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Slide Numbers: Make Slide #1 Start on the Third, Fourth, or Another Slide

Wednesday, August 25, 2010
posted by Geetesh at 3:16 PM IST

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Typically you can start your slide numbering with any number -- so yes, your first slide can be numbered fourth. But what if you want the opposite -- maybe you want your fourth slide to be numbered first! This question was asked on Microsoft Answers, and Chirag Dalal of OfficeOne had an awesome answer, excerpted here with his permission:

  1. Place your actual first 3 slides at the end of the presentation and start your presentation from your 4th slide. PowerPoint would number your slides from 1 and that would be the correct number for your 4th slide.

  2. Remove the slide numbers from the last 3 slides (which are your actual first 3 slides).

  3. Create a Custom Show so that your last 3 slides are placed as the first 3 slides in the Custom Show and the remaining slides follow those 3 slides. To create a Custom Show, use the Slide Show | Custom Shows menu item (or the Slide Show tab of the Ribbon | Custom Shows).

  4. Next, tell PowerPoint to display the Custom Show when you start the slide show. To do this, choose Slide Show | Set Up Show menu item (or the Slide Show tab of the Ribbon | Set Up Slide Show). Select your Custom Show in the Show Slides section, and click OK.
Now when you start the slide show, PowerPoint will show your actual first 3 slides without slide numbers and slide 1 from your actual slide 4 onwards.

Thanks Chirag!

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I work for a law firm who often times want powerpoint's page numbering to behave much like Microsoft Word's (using section breaks). So this clever work around is simply brilliant. Thank you!


Excellent work around. But, how about printing? our printer collates and staples automatically. Any ideas?


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Webbuzzard, I need the answer to your question as well. In the meantime I'm using this workaround: I create three files with separate slides as follows: 1 - the title and front piece (copyright/ISBN etc) with no page numbers
2 - the tabel of content that I want to have lower case roman numerals
3 - the content of the "book" with arabic numerals starting at 1

I format the page numbers accordingly for each file and print all three to pdf.
Then I merge the pdf files into one.


I used a different workaround: I needed the 3rd slide to be numbered 1, so I started the numbering at "-1" (i.e., negative one). Bizarrely, it worked. I didn't have to manually move the slides around. But I don't know how it would affect printing.


I have an update to my "brilliant" -1 solution. It turns out this numbering is not saved in the document. If you close the presentation and reopen it, the numbering will revert so that the first slide is #1. However, if you change the first slide to 0, instead of -1, it will stay when you save and reopen. So you can permanently make your second slide start with #1, but not your third slide. If you have more than one introductory slide that you don't want to number, you'll have to change the slide numbering each time you open the file. (Or else move the slides' position, as this blog originally suggested.)


If set the layout of your first two (or three or more) slides in the Office Theme as "Title Slide" and the rest some other layout(s), then, when you go to Insert tab and check slide number, make sure " "Don't show on title slide" is checked off. My menu doesn't allow the minus sign character to try the -1 solution.


Ditto to Carye Yanko: Powerpoint does not allow numbering using negative numbers as "Unkown" suggested. I had tried that already.
I think the only workaround is from omma t nacci.

What version of PP are you on, "Unknown?" I'm on 2010


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