How to Create a PowerPoint Countdown Timer

A PowerPoint countdown timer is an effective way to display a countdown clock for meeting breaks, interactive exercises, or even the beginning of a speaking, training, or workshop session. Creating a PowerPoint presentation with countdown timer slides is easy or download these PowerPoint countdown timers to use.

Download a PowerPoint Countdown Timer

Want to start using a countdown timer right now? Just choose from a variety of countdown clocks you can download. And, find out how to use these timers. Or read below to find out how to create your own custom PowerPoint countdown timer.

High-tech digital countdown timer (minutes & seconds):

Widescreen (16×9)PowerPoint countdown timer

Standard Screen (4×3)PowerPoint countdown timer

Countdown timer (minutes only):PowerPoint countdown timer

How to use these PowerPoint countdown timer files: These PowerPoint countdown clock presentations are saved with the PowerPoint slide show format (.ppsx) so they can be opened quickly in the slide show view. For easy use, I copy the file to my desktop so I don’t have to navigate to folders to find it. Then, just double-click on the file, and the presentation launches automatically.

Adding a Countdown Timer to Your Presentations

If you want to move directly to the countdown timer while delivering a presentation, copy the countdown timer into your presentation:

  1. Launch PowerPoint and open the primary PowerPoint presentation where you want to add the countdown timer slides.
  2. Next, open the countdown clock presentation file. Because these timer files are saved as PowerPoint shows, you can’t “open” the file by double-clicking on the file name; this action runs the show. Instead, use PowerPoint’s File > Open command and navigate to the location of the file. Or press [Ctrl] + O for Open.
  3. From the Slide Sorter view, select each of the slides in the countdown timer you want to bring into the primary presentation. To select all, press [Ctrl] + A. Or hold down [Ctrl] while selecting slides individually.
  4. Next, copy the selected timer slides by pressing [Ctrl] + C or pick Copy from the Home tab or right-click on a selected slide to pick Copy from the shortcut menu.
  5. Switch to the primary presentation and move to the Slide Sorter view. Move to the location where you want to add the timer.
  6. Paste the timer slides into your PowerPoint presentation by pressing [Ctrl] + V or pick Paste from the Home tab or right-click where you want to insert the selected slides and pick Paste from the shortcut menu.PowerPoint countdown timer-paste options
  7. By default, the copied slides will take on the appearance of the primary PowerPoint presentation. To keep the source formatting and maintain the appearance of the timer slides, look for the Paste Options button. Click on the drop-down arrow and pick Keep Source Formatting.

Changing the Color of Your PowerPoint Countdown Timer

Follow these steps if you’d like to change the color or background of one of these PowerPoint countdown clocks:

  1. Launch PowerPoint and open the countdown timer file you want to change. As detailed above, because these timer files are saved as PowerPoint shows (.ppsx), you can’t “open” the file by double-clicking on the file name; this action runs the show. Instead, use PowerPoint’s File > Open command and navigate to the location of the file. Or press [Ctrl] + O for Open. Save the presentation with a new name before applying new formatting.
  2. Switch to the Slide Sorter view to make it easier to see the slides. If you want to change the color or background of all of the slides, you don’t need to select the slides. If you’ve added the timer slides to a larger presentation, hold down [Ctrl] while selecting slides individually.
  3. Next, move to the Design tab. Although this is likely too dramatic for your timer, one option is to pick a different theme from the Themes group. To change the background color, select Format Background from the Customize group.
  4. To change the color of the numbers of the digital countdown timers, click on the drop-down arrow (More) in the Variants group and choose Colors to select from different theme color combinations. You can even customize your own. Depending on your color choices, you may need to manually change the color of the text in the ending slide.

change colors in a PowerPoint countdown timer

How can you use these PowerPoint countdown timers in your next presentation?

Creating Your Own Countdown Timer

Follow these steps to create your own custom PowerPoint countdown timer to match your corporate template or branding or save time and download a countdown clock.

These how-to steps for creating a PowerPoint countdown clock work in Microsoft PowerPoint 365, 2019, 2016, 2013 or 2010 for Windows.

  1. To begin, create a new presentation in PowerPoint and insert a blank slide. Or insert a blank slide in an existing presentation. Edit the Slide Master or slide design to customize the background as desired.
  2. Choose Insert > Text Box and draw a text box on your slide. Next, type the number ‘1’ or ’01’ or ‘001’ depending on how many digits you want your counter to display. Center the text, change the font style, and increase the font to a large size. Improve your countdown timer by experimenting with slide backgrounds, transitions, animations, font color and style, etc. to create a unique look. Add images or text such as “Minutes Left” or “Seconds Remaining.”
  3. PowerPoint countdown timerTo automatically advance each slide by a set time period, choose Transition tab > Timing group > Advance Slide to apply a slide transition. Set the advance to the desired interval (1 second, 1 minute, etc.).
  4. Now that you have a master slide with the timings set, choose View > Slide Sorter and click the formatted timer slide. Right-click on the slide and left-click on Duplicate (you can also copy and paste the original slide). The Duplicate keyboard shortcut, [Ctrl]+D also works. Repeat as many times as you want to create the sequential slides for the countdown timer.
  5. PowerPoint countdown timerFor each of the consecutive slides, edit the countdown number until the last slide contains the ending countdown number.
  6. Insert a concluding slide with text such as “Finished” or “Time’s Up!” Optionally, add a blank, black slide at the end.
  7. For an easier and more professional display, save your presentation as a PowerPoint Show. Choose File > Save As and change the Save as type to PowerPoint Show. This format automatically launches the slide show without opening PowerPoint. Tip: Copy your show file to the desktop for easy access.

Enhance your presentations and improve your breaks and workshop exercises by adding a PowerPoint countdown timer.

Were these PowerPoint tips helpful? Discover more PowerPoint techniques and shortcuts

By Dawn Bjork, MCT, MOSM, CVP, The Software Pro®
Microsoft Certified Trainer, Productivity Speaker, Certified Virtual Presenter

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