How to add speaker notes in PowerPoint


Adding notes in PowerPoint allows you to add talking points or other notes to refer to when you are presenting your slides.

Speaker notes are visible on your monitor when you are presenting, but they are not visible to your audience.

To add speaker notes to PowerPoint, while in Normal view, select the slide thumbnail you want to add PowerPoint notes to. PowerPoint’s Add Notes field does not always display by default.  If you do not see the notes section appear beneath the active slide on the screen, click on the notes toggle on the status bar at the bottom of PowerPoint to reveal the notes pane.

Presenter notes PowerPoint: How to add notes to a slide

To add your note, click where you see the words ‘Click to add notes’ and type in the notes you want to add regarding the PowerPoint slide currently displayed above the notes field.

PowerPoint’s speaker notes are linked to each slide, so you need to enter notes relevant to a slide while you have the particular slide displaying on your screen.  Simply navigate through your PowerPoint presentation, click on any slide you want to add notes to, type in the notes and then navigate to the next slide. 

To hide the notes pane, click the ‘Notes’ toggle from the status bar once again.

How to view PowerPoint with notes

You can view PowerPoint notes in ‘Normal’ View as well as’ Outline’ and ‘Notes Page’ view. To change the ‘View’ settings, go to the ‘View’ tab on the PowerPoint top ribbon and select either Normal, Outline or Notes Page.

PowerPoint View Notes - Normal View

Make sure you have the ‘Notes’ toggle on the top ribbon set to the on position so you can view PowerPoint notes.  When using the Outline view, the speaker notes will appear only beneath the slide – they will not appear in the slide outline text on the left-hand side.

PowerPoint View Notes - Outline view

PowerPoint View notes - Notes view

How to see notes in PowerPoint when presenting a slide show

To view your speaker notes when presenting PowerPoint presentations, navigate to the ‘Slide Show’ tab and select ‘From Beginning’ located at the top left-hand side of the ‘Slide Show’ ribbon.

PowerPoint slide show from beginning

If you are connected to a projector, your slide show should automatically appear in presenter view.

If you are not automatically taken to presenter view, click on the  image at the bottom of the slide and select ‘Show Presenter View’.

PowerPoint Presenter View

Presenter View appears on your computer's screen, while only the slides appear on the projector screen. In Presenter view, you can see your PowerPoint notes, as well as the next slide, as you present. The audience will only see your slides.

Presenter View PowerPoint

PowerPoint speaker notes appear to the right of the slide you are presenting.

As you move to the next slide in the presentation, the notes for the corresponding slide will appear.

Using Presenter Notes when Presenting via Zoom

There are several methods to present your slide show presentations using Zoom. However, If you wish to view your speaker notes while presenting your slide show, without the audience seeing them, you will need to use dual monitors.

Dual monitors with slide show and presenter's views

If you have dual monitors, you can present your PowerPoint presentation on one monitor, while viewing the presenter notes on a second monitor.

To present on dual monitors, first open the PowerPoint file you want to present.
Start or join a Zoom meeting.
Click Share Screen in the meeting controls.

Share PowerPoint Slide Show via Zoom

Select your primary monitor then click Share. If you are not sure which monitor is your primary, select the one that PowerPoint opens in.

While sharing your screen, switch PowerPoint to slide show mode by clicking the Slide Show tab > From Beginning or From Current Slide.

Start Slide Show from Beginning or Current slide

Your audience/ meeting participants will see the PowerPoint in slide show view. The green border indicates the screen you are currently sharing – i.e. what the zoom participants are viewing.

Slide Show viewed by Zoom Participants

The presenter's view will appear on your secondary monitor. Use this to view your slide notes and control the presentation.

View slide notes in Presenter View via Zoom

What if I share the wrong screen when presenting on dual monitors with Zoom?

If you are not sharing the correct monitor/ screen, click ‘Display Settings’ at the top of your presenter view screen, then ‘Swap Presenter View and Slide Show’. PowerPoint will switch the monitor that is used for slide show view.

Swap Presenter View and Slide Show view

Alternatively, you can click ‘New Share’ on your screen share controls and select the screen showing the PowerPoint in slide show view.

Using single monitor to share your presentation via zoom

You can share your presentation via zoom either in full screen mode, or by using a window.

Using a Single monitor with slide show in full screen

Open the PowerPoint file you want to present, then start or join the Zoom meeting.
Click ‘Share Screen’ in the meeting controls at the bottom of the Zoom screen.

Share PowerPoint presentation via Zoom

Select your monitor/ screen then click ‘Share’.

Share PowerPoint screen in Zoom

While sharing your screen, switch PowerPoint to slide show mode by clicking the Slide Show tab > From Beginning or From Current Slide.

Start PowerPoint presentation in Presenter view

The green border around your screen indicates the screen you are currently sharing – i.e what your audience is viewing.

Participant view PowerPoint presentation

Using a single monitor to present slide show view in a window

You can us a single monitor to share your PowerPoint presentation in slide show view, but have it contained in a window rather than in full screen mode. This allows you to access meeting features like in-meeting chat or managing participants, or to view other documents/ web pages while sharing your PowerPoint presentation, without your audience seeing.

To present your PowerPoint in slide-show view in a window, open the PowerPoint file you want to present.

Click the Slide Show tab then ‘Set Up Slide Show’.

Set up slide show

Under 'Show type', select 'Browsed by an individual (window)', then click OK.

View PowerPoint Slide Show in presenter view in a Window

Switch PowerPoint to slide show mode by clicking the Slide Show tab, then 'From Beginning' or 'From Current Slide'.

Start PowerPoint Slide Show

PowerPoint will display the presentation in slide show view but in a window.

In Zoom, start or join a meeting.
Click ‘Share Screen’ in the meeting controls.

Share PowerPoint presentation in Zoom

Select the PowerPoint window then click 'Share Screen'.

Share PowerPoint presentation in Window

The green border indicates what is being seen by my meeting participants/ audience. The rest of my screen is not visible to anyone else in the Zoom meeting.

PowerPoint Slide Show in Presenter view in Window via Zoom

How to print PowerPoint with notes

To print your notes in PowerPoint, click ‘File’ on the top ribbon, then select ‘Print’. Under Settings, click ‘Full Page Slides’ to open the drop-down menu.

PowerPoint How to Print Notes

Under Print Layout, select ‘Notes Pages’.

PowerPoint Print Notes Page and PowerPoint handouts example

‘Notes Pages’ print layout produces a PowerPoint handout that prints one slide per page, with speaker notes appearing below the slide. You can view what each print layout looks like via the preview pane.

Once you have entered your other printing preferences, and are ready to print your slides, click the ‘Print’ icon at the top of the ‘Print’ window.

How to save PowerPoint as pdf with notes

To save your PowerPoint presentation with notes as pdf, go to the ‘File’ menu on the top ribbon, then select ‘Print’.

Under ‘Printer’, select ‘Microsoft print to pdf’ from the printer dropdown menu.

PowerPoint save notes pdf

Then, under Settings, click on ‘Full Page Slides’ to open the drop-down menu.
Under Print Layout, select Notes Pages.
‘Notes Pages’ print layout prints one slide per page, with speaker notes appearing below the slide. You can view what each print layout looks like via the preview pane.

PowerPoint save notes PDF with example page

Once you have entered your other printing preferences and are ready to print your slides, click the ‘Print’ icon at the top of the ‘Print’ window.
You will be prompted to save your file. Navigate to the file location where you want to save your PowerPoint with notes as a pdf and hit ‘Save’

PowerPoint save notes PDF example save popup

You can now open the file to view the PowerPoint with notes as a pdf.  

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