Should you put numbers on your slides? It’s a question that comes up again and again. But you’re in luck because I have the definitive answer for you: “No.” Here are three reasons why not.
Reason #3: Slide numbers take up space
When you use slide numbers, you create a footer area into which nothing else may intrude. This can take up a lot of real estate on a slide; space that might be better used to convey your message.
Reason #2: Slides are not pages
Slide numbering is a holdover from ye olden days of print communication. Page numbers are how readers navigate documents such as books, magazines, and catalogs. (“Please turn to page 35 in your textbooks!”) But except when the slides are being edited, people don’t refer to slide numbers. Even then, they’re not looking at numbers on the slides, they’re looking at the numbering in the thumbnail or slide sorter view. So because slide numbers don’t assist in navigating the deck why use them?
Reason #1: Slide numbers don’t help the audience
If someone in the audience wants you to go back to a certain slide, they don’t say “Could you please go back to slide 45?” They say “Could you please go back to that statistical analysis slide?” Slide numbers don’t help your audience to navigate through your deck.
Slide numbers are space hogs, pointless, and unhelpful. So why use them?
Them’s fightin’ words!
Of course, this is but my humble opinion. If you have used slide numbering to good effect, please comment below!