Easily add slide numbers to your course so learners can track their progress. Choose from a library of built-in variables and exclude slides that you don’t need to count. Storyline 360 automatically renumbers slides as you edit your project and calculates learners' progress for you.

Watch this introductory video, then check out the details that follow.

Inserting Slide Numbers (and Other Built-In Variables)

First, go to the slide or slide master where you want a slide number to appear. (You can add slide numbers to layers too. However, the numbers won’t change from one layer to another since they belong to the same slide.)

Click inside a text box, shape, caption, or table cell where you want to add a slide number. If you don’t select an existing object, Storyline will create a new text box for you when you click the slide where you want the slide number to display.

Then, use any of the methods described below to add a slide number variable:

Instantly Insert the Current Slide Number

To add a slide number to the current slide, go to the Insert tab on the Storyline ribbon and click the top half of the Slide Number button. (If you didn’t select a text box, click the slide where you want your slide number to appear.) That’s it!

A yellow placeholder with the current slide number appears. (The yellow placeholder won’t show when you preview or publish. If a slide number displays an exclamation point (!) or number sign (#) on the slide stage, click here to find out why.)

Quickly Insert the Most Common Slide Number Variables

If you want to insert a different slide number variable, such as the total number of slides, click the bottom half of the Slide Number button to reveal a drop-down list of the most common slide number placeholders: Slide NumberTotal Slides, or Slides Viewed.

Choose a Variable from the Slide Number Library

But wait, there’s more! If you want another variable that isn’t on the drop-down list, click More and choose a variable from the library, which includes slide numbers, scene numbers, total number of slides, slide titles, and progress percentages.


Menu Order vs. Project Order

By default, slide numbers follow the order of slides as they appear in the player menu.

If you’d prefer to follow the order of slides as they appear in your project file (see Story View), just mark the Project Order radio button on the Insert Slide Number window.

How to Count Question Bank Slides and Quiz Result Slides

Since question bank slides and quiz result slides don’t appear in the player menu by default, they won’t get counted when you use menu order for your slide numbers.

To count question bank slides, switch your slide numbers to project order or show the slides in your player properties.

To count quiz result slides, switch your slide numbers to project order. (Result slides never show in the menu.)


Some variables in the slide number library might be highlighted (as shown below), which means they won’t work on the current slide. They won’t work when the slide is removed from the player menu or excluded from slide counts.

Here’s how to fix them. If the current slide isn't in the player menu, either add it to the menu or switch the slide number to project order. If the current slide is excluded from slide counts, add it back to the slide counts.

Insert a Variable Reference

Since slide numbers are variables, you can also insert them like any other variable reference in Storyline. Go to the Insert tab on the ribbon and click Reference. When the References window opens, click the Built-In tab to see all the built-in variables, then select the one you want.

You can also type a slide number variable in a text object by enclosing it in percent signs—for example, %Project.SlideNumber%. It’ll convert to a yellow placeholder when you click away from the text object.

Working with Slide Numbers on the Slide Stage

Here’s how slide numbers look in Storyline 360, how to format them, and how to switch from one variable to another.

How Slide Numbers Look

Slide numbers are variables, but they look different from other variables on the slide stage. Where other variables appear as the variable name enclosed in percent signs (for example, %FirstName%), slide numbers display their actual values, when possible, in a yellow box or placeholder, making them easier to see and position on the slide. The yellow box only appears on the slide stage; it disappears when you preview or publish the course.

Sometimes, a slide number variable displays an exclamation point (!) or number sign (#) on the slide stage. Here’s why that happens.

Exclamation Point (!)

When a slide number variable displays an exclamation point (!) on the slide stage, you can mouse-over it to see a tooltip that explains why. An exclamation point means the current slide doesn’t exist in the menu or has been excluded from slide counts.

Here’s how to fix it:

If left unfixed, the exclamation point won’t appear when you preview or publish. There will just be a blank space in your course where the slide number would’ve been.

Number Sign (#)

A slide number variable displays a number sign (#) on slide masters and question bank slides since the actual value is unknown.

When you preview or publish, the number sign gets replaced with the actual value.


Why don’t my slide numbers have yellow boxes?

Slide numbers have yellow boxes or placeholders when you’re using modern text, which is the default setting in Storyline 360 projects.

When you use classic text, slide numbers don’t have yellow placeholders, but they work the same way in all other respects. So you can format them and swap them with other slide number variables, as described below. Switch to modern text to see yellow boxes around your slide numbers.


How to Format Slide Numbers

You can format slide number variables like other text in your project. Click a yellow placeholder to select it, then apply the formatting you want—bold, italics, font, size, color, etc.

The yellow placeholders won’t show when you preview or publish. They’re only visible on the slide stage so you can tell which items are variables.

How to Change from One Slide Number Variable to Another

You can quickly determine which variable is behind a slide number by hovering over its yellow placeholder. You’ll see a tooltip that lists the variable name and description.

You can also replace one slide number variable with another and keep your formatting intact (size, color, etc.). Simply right-click the yellow placeholder, scroll to Slide Number, and choose a different variable. In the following example, we’re changing from Total Slides in Project (15) to Total Slides in Scene (5).

If you want to switch from menu order to project order or vice versa, you can do that too. For example, you might switch from Total Slides in Menu to Total Slides in Project. Choose More on the right-click menu shown above, select the order you want, and pick a variable from the drop-down list.

Excluding Slides and Scenes from Slide Counts

Control how your slide numbers are calculated by preventing specific slides and scenes from being counted. For example, you might not want to count introductory slides, lightbox slides, or scenes where you store e-learning resources that learners won’t see.

In Slide View, go to the Insert tab on the Storyline ribbon, click the Slide Number drop-down arrow and choose Exclude Slides. When the Exclude Slides window opens, uncheck the slides and scenes you don’t want to count, then click OK. (All slides are checked by default.)

In the example above, all slides in the first and third scenes are counted, the result slide is excluded in the second scene, and the entire fourth scene is excluded. The totals row at the bottom of the window shows the number of slides you’ve chosen to count (18), the total number of slides in the project file (21), and the number of scenes that’ll be counted (3).

You can collapse and expand scenes, and you can resize the window as needed.

Calculate Progress When Learners View Slides vs. Complete Slides

Storyline calculates progress when learners view slides, and a slide is considered viewed when the timeline starts.

If you want to calculate progress when learners complete slides, you can simulate it by excluding the first slide from your slide counts.


Previewing Slide Numbers

Ribbon Preview

When you preview your course using the Preview button on the Storyline ribbon, slide numbers are counted based on the number of slides you choose to preview. To see all of your slide numbers in context, preview the whole course. If you preview a single slide, the slide number will always be 1. If your course has multiple scenes and you preview only one of them, slide numbers will be based on the number of slides in that scene.

Timeline Preview

When you preview a slide using the play button in the timeline panel, variable names display in place of slide numbers—for example, menuSlideNumber. To see real values for your slide numbers, preview or publish your course.