Effective PowerPoint presentations can make a world of difference when it comes to delivering your message and engaging your audience. It’s important to keep the audience’s attention and maintain the pace of the presentation. One way to achieve this is by adding a timer to your presentation. A timer can help make the presentation more dynamic and interactive, for example, you can use a timer to create a countdown clock for a quiz or to encourage audience participation.

In this article, we will explore the various ways to add a timer to your PowerPoint presentations. Additionally, we will provide tips for using timers effectively in PowerPoint presentations, including how to time your slides, keeping your audience engaged, and avoiding common mistakes.

Using Third-Party Timer Tools

If you want more advanced timer functionality, you can use third-party timer tools to create custom timers for your presentation. There are many available, both free and paid. To find the Add-ins, follow the instructions below:

Navigate to the slide where you want to add the countdown timer. Click on “Insert” in the ribbon. Select “Get Add-ins” and then choose a third-party timer tool that suits your needs and download it to your computer.

The recommended timer add-ins include:

PowerPoint timer Add-in recommendations:

  • Timer Pro: This free add-in offers various customisation options, such as choosing the timer’s colour, font and size. With Timer Pro, you can create multiple timers on the same slide, which is especially useful if you have multiple time-sensitive parts in your presentation. Moreover, this add-in lets you customise the sound that plays when the timer runs out, making it easy to stay on track during your presentation, and useful for quizzes!
  • PresentationPoint’s Countdown Timer: PresentationPoint’s Countdown Timer is a paid PowerPoint timer add-in. It offers a variety of customisable timer styles, including digital and analogue timers, and allows you to set the countdown duration, font style and colour scheme. The add-in includes a feature that allows you to automatically start the timer when you switch to the slide that contains it, and stop it when you switch to the next slide.

Adding a Timer Shape

A timer shape is a custom-made shape that can be inserted into a PowerPoint slide to visually display a timer. This can be a bar or even a clock face, and is a way to add a timer without having to install an add-in.

First, add your desired shape to the slide. As mentioned, rectangle works well as a visual indicator of how long is left.

Select the shape and then go to the Animations tab. Next, choose Add Animation and choose the ‘Fly Out’ animation within the ‘Exit’ group.

Next, click the ‘Effect Options’ within the Animations tab, where you’ll be able to choose which direction you want your timer to disappear. For example, if it’s a horizontal bar you’d want it to go to the left, and if it’s a vertical bar you’d want it to go to the bottom.

Finally, you need to customise the time it takes for the bar to deplete. Within the Animations Tab, you’ll find timing options to the right hand side. Adjust the duration to your desired timer length, and it will adjust the time it takes for your bar to count down.

Double check that the ‘Start’ cue is on click, meaning the timer will start once you click on the respective slide.

By following these steps, it’s easy to create a simple but effective timer to your slides.

Tips for Using Timers Effectively in PowerPoint Presentations

When adding a timer to your PowerPoint presentation, it’s important to time your slides properly and rehearse your presentation beforehand. Timing your slides can help you pace your presentation effectively, so you know how to adjust your timers accordingly.

Adding a timer to your PowerPoint can help to keep your presentation moving at a steady pace. However, if you have a long presentation then it’s likely that a timer will exasperate your audience right from the beginning.

One way to use timers effectively is to set reasonable time limits for each section of your presentation. For example, you might allocate 5 minutes for your introduction, 10 minutes for your main points, and 5 minutes for your conclusion. This can help you stay on track and make sure that you cover all the important points without going over time. This is especially useful for sections of a presentation that requires audience participation, such as questions and answers.


While a relatively simple function, adding timers to your PowerPoint presentations can bring numerous benefits to your audience, your content and your overall delivery. By providing a clear and visual countdown or duration of each slide, you can improve the flow of your presentation. Additionally, using timers can help you stick to your allocated time frame and prevent you from rushing or extending your presentation.

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