Believe it or not, sometimes things go wonky in the world of PowerPoint (gasp!). One particularly frustrating quirk we come across is when the Notes Pages layout gets out of sync. Sometimes the slide, notes and number placeholders change size or move from where you’ve told them to be in the Notes Master. So, we’ve developed a little VBA macro which fixes it for you in a snap.

Learn how to use the Notes Master to print PowerPoint with notes and check out our PowerPoint automation service.

The Notes Master is on the left in the screenshot below. This defines where the three placeholders (slide, notes, slide number) are positioned and what size they should be. However, on the right you can see the Notes Page for one of our slides – it’s not following the master.

Screenshot showing two PowerPoint windows. On the left is the Notes Pages Master and on the right is a Notes Page with the text box and slide number hanging off the slide

Though it’s frustrating, it’s pretty simple to correct. All you need to do is open the Notes Page for your slide by clicking the View tab in PowerPoint followed by Notes View. Once in this view you can rightclick on the Notes Page and choose Notes Layout:

Screenshot of a PowerPoint Notes Page with 'Notes Layout' selected

This gives you the option to Reapply master, for the current slide:

Screenshot of a PowerPoint Notes Page with the Notes Layout pop up window. Reapply master is selected.

And hey presto, all fixed:

Screenshot showing a PowerPoint Notes Page with all the placeholders in the correct position.

But did you spot the gargantuan problem??

It resets the CURRENT slide only! Oh dear. Cue hours of tedious work for those huge presentation projects with tens if not hundreds of slides.

Don’t worry, you can wave RSI goodbye because Captain VBA is here to save the day.

If you’ve never used VBA before, check out our getting started article. If you have used VBA in PowerPoint and you know how to throw some VBA at your presentation, here’s our handy macro for fixing wonky Notes Pages:

Screenshot of VBA to restore notes pages

Just copy paste the VBA below into a code module and run it from PowerPoint by pressing Alt+F8 and double clicking the macro.

Sub RestoreNotesPages()
  Dim oSld As Slide
  Dim oShp As Shape
  Dim lIdx As Long
  On Error Resume Next
  With ActivePresentation
    For Each oSld In .Slides
      With oSld.NotesPage.Shapes
        ' Delete the objects from the notes page in reverse order
        For lIdx = .Count To 1 Step -1
          ' Make a copy of any existing notes pane text
          If .Item(lIdx).PlaceholderFormat.Type = ppPlaceholderBody Then
            If .Item(lIdx).TextFrame.HasText Then
              .Item(lIdx).Delete    ' Delete the text
            End If
          End If
          .Item(lIdx).Delete        ' Delete the placeholder
        ' Recreate the placeholder objects on the notes page
        .AddPlaceholder ppPlaceholderTitle
        .AddPlaceholder ppPlaceholderSlideNumber
      End With
  End With
End Sub

So, there you have it! A big automation time saver that lets you get on with far more interesting presentation tasks than the monotony of manually resetting your notes pages, one slide at a time.

What other tasks you ask? Well, why not add sensational slide transitions or a sleek mobile phone media holder to your next deck? For more PowerPoint design ideas, check out the rest of our blog.

Got something extra you’d like PowerPoint to do?

Check out our PowerPoint automation service which provides you with a custom solution to your specific needs.

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Written by

Jamie Garroch

Principal technical consultant

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  1. Image of Erica Erica says:


    Thank you for the post!

    When I run the VBA the notes master is applied everywhere which is awesome, but all the notes that are there disappear. Am I doing something wrong? Would you be able to double-check the code?



    • Image of Jamie Garroch Jamie Garroch says:

      Thanks for trying this VBA code out Erica. The original code was designed to restore the notes pages before any notes text had been created and we’ve updated it to deal with the use case you’ve described. Thanks for making it better!

  2. Image of Maria Smith-Brown Maria Smith-Brown says:

    Hi Jamie. I ran the Restore Note Pages VB script and noticed that the slide image and note page copy snap to the correct location defined on the Notes Master but instead of a page number on every note page, the placeholder contained the words SlideNumber. Is there a fix?

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