powerpoint logo

Constantly glancing at a clock on a wall or at your watch to keep up with the time can be distracting and possibly come off as rude during a presentation. Keep your eyes on the presentation and remain focused by inserting a clock in your presentation.

Inserting a Clock in PowerPoint

There are a couple of ways to go about doing this. The first is using a built-in PowerPoint function that allows you to unobtrusively show the time and date in the presentation. This method isn’t a live method and only updates the time/date once you switch slides during the presentation. It’s mostly handy if you want to keep an eye on the time.

The second method is adding a live clock, downloadable from several different third-party websites. Using this method allows you to show real-time updates during the presentation—not only when you switch slides. It’s probably best used when you want to keep your audience’s eyes on the presentation.

PowerPoint’s Built-in Function

To use PowerPoint’s built-in function, go ahead and open the PowerPoint presentation we will be working with and head over to the “Insert” tab.

Insert Tab

Here, find the “Text” section and select “Date & Time.”

Date and Time

Once selected, the “Header and Footer” window will appear. Here, check the box next to “Date and time” and select “Update automatically.” This will allow the date and time to update each time you change slides. Now, select the arrow next to the displayed date.

update time automatically

This will bring up several different date/time variations for you to choose from. Select the one you like best to use in your presentation. In this example, we’ll use the third option from the bottom, which shows the hour, minute, and second on a 24-hour clock.

date time and second

If you’d like to leave this off of the title slide, simply check the box next to “Don’t show on title slide.” Once you’re ready, click “Apply to all” to insert the clock on all your slides.

apply to all

You’ll now see date/time variation you selected appear at the bottom left of the presentation. The time and date that appears is the same as your system’s clock, so make sure it’s set correctly.

clock shown on slide

Using Online Flash Clocks for PowerPoint

As we said earlier, several different websites provide flash-based clocks that you can use for your presentation. We’ll be using a clock downloaded from Flash-Clocks in this example, but feel free to browse around and find a website you like, as the basic premise for making this work is the same.

Head over to the Flash-Clocks website and make sure to have Adobe Flash Player enabled. Once you’re there, you’ll find a large gallery of different clocks to choose from, ranging from analog to digital, and even antique. Choose the type you’d like to use. We’ll be taking a look at the digital options.

clock gallery

Browse through the large gallery of available clocks and find one you like. Once you find one, click the “HTML Tag Code” link found above the clock.

select clock type

Here, you’ll find the embed code. Highlight and copy everything from http:// through .swf, as shown in the image below.

copy source code

Head over to the address bar, paste the code, and then press “Enter.” If you’re using Chrome, you’ll receive a message telling you that this type of file can harm your computer. Since this is from a trusted website, you’re safe to go ahead and click “Keep.” This will download the .swf (Shockwave Flash Object) file to your computer.

keep file

To insert the file in PowerPoint, simply drag and drop. Similar to when you embed a YouTube video, you will only see a black box at first. That’s fine, as you will see the live clock during the presentation. Go ahead and resize and re-position the clock.

Once you’re happy with its size and position, copy and paste the box in each slide of the presentation.

paste in each slide

Now once you play your presentation, the clock will appear in real-time!

Though this option may stand out a little more, this will allow you to have a real-time display of the current time throughout the entire presentation.

Marshall Gunnell Marshall Gunnell
Marshall Gunnell is a writer with experience in the technology industry. He worked at Synology, a manufacturer of network-attached storage solutions. Marshall also serves as CMO and technical staff writer at StorageReview, providing detailed reviews of storage technology.
Read Full Bio »