Notes Master in PowerPoint (Everything You Need to Know!)


There are times when I often forget to talk about every single point that I had planned for when giving a presentation. This is not an uncommon phenomenon. That is exactly when PowerPoint notes can come in handy! But, to leverage the power of notes in PowerPoint, you need to understand the notes master in PowerPoint thoroughly.

The notes master in PowerPoint is a feature that allows you to control the settings of the notes section of PowerPoint. It allows you to change layouts, font size, font type, font style, and much more. To enable the Notes Master in PowerPoint, click on the “View” ribbon and then on “Notes Master”.

Through this article, I am going to talk about how you can use the Notes Master for making presenter notes. I’m also going to share the type of problems you might face in the Notes Master and how you can solve them. Plus, I’ll also provide you with some ninja tips to make this tool helpful for you!

So, let’s get started!

What are Presenter Notes in PowerPoint?

When you are presenting in front of an audience, they will either look at the information written on the presentation slide or listen to what you are saying.

If there is too much information on the presentation slide, it will be hard for the audience to process all the information. This is why presentation design often follows a minimal design style.

But, keeping minimal text on the slide can also be a problem – now your audience needs to pay close attention to what you are saying in order to understand the context of the presentation. While that is great if you want to grab their attention, this also means you need to make sure that you don’t miss out on a point! This is where presenter notes can come in handy.

Presenter Notes, also known as speaker notes, are the key points, important messages, or information in a summarized format on an individual slide. Making the notes handy helps the presenter to deliver his or her message clearly to the audience.

Presenter Notes helps the presenter navigate each slide while providing relevant information for that particular slide.

Think of the presenter Notes as a scratch piece of paper, where you can put all the key messages or important stats so that the audience can understand what you are saying.

You can also use presenter Notes to add more information about your presentation slide’s animations or to add important links and how to navigate through your PowerPoint slides.

What is Notes Master in PowerPoint?

Notes Master is a powerful tool in the Microsoft PowerPoint application that allows you to create, edit, and customize your presenter Notes.

The note Master is located in the “View” tab inside the PowerPoint application. Select the “View” tab. Now choose “Notes Master” from the “Master Views” group. This will open the Notes Master menu.

What Can You Do with Notes Master?

You can use notes master to create, edit, and customize the settings and appearance of your presenter notes in the PowerPoint application.

The notes master also allows you to customize the appearance of your speaker notes when they are printed out.

For instance, you can change the page layout, text format, text color, page orientation of the presenter notes using the Notes Master tool. This truly is a powerful editing tool that gives you complete control over the appearance of your presenter note section.

How to Use Notes Master in PowerPoint?

To use the notes master for your presentation slide, first, you have to open the notes master tool. To do that, follow the steps given below –

Step 1 – Click on the View Tab

The first thing is to open your PowerPoint slides presentation. Once the slide is open in the PowerPoint application, click on the “View” tab located in the menu bar of your PowerPoint application.

Step 2 – Choose Notes Master

Clicking on the “View” tab will open a command window. From there, choose the “Notes Master” from the “Master Views” group. This will open the “Notes Master” menu.

Step 3 – Customize the Notes Master

From the notes master editor menu, you can customize your presenter notes.

To do that, first, check the placeholders that you want to use and uncheck those that you don’t want in your presenter Notes. There are several parameters included in the “Placeholder” group. These are- date, slide image, body, header, page number, and footer.

You can view the changes that you make in the Notes Master preview section (the white section displayed).

You can also change the presenter note page orientation into either landscape or portrait mode. There are also some additional editing tools like text font size, text color, background style, and much more that you can mess around with to make your Notes much more attractive.

Once you are done customizing your presenter notes pages you can close the “Notes Master” menu. To do that, just simply click on the “Close Master View” button located on the Notes Master menu.

How to Print PowerPoint Presentation Notes?

Now that you know how to customize your notes in a PowerPoint presentation, it is time for you to add notes to your slides.

Once you have created your notes in the PowerPoint presentation slides, you can easily print them along with the slides and prepare for giving the presentation even when you are not in front of a computer.

Step 1 – Click on the File Option

To print notes in PowerPoint, click on the “File” tab located in the top left corner of your screen.

Step 2 – Click on Print from the Options on the Left

When the file option is clicked from the menu bar, a new window will be presented. From there, select “Print”. Another window will open as a result.

Step 3 – Choose the “Notes Pages” Print Layout Option

From the new window, choose the “Full Page Slides” located in the “Settings” menu. From there, select “Note Pages” as your print layout. You will see a preview of how your presenter note pages will look like.

Step 4 – Click on Print

If you want to make changes to any other print settings, you can do that too. Once you are done, all you have to do is to click on the “Print” button. And your Notes will be printed.

How to Apply Notes Master to All Slides?

Like other Master tools in the PowerPoint, any changes in the Notes Master command menu will be applied to all the slides in the presentation file. But the Notes Master tool is still undergoing some development and it is still missing some features.

When you are using this tool, sometimes many random things can happen to your note pages. For example, if you change anything in the Notes Master menu, it may not be applied to all slides. And Notes Master has no feature that you can use to apply the changes to all the slides at once. In such a case, you will need to apply Notes Master to individual slides.

This can be quite bothersome and time consuming if there are a lot of slides in the presentation file and you need to check each slide and apply the changes individually. But there is an alternative method that you can use to apply Notes Master to all slides using a Microsoft Visual Basic script.

To use this method, follow the step-by-step guide given below:

Step 1:

First, go to the “Developer” tab located on the top of your screen. The developer menu will open.

Step 2:

From the developer menu, click on the “Visual Basic” option. A new window will open.

Step 3:

From the new window, click on “Insert” located on the top left corner of the screen. From the dropdown menu, select “Module”. An editor window will open.

Step 4:

In the editor window, paste the following Microsoft Visual Basic script:

Sub ApplyMasterToNotes()
    Dim ctl As CommandBarControl
    Dim oSl As Slide
    Set ctl = CommandBars.FindControl(Id:=700)
    ActiveWindow.ViewType = ppViewNotesPage
    If (ctl Is Nothing) Then
        MsgBox "command not available"
        Exit Sub
    End If
    For Each oSl In ActivePresentation.Slides
        ' go to the current slide
        ActiveWindow.View.GotoSlide (oSl.SlideIndex)
        DoEvents
        ' Bring up the dialog
        ctl.Execute
        DoEvents
        ' send it the needed keystrokes
        SendKeys "%r{enter}"
        DoEvents
    Next
End Sub

Step 5:

After pasting the script to the editor window, press “F5” or click on “Run>Run Sub/UserForm” It will take some time to reapply Notes Master to all the slides depending on the number of slides in the presentation file. Once the reapply process is done, you will see that your problem is solved.

Note: This method works on Microsoft PowerPoint version 2007 or above. For some of you, you might notice that the “Developer” tab is missing in your PowerPoint application. In this case, read the following section to enable the developer tab in PowerPoint.

How to Enable the Developer Tab in PowerPoint?

In order to expedite certain processes in PowerPoint, you can always use the visual basic codes through the developer tab just as we showcased in the previous example. But, you often don’t get to see the “Developer” tab by default in PowerPoint.

In fact, I covered this topic of Enabling Developer Tab in PowerPoint in thorough detail a little while ago. Please go through this article as it also includes the process for PowerPoint on Mac!

In case you prefer reading on this page, below is a summarized version of the steps that you need to take to enable the developer tab in PowerPoint.

Step 1: First, click on the “File” tab located in the top left corner of the application. A new window will open.

Step 2: From there, select “Options” located in the bottom left corner of the application.

Step 3: Now from the newly opened window, select the “customize ribbon” option. From there, locate “Customize the ribbon” and under that select “Main Tab.”

Step 4: Now locate the “Developer” tab and make sure that there is a checkmark beside it. Now press “Ok”. Now if you return to your presentation slide, you will notice that the “Developer” tab has been added to your PowerPoint application’s ribbon.

How to Reset Notes Master in PowerPoint?

As mentioned before, Notes Master is still a bit buggy. Sometimes you might see that the size of your note page is not what you set earlier or some texts or graphics in the slide might appear in some weird spots in your presenter Notes. In these circumstances, resetting the Notes Master can solve these problems.

Here’s how to reset notes master in PowerPoint –

  1. Go to the “View” Ribbon.
  2. Select “Notes Master”
  3. Uncheck all options under “Placeholders”
  4. Then, recheck all options under “Placeholders”
  5. Set the “Notes Page Orientation” as Portrait

In case you need visual aids, here’s the step-by-step process with pictures.

Step 1:

Open the presentation slide, go to the “View” tab located on the main ribbon of your PowerPoint application. Select “Notes Master” from there.

Step 2:

Uncheck all the options that are grouped under “Placeholder” and make sure that you check them again. This should reset the Notes Master in the PowerPoint application.

Step 3:

Make sure that the “Notes Page Orientation” of the “Notes Master” is set to “Portrait” as that is the default orientation of the notes master in PowerPoint.

How to Present PowerPoint without Showing Notes?

Presenter Notes will allow you to keep track of the key points and important stats of your presentation. But you need to make sure that your Notes remain hidden while you are presenting in front of an audience. And to do that, follow the steps given below:

Step 1:
First, you will need to connect the projector screen or a second display to your computer. The second display or projector screen will be the one that your audience will be able to see.

Step 2:
Now Open the “Display settings” from the control panel. From there, make your computer monitor your primary display by simply checking the “Make this my main display” option.

Step 3:
Now choose “Extend These Displays” from the display settings window and close it.

Step 4:
Now open your PowerPoint presentation slide and click on the “Slide Show” tab located on the main ribbon of the application.

From there, checkmark the “Use Presenter View” located in the “Monitors” cluster. You will see that the monitors are added on the “Monitors” option.

From there, select the secondary monitor or projector screen as your presentation display.

Step 5:
Now press the slide show icon located on the taskbar of the PowerPoint application.

As a result, the presentation display will only show the slides whereas you will be able to see both the slides and Notes on your computer monitor.

Notes Master vs. Handout Master – What’s the Difference?

Notes Master and handout Master in the Microsoft PowerPoint application are more or less similar when it comes to customization and formatting Notes. However, there are some key differences present between them.

How does Notes Master Compare to Handout Master?

Notes Master tool is designed to create, edit, and customize presenter Notes. The Notes created in the presentation slide can help the speaker to keep track of key points while presenting his or her slides in front of an audience. Typically, each note page contains only one slide.

On the other hand, “Handout Master” is a tool created to make audience handouts. These handouts contain key points from the presentation slide which can help the audience to understand the presenter’s message much more clearly. Handouts usually contain more than one slide per page.

Notes Master or Handout Master – which is better?

The editing options are somewhat similar for both handout Master and Notes Master. However, Notes Master offers more placeholder options to format note pages. And Notes are typically helpful to only the presenter. In this regard, Notes Master is better compared to handout Master.

However, you should use handout Master if and only if you need to include texts and graphics for the audience handouts. But the features and functionality are almost similar for both Notes Master and handout Master. So, even if you only know how to use Notes Master, you will face no problem using the handout Master.

How to Fix Notes Master in PowerPoint?

Notes Master has a lot of bugs. They can be quite bothersome. These bugs can occur randomly. Some of these bugs include changing the note page layout or changing the page size and orientation. In such a case, you will need to troubleshoot Notes Master in PowerPoint.

To fix the page size, follow the steps given below:

Step 1:
Frist, go to the “File” tab and select “Print>Print Properties.” From there, change the paper size to anything other than the “Letter” size. Now click “Ok” and return to your presentation slides.

Step 2:
Follow the same methods explained in step 1 to change the page size. But this time set the page size to “Letter” and press “Ok.”

Step 3:
Now go to the “View” tab and select “Notes Master.”

Step 4:
When you are using the Notes Master, right-click on an empty space of your note page, and from the context menu click on “Notes Master Layout.” A dialogue box will open.

Step 5:
From the dialogue box, uncheck everything and press “Ok.”

Step 6:
Now repeat the process explained in step 4 and step 5. But this time, check all the options in the dialogue box and click “Ok.”

Then close the Notes Master view.

This should fix your problem with note page size problem. But your page layout will still appear a bit messy.

In order to fix the note page layout, follow these steps:

Step 1:
Click on the “View” tab and select “Notes Master.”

Step 2:
Now right-click on an empty space on the note page. This will open a context menu. From there select “Notes Layout>Reapply Master.”

Make sure that you check the “Body” and the “Slide image.” Otherwise, you will lose the note that you made previously in the presentation file. If they are checked by default, leave them as they were and proceed to the next step.

Step 3:
Now press “Ok.” This will fix your note page layout.

Important Note: You will need to apply this method to the note pages individually. Because PowerPoint still doesn’t have the feature to apply Notes Master to all the slides at the same time.

Final Thoughts

After going through the entire article, I hope that you have learned everything there is about making speaker Notes using the Notes Master tool in the PowerPoint application. Put a lot of thoughts into how you can prepare your presenter Notes. This will make the presentation seem much more professional and you will be able to deliver your message clearly.

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