Microsoft PowerPoint Logo

Adding speaker notes to a PowerPoint presentation provides reference material for the speaker when they’re presenting a slideshow, allowing them to stay on track without forgetting key message points. Here’s how to add and use speaker notes.

Add Speaker Notes in PowerPoint

To add speaker notes in PowerPoint, you’ll first need to be in the Normal view. If you’re not already there, you can switch to Normal view by going to the “View” tab and then selecting “Normal” in the “Presentation Views” group.

Normal Presesntation View

Next, in the pane on left, select the slide where you’d like to add speaker notes.

Select slide to add notes in pane

Next, click the “Notes” button at the bottom of the window.

Notes button

A small box reading “Tap to Add Notes” will appear beneath the slide. For Mac users, this will say “Click to Add Notes.”

Tap to add notes

Now, simply type the speaker notes for that slide. Repeat this process for each slide you’d like to add notes to.

Use Speaker Notes During a PowerPoint Presentation

There are two ways to use speaker notes during a presentation: by presenting on a secondary monitor or by printing out the speaker notes.

Using a Secondary Monitor

It’s safe to assume that most presentations will be presented on a secondary monitor. If this is the case for you, there’s not a whole lot you really need to do.

RELATED: How to Add an Extra Monitor to Your Laptop

The first thing you need to do is change the view to Slide Show. You can do this by selecting the Slide Show icon at the bottom-right corner of the window.

Slideshow view

In this view, the audience will see only the slides as you’re going through the presentation. However, on your primary monitor, you’ll see the current slide, a preview of the upcoming slide, and your speaker notes for the current slide.

Speaker notes

This is a convenient way to have a virtual copy of the speaker notes while you’re giving a presentation, but it never hurts to have a hard copy.

Printing the Speaker Notes

To print the speaker notes of your presentation, first select the “File” tab in the Ribbon.

Select file tab

RELATED: How to Print Multiple PowerPoint Slides to Each Piece of Paper

In the pane on left, select the “Print” button.

Select Print in the pane on left

In the “Settings” group, select the option that says “Full Page Slides.”

Full page slides

A drop-down menu will appear. Here, select “Notes Pages” in the “Print Layout” group.

Notes Pages

Finally, click “Print.”

Print

You’ll now have a physical copy of your speaker notes.

Marshall Gunnell Marshall Gunnell
Marshall Gunnell is a writer with experience in the data storage industry. He worked at Synology, and most recently as CMO and technical staff writer at StorageReview. He's currently an API/Software Technical Writer at LINE Corporation in Tokyo, Japan.
Read Full Bio »

The above article may contain affiliate links, which help support How-To Geek.