PowerPoint is an incredible tool for the modern business person or presenter. If you use it a lot, you’ll quickly master those little tricks and hacks to help you work faster and more creatively.
However, no matter how proficient you are with design, transitions, and themes, do you know what to do if PowerPoint point-blank refuses to work? What do you do if PowerPoint is frozen and keeps crashing?
A glitch-ridden PowerPoint might be a rare occurrence. Still, knowing how to handle a total shut-down from Microsoft’s famed presentation software is a handy string to add to your bow.
From errors caused during the design process, to crashes and freezes that could – heaven forfend – strike during your actual presentation, here are our tips to fixing PowerPoint (or whatever it is that’s causing the issue).
With any luck, the problem why your PowerPoint keeps crashing might have already been fixed. We all hate update notifications, but running out-of-date software can lead to failures and even security issues. So update it!
Make sure you’re running the latest possible version of PowerPoint and try to open your presentation file as usual. If you need to manually download updates, you can do so from Microsoft right here. If there is no longer a problem, awesome. But if PowerPoint just crashed again, it’s time to try something else.
Consider your hardware
You might love your old laptop, a device that has seen you through college and several jobs. However, you need to ask yourself: is it up to the task?
New software develops to take advantage of new technology’s advanced capabilities. Is there a chance that your machine is simply too old and under-powered to smoothly run your excellent presentation file?
Consider the available RAM on your computer, as well as the processing speed and storage capacity. Plus, remember that the older a computer gets, the more prone it is to crashes and glitches.
If you’re concerned it crashed because of your machine, try your PowerPoint file on another, faster device and see what happens. All clear? Oh dear, doesn’t look good for ‘Old Reliable’.
We always recommend you make your PowerPoint presentations as visual as possible. But a .ppt file filled with glorious high-res images and HD video, not to mention all those creative transitions and animations, will probably be big.
A large PowerPoint file choked with needlessly large content might also be the cause of the crashes, so think about saving space wherever you can.
Reducing file sizes within PowerPoint is refreshingly easy. Just select them and click on the Picture Format tab, then Compress Pictures. Select the level of compression you want, but we suggest you go for ‘Web (150ppi)’ as this will save you a lot of space but will ensure it still looks good on screen.
Video content can be compressed in a similar way. In File tab, click Info, and then in the Media Size and Performance section, tap Compress Media. PowerPoint then finds all video content in your file and offers you the choice to compress them to Presentation Quality, Internet Quality or Low Quality. Go for Internet Quality as, again, it looks clear on a screen.
If you’re anything like us, your laptop is more than a work machine. Gaming, streaming Netflix, and other internet-based personal ‘hobbies’ will all take their toll on your computer. Even the most modern and high-powered of laptops will start to experience glitches and crashes once their operation limits are pushed, PowerPoint installed or not.
If your PowerPoint problems persist, check to see what else your computer is currently working on. Shut down all non-essential processes and applications and see if that helps.
Also check that no other programs are accessing media that you’ve copied into your presentation file. Be sure to close down the likes of Photoshop as images you’ve edited for the slideshow could still be open there.
Personalising your presentation software is a useful way of building a unique slide deck. However, all those third-party installed add-ins might be the cause of your frozen PowerPoint issues, so run this simple test.
Navigate to where all the add-ins are listed and uncheck everyone. Now, restart PowerPoint and see what happens. Begin turning the add-ins back on, one by one, restarting after every time. If the problems kick in again after a particular add-in is reactivated, there’s your issue. Try looking into the source of the add-in, if it can be updated, or consider uninstalling it altogether.
If PowerPoint is still experiencing crashes with all add-ins unchecked, time to move on.
PowerPoint is a part of Microsoft’s larger Office suite. Check how the Office programs you have are also running, as the fault may lay there. Open Word, Excel etc and have a fiddle around. Create new documents and save as new files. Are they also crashing in a similar way?
If so, it might be a case of fixing Office. On a Windows PC, close all the apps and navigate to the Control Panel. Find Programs and Features, then find Microsoft Office. Right click on it, select Change, then click on Repair. Restart PowerPoint and check to see if the frozen issue is ongoing.
Hey, Apple Mac users… check out this guide by Microsoft about how you go about fixing Office. It’s a tad more complicated.
Problem still there? What are we to do? Oh, this…
It might seem like the two are very distantly separated, but outdated antivirus software can be trouble for many other applications. Fortunately this has the easiest of fix – update it.
If updates don’t occur automatically, check with whoever you use for antivirus protection to see how you go about that process.
If even with the most up-to-date antivirus software installed PowerPoint is still crashing, try uninstalling it. Make sure you still have either a physical back-up, or the correct product keys to re-download the antivirus, then try opening PowerPoint without it there.
If all is good, contact your virus people and kick up a fuss about your problems. But if the issues are still there, ruining your day, move onto our final step.
You might feel like crying that from the rooftops, especially if your presentation deadline is looming and you still have work to do. But before you climb onto your roof with a megaphone, get in touch with Microsoft.
The Office team can offer a tonne of help and advice and should be able to see you right. Plus, as you’ve done all of the above already, you’ll be able to supply them with a lot of information that could help in working out what the actual problem is.
Then again, you could call us and get one of our expert PowerPoint designers to build you your presentation. Just saying.
Hopefully those tips will be of help if and when PowerPoint ever crashes on you.
We love building our most engaging of slide decks in PowerPoint. But even the best presentation software on the planet will sometimes experience a hiccup or two. Therefore, keep this page bookmarked and drop by regularly for more PowerPoint help and advice.
Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you put together that killer presentation.
From expertly designed slides, to damn-clever PowerPoint development, no one does presentations like we do.