How to remove slide numbers from specific slides in Microsoft PowerPoint

It’s easy to add slide numbers to a presentation, but you can also remove those specific slide numbers.

Image: vladim_ka/Adobe Stock

Every once in a while you see a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation with numbered slides. This is the same as page numbering in a Microsoft Word document. Similar to Word, there may be slides you don’t want numbered, such as the title slide. PowerPoint‘s slide numbering feature is easy to implement, but it’s seriously limited.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to add slide numbers to a presentation. Next, I’ll show you how to remove specific slide numbers and a trick that lets you restart slide numbering at the second slide, but that’s the only time it works.

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I use Microsoft 365 on a 64-bit Windows 10 system, but you can use older versions of PowerPoint. PowerPoint for the web supports slide numbers. If you are working with a non-default slideshow, add numbering to the main slides of the slideshow. The process is the same.

How to Add Slide Numbers in PowerPoint

Adding slide numbers to a presentation is easy. Similar to Word, you will add a field that displays the current slide number. Since it’s a field, it updates as you move, delete, and add slides. Let’s start by adding slide numbers to all slides in a simple presentation:

  1. After adding a slide, click the Insert tab.
  2. Click Header & Footer in the Text group to add the numbers to the footer.
  3. In the resulting dialog box, click the Slide tab if necessary.
  4. Check the Slide number option (Figure A).
  5. Click Apply to All. Note that there is also an Apply button. Click Apply to insert the page number only on the selected slide(s).

Figure A

Check the Slide number option to display slide numbers in PowerPoint.

Figure B

A field in the footer displays the current PowerPoint slide number.

As you can see in Figure Bthe slide number is in the lower right corner.

Enabling slide numbering for any or all slides is easy. Now let’s disable it for a specific page.

How to Disable Slide Numbering in PowerPoint

Once you’ve turned numbering on for all slides, you might want to turn it off for a page or two. For example, this presentation has a title page – most do. Typically, title slides do not display a number. So let’s disable the numbering for the title slide as follows:

  1. Click the Insert tab, then click Header & Footer in the Text group.
  2. In the resulting dialog box, check the Don’t show on title slide option (Figure C).
  3. If the title page is currently selected, click Apply. If you select another slide, click Apply All.

Figure C

Check the Don’t slide on title slide option to disable numbering on the title page in PowerPoint.

That was easy, but what if you want to disable numbering for a slide other than the title slide? Again, the solution is simple:

  1. Select the slide in question. In this case, we will use slide 2.
  2. Click Insert, then click Header & Footer in the Text group.
  3. In the resulting dialog, uncheck the Slide number option.
  4. Click Apply to disable numbering only for the selected slide, the second slide.

This simple presentation has four slides. The first two don’t have a slide number, unlike slides 3 and 4. You might want to consider restarting the page numbering at slide 3. Instead of showing 3, you might want to it shows 1. As far as I know, you can’t restart slide numbering. However, I have a quick trick that will only work if you have numbering turned off for the first slide.

You can reset the starting slide number and PowerPoint will apply it to the entire presentation. If you start with 4 slides and turn numbering off for the first slide, you can reset that starting number to 0. So slide 1 is 0, slide 2 is 1, and so on. To reset the starting number to 0, do the following:

  1. Click on the Design tab.
  2. In the Customize group, click Slide Size.
  3. From the drop-down list, choose Custom Slide Size.
  4. In the resulting dialog, change the Number Slides From parameter from 1 to 0 (Figure D).
  5. Click OK.

Figure D

Reset the first number to 0 in PowerPoint.

At this point, slide 3 displays 2 and slide 4 displays 3. The only way to fix this problem is to enable numbering for slide 2 as follows:

  1. Select slide 2 – the real slide 2.
  2. Click on the Insert tab.
  3. Choose Header & Footer from the Text group.
  4. In the resulting dialog box, check Slide Number.
  5. Click OK.

Figure E shows slides and numbering. The title slide does not show any numbers. The second slide shows 1. Slide 3 shows 2 and slide 4 shows 3. The only time it works is when the first slide doesn’t show a number and you reset the starting number to 0.

Figure E

Reset the first number of the PowerPoint slideshow.

You can reset the starting slide number to a higher number. You will do this by combining different presentations. For example, you can run the first slide show with slides 1 through 10, and then run a second slide show with slides 11 through 25.

There are third-party products available that allow you to implement more complex slide numbering schemes in PowerPoint.