Header and Footer or Slide Number option within the Insert menu
- Either option brings up the Header and Footer dialog box (see Figure 2). Make sure that the Slide tab is active, and select the Slide number check-box as shown highlighted in red within Figure 2. You can also choose the Don't show on title slide check-box (highlighted in blue within Figure 2) to disable the visibility of slide number on any slide that uses the Title slide layout, this typically is the opening slide in a presentation.
Figure 2: Slide number check-box selected
- Now choose any of these options:
- This will apply the slide number to all slides.
- This will apply slide number to the current slide only.
Apply to All
Enable Slide Numbers within the Master
If the presentation has multiple Slide Masters and/or Slide Layouts, you can enable slide numbers in Slide Master view for any particular Slide Master so that you can control which slides show the slide number and which don't:
- Open your presentation and select the View | Master | Slide Master menu option, as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Slide Master option within the View menu
- This opens the Slide Master view, as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4: Slide Master view
- 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 below it represent individual Slide Layouts that follow the Slide Master above them. Select the required Slide Master or the Slide Layout on the left pane for which you want to enable slide numbers.
- Select the Insert | Slide Number menu option to bring up the same dialog box that you last saw in Figure 2 (referred earlier on this page). Enable slide numbers by selecting the Slide number check-box as shown highlighted in red within Figure 2 earlier on this page.
- Choose Apply to All if you want to show slide numbers in all Masters/Layouts of the presentation, or Apply if you want it to be visible only on the current selection (Master, or Layout based on what you have selected).
- Make sure you are on the Slide Master tab of the Ribbon, and click the Close button (highlighted in red within Figure 4, above) to go back to the Normal view.
Troubleshooting Slide Numbers
Even after applying the slide numbers some times they may not be visible. In that scenario, check in both the Normal and Slide Master views to find out whether any of the slide objects are overlapping the slide numbers.
If that does not help, follow this troubleshooting sequence to make slide numbers visible:
- If you do not discover any slide object overlapping the Slide Number, select the View | Master | Slide Master menu option as shown in Figure 3 earlier on this page.
- 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 click the Master Elements button as shown in Figure 5. This opens the Master Elements drop-down gallery, here, you will find that the Slide Number option is deselected as shown in Figure 5.
Figure 5: Slide Number option deselected
- Select the Slide Number option by clicking on it. If you have Multiple Masters (more than one large thumbnail on the left pane), you need to enable the Slide Number for all of the masters as explained above.
- Go back to the Normal view by clicking the Close 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 or any other digit
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:
- Bring up the Header and Footer dialog box (see Figure 6) as explained earlier on this page. Make sure that the Slide tab is active and select the Slide number check-box as shown highlighted in red within Figure 6. Thereafter, type in the digit within the Starts at box (highlighted in blue within Figure 6), at which you want to start the numbering of your slides. You can see in Figure 6 that we have typed 101.
Figure 6: Slide number set to start at 101
- Click the Apply to All button and get back to your slides. Now you can see your first slide showing the number you have just typed in, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 7.
Figure 7: Slide number starts at the number set
Working With Slide Numbers in PowerPoint 365 for Mac
Working With Slide Numbers in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Working With Slide Numbers in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
Working With Slide Numbers in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Working With Slide Numbers in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
Working With Slide Numbers in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows
Working With Slide Numbers in PowerPoint 2003 and 2002 for Windows