PowerPoint 2013: Date, Slide Number and Footer


Having visited the slide master in Slide Master view a few times you may be wondering about those “empty” placeholders on all the slides.  There are at least five placeholders on most layout masters, inherited from the slide master: Title, Content, Date, Slide Number, and Footer.  But when you look at the slide in Normal view you see only two of those areas: Title and Content (unless you have chosen the blank slide layout, in which case you see nothing).  Some layouts have many more placeholders, of course, but the date/time, slide number, and footer placeholders do not actually show up in Normal view.  How do you get these elements to show up on your slides?

Five Elements
The five content placeholders

Open your presentation and click on the Insert tab, and then click on Header & Footer in the text group.

Header Footer

You can do this from good old Normal view.  Note that the check boxes on this dialog box are clear.  Place a check in each box for the element you want to appear on your slides:  Date and time, Slide number, and Footer.  Note also that you can elect for these elements to NOT appear on the title slide.  Then click Apply, to apply these settings to the currently selected slide(s)—use Slide Sorter view to select a group—or Apply to All to place these elements on each slide in your presentation.

Turn on slide options

The drop-down next to date allows for many different date/time formats.  Selecting “Update automatically” updates the date/time field each time you open the presentation.  Choosing “Fixed,” on the other hand, will always display a fixed date.  You can type the fixed date and add time (or anything else you want) in the dialog box.  You can also type any footer you wish.

If you want to start numbering at a number other than 1, after applying your settings, go to View > Slide Master, click the drop-down under Slide Size, and select Custom Slide Size  (I know, this is a weird place to put it).  Change the number in “Number slides from:” to be whatever you want (and no, negative numbers are not accepted).  This is sometimes useful when combining multiple presentations into a single, long presentation).

Number Slides From

Granted, these elements are in an unusual location on the slides in our presentation, but that is because these elements are located where they are as part of the Ion theme layouts.  They are in somewhat different locations in each theme, and changing themes will change the location of these elements.  The “Retrospect” theme will place them in the more traditional location along the bottom of the slide.

I do not like using these elements in my own presentations because they take up slide real estate that I eventually end up needing to display data, and they do nothing but state the obvious anyway.  Others feel differently.  Here is a quick summary video.