How To Add a Countdown Timer to PowerPoint

by Tara DugganUpdated September 28, 2017
Film Countdown at 4 image by Andrew Brown from

If you use PowerPoint to develop your lecture presentations you may want to display a countdown timer to indicate how long an activity such as a break or lab activity should take. Using PowerPoint slides and shapes, create colorful numbers and set the slide transition to automatic to achieve a countdown effect. Alternatively, download a timer presentation from the Microsoft website.

Open a new PowerPoint presentation. Click the "Home" tab, and then click "New Slide" several times until you have enough slides for the countdown timer. For example, if you want to count down from five to zero, in minutes, click the "New Slide" button five times to create five slides.

Select the first blank slide on the navigation pane, and then click "Insert" on the ribbon bar.

Click the "Text Box" button in the "Insert" group, and then select "Text Box." Draw a text box in the center of the slide. Right-click the new text box, and then select the "Format Text Box." Choose a color for the text box.

Click in the center of the text box and type the highest number of your countdown, for example, 5.

Press the "CTRL" and "Shift" keys to increase the font size of your number. Make it large enough so that your audience can easily see it. For example, select the Arial font, and then choose "60" as the size.

Select and highlight the new text box, and then press "Ctrl-C" to copy it to the Clipboard.

Click the next blank slide in the navigation pane. Press "Ctrl-V" to paste the text box in the new slide. Click the text box and enter the next number in the countdown - for example "4."

Click the next blank slide, continue to paste new text boxes and update the countdown numbers until you reach "zero."

Click one of the new slides, and the press "Ctrl-A" to select them all. Click "Transitions" on the ribbon bar.

Click the option labeled "On Mouse Click" in the "Advance Slide" section to remove the check mark from the check box.

Press the "F5" key to run the new presentation and display the countdown timer in real time.

Click the "File" tab on the ribbon bar, select "Save As" and then choose the "PowerPoint Show" option to save the file as a show that runs automatically when clicked from your file folder.


To create a label beneath the countdown number, add a new text box directly beneath it, and then add the text "Minutes Remaining" or another similar directive.


Photo Credits

  • Film Countdown at 4 image by Andrew Brown from

About the Author

Tara Duggan is a Project Management Professional (PMP) specializing in knowledge management and instructional design. For over 25 years she has developed quality training materials for a variety of products and services supporting such companies as Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq and HP. Her freelance work is published on various websites.

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