Add speaker notes in PowerPoint presentations

Even the smartest person at your class or office can forget about what he or she wants to say at a presentation, and that is normal. You will have two options: you can either use your notes on the paper or add speaker notes to the presentation (PowerPoint) to use whenever you want. It acts as a guideline to not forget about what you want to say next. 

In the following article, I will tell you how to add a speaker note in PowerPoint. The good thing about these speaker notes is that you will be the only one who will know, and the audience will be just observing the content. This way is more convenient than writing a bunch of information on the papers, printing them out, and looking at your notes from time to time when presenting. It will also help you focus on your presentation and nothing else. 

Recommended article: How to add audio to PowerPoint for all slides

What are speaker notes in PowerPoint?

When added to a document, speaker notes will only be visible to the presenter, not the entire audience, making them an excellent tool for capturing critical points on each slide.

What does the speaker note include?

You may forget what key points you make in your presentation to give the audience the idea here. By adding these key points, you will ensure that everything you wanted to speak of at your presentation will be said, and nothing will slip off your brain. Don’t forget to add large and bold texts, and this way, you will be able to read them completely and without any error.
As mentioned above, there is a high chance that you may forget about the important part of your presentation, such as statistics. These are the information you should talk about but didn’t include in your main slides not to complicate yours. Instead, you better add this information in the speaker note to talk about it at the right moment.
Note that too much information will confuse you and prevent you from giving a good presentation.
Always try to stick to the minimum amount of information. This will also help you keep on going with your presentation by referring to your notes.

How to add speaker notes in PowerPoint

The author of a presentation should always have a clear image of the discussion topic. In general, it is assumed that the person creating the presentation is also the one delivering it. It can sometimes be challenging to remember what one should say and when. Also, there are occasions when multiple people should give one presentation; this will add to the challenge and confusion of knowing the right time and place for each argument point. Such cases are perfect examples of the need for speaker notes in a PowerPoint presentation. 

How to add speaker notes in PowerPoint
How to add speaker notes in PowerPoint

If you are new to making presentations or have plans to share your document with others, you will find speaker notes to be a valuable tool providing you with notes on the main argument points of each slide. 

This guide is going to show how to add speaker notes to a PowerPoint slide.

  1. Open the document.
  2. Go to the view tab of the top screen toolbar.
  3. If the normal view is not activated by default, select it. 
  4. Choose the slide that needs speaker notes.
  5. At the bottom right corner of the screen, left to the “Comments,” click the “Notes” button.
  6. Type the notes in the box, then press enter or click somewhere out of the box.

Where to add speaker notes in PowerPoint presentations

4 ways to open speaker notes

Formatting speaker notes

Notes in each individual slide can be formatted using commands available in the Ribbon’s Home tab. However, if consistent formatting of notes in a presentation is required, using Note Master would be the best option. 

One can add bullets in the Note Pane of each individual slide in normal view or the Notes Master. This can be done by clicking Bullets on the Home tab. 

If the goal is to format all notes or change the formatting of different levels of notes, then using the Notes Master would be the option. In the Notes pane, bullets will appear automatically, but other changes in the document’s formatting, such as font size, might not initially appear.

The picture below shows the Note Master command in the View tab:

Formatting speaker notes
formatting speaker notes PowerPoint

These steps are to be taken in order to format notes using Notes Master:

  1. Open the View tab.
  2. In the Views group, click on Notes Master.
  3. In the note pane, select each level that needs formatting or use Ctrl+A to select all notes.
  4. Go to the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  5. Apply the desired font size and other formatting options available in the Font group.
  6. In the bottom right corner of the PowerPoint window, select the normal view.

Formatting speaker notes in PowerPoint 2013

In order for formatting in 2013 and later versions to take effect:

  1. Go to the View tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Click on the “Outline View” option.
  3. Go to the left side of the screen and right-click in the Outline pane area.
  4. In the appeared context menu, select Show Text Formatting.

Formatting speaker notes in PowerPoint 2010

To view changes made in formatting in 2010 versions:

  1. In the normal view, go to the outline tab in the upper left section of the PowerPoint window.
  2. Go to the left side of the screen and right-click in the Outline pane area.
  3. In the appeared context menu, select Show Text Formatting.

Any formatting applied on Notes also appears in the print preview. To see this preview:

  1. In the File tab, click Print.
  2. Then select Full Page Slides and click Notes Pages to see a preview of formatted notes.

How to see the Note during a presentation

If the computer is connected to a secondary monitor or projector, the Presenter View can be enabled in 2010 to 2016 versions by following these steps:

  1. In the Slide Show, select “Use Presenter View.”
  2. In the Display Settings dialogue box, choose the monitor to showing speaker notes. You should check “This is my main monitor.”If the option is available, choose From Current SlideCustom Slide ShowPresent Online, or Broadcast Slide Show. Each option shows the slideshow notes during the presentation.

In the Mac operating system, PowerPoint works slightly differently from Windows versions. In this system, during the presentation, in the Slide Show, select presenter view.

You can also see your presentation mode without having a video projector through the following steps.

Slide Show > Right-click > Show presenter View

Slide Show
Slide Show
Show presenter View
Right click > Show presenter View
How to see the note during a presentation

How to Print Speaker Notes

Speaker notes would not be printed as a slide; however, choosing the optional “Print with Note” will display them in the paper copy. Sometimes a second screen is not available, or the presenter is more comfortable using a hard copy of notes; under such circumstances, the notes should be printed. Below is the way to do it:

  • Use Ctrl+p  or File > Print.
  • In the print settings screen, choose Notes Pages (Print slides with notes).
How to print speaker notes
How to print speaker notes in PowerPoint

If there is no need to print the slide thumbnails, go to Notes Pages in the View tab and delete slide thumbnails manually. Next, repeat the above procedure to print notes pages without thumbnails. 

Note that PowerPoint will print each note page one by one, regardless of whether the thumbnails are present or not. The notes will not be compressed into one or two pages.

Benefits of Using Speaker Notes

Key points: One of the most crucial aspects of a proper PowerPoint presentation is its briefness; however, it should not compromise the entirety of the information given out. Some of the data is not worth putting on a slide, or simply, there might not be enough space for them, and yet they must be addressed. In these situations, Speaker Notes shine the best, meaning statistics, guidelines, and figures can be expressed without any changes in the effectiveness of a presentation.


During the allocated time for a presentation, a time for a question and answer session is a necessity; otherwise, the audience will not be able to grasp the subject thoroughly and retain as much information as possible. Speaker Notes help to keep the pertinent information at hand, so when the time comes, the presenter can answer questions while baking them with relevant data.


Speaker notes can play a vital role in helping the presenter recall some information and figures related to slides. Considering the fact that public speaking can be an unnerving and overwhelming task, it can lead to the presenter forgetting what they are supposed to say. By relying on Speaker Notes, one can acquire a subconscious sense of confidence while progressing toward the end of the presentation. 

Keeping time

To make a lasting impression or show one’s command of the subject, punctuality and keeping to the predetermined timetable is a necessity. As soon as the presenter view is opened, the timer starts. It can be easily reset by clicking it. By adhering to the timer beforehand, one can proficiently draft or structure their speech according to the time requirements. This will both help the presenter to practice and keep time. 

In this article, you found out how to add speaker notes in PowerPoint. Still need help with your doing PowerPoint?

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