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General PowerPoint troubleshooting procedures

You might want to print out this page and keep it handy as you work through these suggestions.

Restart your computer

The first step in troubleshooting any kind of computer problem is to restart the computer. We call this the Jim Hart Glare Method because nobody can glare like Jim. But give it your best shot:

Computers and software are subject to occasional random glitches. Often a restart is all it takes to fix it. And equally often, a restart is the only thing that WILL fix it.

Round-trip it

If the problem seems confined to some but not all presentations but not all, try "round-tripping" a problem presentation to HTML and back.

HTML Round-tripping to repair corruption

Save a back-up copy of your presentation before round-tripping it

Check for updates

Let Office try to repair itself

Still not fixed?

Tell Outlook not to use Word as its editor

If Outlook is running, shut it down, then test in PowerPoint again. If you can't shut Outlook down for some reason, at least disable the option to use Word as your email editor:

Temporarily disable your antivirus program

If PowerPoint crashes, won't open or save files, acts weird, or gives you printing problems, disable your antivirus software completely. It would be wise to disconnect your computer from the network and leave your browser and email program shut down until you restart the antivirus program. At the very least, disable any MS Office-specific virus protection features. These are notorious troublemakers.

Now try it again

Start PowerPoint again. See if the same problem occurs. If it does, set your video hardware acceleration back.
How to set graphics hardware acceleration back

If that fixes the problem, it probably means that you have a bad video driver. Check with the manufacturer of the video board for updated drivers.

Was there an error message from PowerPoint or Windows?

If you see specific error messages from PowerPoint, there's a whole section of the FAQ devoted to these. Check there for the specific message you're getting. Start here: Troubleshooting Tips and Procedures

Google is your friend

If you see an error message, jot down the EXACT text. Then fire up Google and type the EXACT text of the error message into the search text box. As often as not, the information you need to fix the problem will be in the first few links.

If not, try narrowing the search down a bit by putting quotes around the error message, snipping out the most relevant bit and putting quotes around that, and/or adding the word PowerPoint to the search text.

Do you suspect it's an add-in causing the problem?

Using a network?

PowerPoint and networks don't always get along well, particularly non-Microsoft networks.

If you're working with a file on the network, use Windows Explorer to copy it to your local hard drive and work with it from there. Save it locally then copy it back to the network when you're done.

If you're printing to a network printer, install a local printer driver instead. See How to install a local printer driver for more information.

Check the network vendor's site for known issues with PowerPoint. Novell in particular seems to get along badly with PowerPoint. Visit the Novell searchable knowledgebase and search on "PowerPoint" for a list of issues.

If all else fails, reinstall

If nothing else solves the problem, try uninstalling then reinstalling PowerPoint (or Office).
If that doesn't clean things up, try running a registry cleaner after uninstalling and before reinstalling.
For more info on registry cleaners, see Completely uninstall Office - Office Erasers / Registry Cleaners

General Windows or Office Troubleshooting Sites

MVP Hans-Georg Michna's Windows Problem Solver has all sort of useful tips.

Did this solve your problem? If so, please consider supporting the PPT FAQ with a small PayPal donation.
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General PowerPoint troubleshooting procedures
Last update 07 June, 2011