How to Insert Slide Number in PowerPoint

Adding slide numbers to your PowerPoint presentation can be very useful for both you and your audience. Here are some key reasons why slide numbers are important:

  • Help the audience follow along and know where they are in the presentation
  • Allow presenters and viewers to easily reference specific slides
  • Provide structure and organization
  • Look more polished and professional

There are a few ways to add slide numbers in PowerPoint:

Use the Header and Footer Tool

This is the easiest method:

  • Click on the Insert tab
  • Select Header & Footer in the Text group
  • Check the box next to Slide number
  • Select where you want the number to appear on the slide
  • Click Apply to All to add slide numbers to all slides

Customization Options:

  • Change font, size, color
  • Add effects like shadow or 3D
  • Adjust alignment
  • Show on all slides or not on title slide

Edit the Slide Master

The Slide Master controls the default design and layout of slides. Editing it allows global changes:

  • Click View > Slide Master
  • Select the slide master thumbnail
  • Add slide number placeholder
  • Format appearance as desired
  • Click Close Master View when done


  • Changes apply automatically to all slides
  • Consistent formatting and positioning

Insert Text Box on Each Slide

You can manually add a text box with the slide number to individual slides:

  • Click Insert > Text Box
  • Type the slide number (e.g. Slide 1)
  • Customize font, size, color
  • Drag to position on slide

Use this method if:

  • You only want numbers on some slides
  • You want different formats per slide
  • Your presentation has multiple sections


  • Use a text box shape to allow more formatting options
  • Add the total number of slides for context
  • Automate slide numbers with VBA macros

Change Starting Number

By default, slide numbers start counting at 1. To change this:

  • Click the Design tab
  • Select Slide Size > Custom Slide Size
  • Enter new starting number into the Number slides from box

Reasons to change the starting number:

  • Continuing slide numbering from a previous presentation
  • To start counting at a number other than 1
  • If there are front matter slides without numbers

Troubleshooting Issues

Numbers not showing up?

  • Check the Slide Master has the placeholder enabled
  • Look for objects covering the number area on slides
  • Reset the slide master placeholder visibility

Numbers not correct?

  • The slide layout may not match master layout
  • Check slides are assigned correct layouts
  • Reset slide master placeholders again

Text box numbers not updating?

  • You must manually update text box numbers
  • Use Excel links or VBA code to automate

Adding slide numbers is an easy way to polish your PowerPoint decks. Use the Slide Master to apply consistent numbering to all slides, and leverage customization options to match your presentation’s look and feel.