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display date powerpointGood presentations need little touches. With screen real estate at a premium when it comes to Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, you also need to justify design with functionality. One of the little touches I have always found useful as a viewer and an occasional presenter is the display of time and date on a Powerpoint slideshow.

Displaying the current time and date in a PowerPoint presentation is an essential option to select if you are using handouts too. As we will see, it’s also very easy to accomplish.

Another useful addition is using date and time formats according to the culture of the audience you are showing the presentation to. This is a tip to use if you work in a global company. Without counting the seconds, let’s dive straight into the method.

Add the Current Time and Date to a PowerPoint Slide

1. Open your PowerPoint document and got to the View tab on the Ribbon. Choose the Normal view. Select the first slide of the slideshow.

display date powerpoint

2. Click on the Insert tab and go to the Text group. Click on the little Date and Time icon which gives you options to insert the current date and time into the PowerPoint document.


display time powerpoint

3. Clicking on the Date and Time icon opens up the Header and Footer dialog box. Using the two tabs (as in the screenshot) we can add  the date and time values to our main slides as well as the Notes and Handouts we usually print out and give to the audience as reference material.

display time powerpoint

4. The next few steps are pretty simple – choose the date and time format from the dropdown. Selecting a Fixed time acts as a marker that lets you know when the slide was created. It is obviously constant. The Update automatically selection displays a dynamic time that takes the current time from the system clock. The options are the same for the Notes and Handouts tab. (Preferably, don’t show the date and time on the title slide).

display time powerpoint

Remember: Each time you open or print the presentation, PowerPoint will update the time. PowerPoint does not continuously update automatically but only at the start of the slide show.

5. Select Apply to All and you are done.

Add the Current Time and Date According to the Language

1. Choose File – Options – Language. The Options dialog gives you a lineup of additional languages to edit your document.

powerpoint display current date

2. Expand the dropdown for Add additional editing languages and select the language(s) of your choice which you want to use for the date and time. Click on Add.

3. Press OK and exit the PowerPoint file.

4. Reopen the presentation and position your cursor where you wish to insert the date. Take the usual route of selecting the Insert tab and then clicking on the Date and Time button.

5. If you are using something like a text box to insert your date and time, you will get a dialog box like this:

display date powerpoint

If you are adding the date and time as a footer, then the usual box appears. In both cases, select the date and time format, and pick the language from the dropdown. After the Ok, the date and time is entered in the language of the country chosen.

Using the date and time with your PowerPoint slides is a simple final step to follow before you give or distribute a presentation. Do you do so in your presentations?

Image Credit:Shutterstock

  1. Luke
    May 6, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    Using PP2010, the current date is displayed in the top right corner of all print outs. When I check the Header & Footer / Date & Time functions, only the page number is selected on the Slide and Notes & Handouts tab.

    Is there some place else within PP that this is set so I can disable it?

    • Saikat
      May 7, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      You want to disable the date, right?

      Click on the View tab of the ribbon.
      In the Master Views section, click on the Handout Master button.
      In the Placeholders section, remove the check mark from beside Date.
      Click on the Close Master View button.

  2. J.
    April 14, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    Could you tell more why it is useful to have the date update automatically? I would think it is more useful to know when the presentation was made - current date is almost dishonest...

    • Irene Arévalo Jiménez
      July 9, 2015 at 2:23 pm

      Well, in my case, we have a power point presentation that we display at the admissions office of the university I work at. Before, we had to update the date every single day, but now it does it automatically and it also shows the time it is so when visitors come they can look at it and know what date and time it is.
      I probably would never use the current date and time on any other situation, because, like you said, it is more relevant to know when the presentation was actually made.

        December 15, 2016 at 2:55 pm

        Yes, precisely the same situation. PPT runs as display on publicly visible display board and I wish to have accurate date & time on the screen throughout the day.


        Thank you.

  3. Mike
    December 11, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    This doesn't work in Powerpoint 2013. I've done the above countless times, but it always defaults to static time, even though update automatically has been flagged and applied to all - any ideas?

    • JD
      January 28, 2016 at 5:56 pm

      Same problem as Mike.....would appreciate any help.

  4. Saikat Basu
    August 30, 2011 at 2:49 am

    Thanks for the suggestion. These little tips do matter.

  5. AJ
    August 30, 2011 at 12:51 am

    You should use ISO 8601 for international audience, as that format can not be mixed up in any culture when you read it.  ISO 8601 is the international standard format YYYY-MM-DD.

    If you KNOW the culture/nationality of the audience, you might use another format.  But are there any chance of more than one nationality, use ISO 8601 and not any locale adjusted format.

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