How to Add Timers to PowerPoint

Updated April 17, 2017

When you have a limited amount of time to give a PowerPoint slide show, it helps to know how long the presentation will take. You can practice your speech and click through the slides manually, or you can let PowerPoint assist you. PowerPoint's rehearsal feature allows you add timers to your slides. By setting these up before your presentation, you can concentrate on your delivery while PowerPoint manages the slide show.

Open PowerPoint. A default slide will appear.

Click the slide and type "Slide 1."

Press "Ctrl" and "M" to add a new slide. Click the slide and type "Slide 2."

Press "Ctrl" and "M" a final time to add a new slide. Click the slide and type "Slide 3."

Gather your presentation notes and prepare to rehearse your presentation.

Click the "Slide Show" tab at the top of the window and select "Rehearse Timings." The slide show will begin, and a timer will appear at the top of the screen. This timer displays seconds as time elapses.

Read the presentation notes out loud that apply to the first slide. Do not rush. Speak as you normally would during the real presentation. As you speak, PowerPoint will record how long it takes for you to discuss the slide.

Click the "Next" button when you are ready to move to the next slide. The next slide will appear, and the timer will begin counting from zero.

Give the presentation notes that apply to that slide. Click the slide when finished and repeat the process for the last slide.

Click the final slide when you are done. PowerPoint will open a pop-up window that displays the elapsed time for the slide show. Click "Yes" to keep the timings, or click "No" to cancel and start over.

Press "F5." The presentation will play automatically. The timers will display each slide according to the duration that you set during rehearsal.


As you are setting up the timers, you can click "Pause" if you need to pause the current slide. Click "Resume Recording" to continue where you left off. If you make a mistake on a slide, click "Repeat," and then click "Resume Recording." The timer will start counting from zero for the current slide. When you are done, continue to rehearse your presentation and follow along as PowerPoint advances the slide show automatically. Strive to give the real presentation exactly as you did when you set up the timers. This will insure that the slides advance in unison with your spoken presentation. If you decide not to use the timers, click "Slide Show" and remove the check-mark from the "Use Timings" check-box.

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After majoring in physics, Kevin Lee began writing professionally in 1989 when, as a software developer, he also created technical articles for the Johnson Space Center. Today this urban Texas cowboy continues to crank out high-quality software as well as non-technical articles covering a multitude of diverse topics ranging from gaming to current affairs.