How to Fix a Red 'X' Picture on a PowerPoint Slide

What to do when a placeholder image appears on your slide

Microsoft PowerPoint allows users to add pictures, photos, clip art, and other images to make their slideshows professional and informative. Sometimes, however, a picture doesn't display properly, showing only a red X on the screen. Here are some causes of this problem and troubleshooting steps to take to fix the issue.

Information in this article applies to PowerPoint for Microsoft 365, PowerPoint 2019, PowerPoint 2016, PowerPoint 2013, PowerPoint 2010, and PowerPoint 2007.

Red X means a picture can't display properly in Microsoft PowerPoint

Causes of the PowerPoint Red X

There are a few reasons why a picture isn't displaying correctly and has been replaced with a red X or a picture placeholder containing a small red X. Because PowerPoint embeds pictures in slides, sometimes users link to the picture to keep the file size down, and things can go awry in the linking process. The picture may have been renamed, moved from its original location, or deleted from your computer.

If the picture requires a graphics filter, PowerPoint may display the red X and indicate that you need to install the filter. You may also receive an error message if the existing graphics import filter is missing, corrupted, or incompatible. A missing PowerPoint update may also be the culprit.

How to Fix the Microsoft PowerPoint Red X Problem

Try the following steps in the order set here to solve the missing PowerPoint picture issue.

  1. Update your Microsoft Office installation. Sometimes if you're not using the latest software version, you'll experience some glitches. Install the latest updates, then see if your pictures display properly.

  2. Save the file to a new location. If you save the file with the same filename, you might make a temporary missing picture problem permanent. Instead, go to File > Save As and save the file to a different location with a different name. Close PowerPoint and reopen the file to see if pictures display correctly.

  3. Find the new location of the picture. If you linked to a picture, the picture file might have been moved to a new location on your computer. Do a quick search to locate the new home of this picture file. Once you do, move the picture file back to its original location or insert the picture onto the slide using the new location.

    If the picture was deleted, download it again and reinsert it into your presentation, or choose another image.

  4. See if a linked web image has been changed or deleted. If you linked to an image on the web that was deleted or changed by the source, either change the image or find the new location of the image on the web.

  5. Email or copy the image with all files intact. If you sent your presentation via email or copied it to another computer on the network, and your picture or clip is linked and not embedded, send the picture or clip files through email with your presentation, or copy the picture or clip files to the same network file folder where the presentation is located.

  6. Turn off the Fast Save option. If your version of PowerPoint (or another Office product) has a Fast Save option, turn it off, as it uses system resources. Go to Tools > Options and disable Fast Save.

  7. Install a graphics filter if prompted. Sometimes a picture or clip requires a graphics filter. If this is the case, you'll see a dialog box prompting you to install a graphics filter to view the picture or clip.

    You may also receive an error message if the existing graphics import filter is missing, corrupted, or incompatible.

  8. Contact Microsoft Office help resources. If all else fails, send an email through the web form to request help with your PowerPoint issue.