Tips for Solving Common PowerPoint Problems

PowerPoint conundrums solved

A woman presenting a slideshow to people seated around a table

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PowerPoint problems crop up occasionally. Whether you are a beginner or have been using PowerPoint for a while, you may become stumped by some issues. Here are the answers to the most frequently occurring PowerPoint issues.

Instructions in this article apply to PowerPoint 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007; PowerPoint for Microsoft 365, and PowerPoint for Mac.

Cause of Common PowerPoint Problems

There are several reasons you might experience PowerPoint problems, including the following.

  • Lack of planning.
  • Formatting issues.
  • Large file size.
  • Compatibility issues when sharing.

How to Fix Common PowerPoint Problems

There are several problems that you may encounter while creating a PowerPoint presentation. Here's how to fix problems that occur while you're putting your presentation together or share a slideshow.

  1. Make a plan before you create the presentation. Once you get the hang of PowerPoint, you may get the urge to dive right in and start creating slides. Don't waste your time by missing the most important part of every presentation, planning. When planning a slideshow, there are some key questions to ask yourself for a dynamic and consistent presentation.

  2. Embed fonts in the slideshow. While you may have spent hours meticulously formatting your presentation, you discover when you open it on another computer that all the fonts are different and the slides are askew. The culprit is that the new PC you're accessing your presentation on may not have the same fonts as your own computer. To remedy this issue, embed the font into your PowerPoint presentation.

  3. Format fonts to look the same. Your presentation is finally complete but you decide that the fonts you've used aren't suitable for your slideshow. Changing the font on each slide can be tedious especially if you want to change the fonts on all slides. There is a useful feature in PowerPoint called Slide Master that allows you to quickly change all the slides in a few clicks.

  4. Use portrait and landscape slides in the same presentation. Your presentation so far is in landscape mode but you have a slide that would look more appealing in portrait mode. In PowerPoint, you can mix the layout modes with little effort. You'll need to create two separate slideshows for each orientation, then link them.

  5. Keep the presentation file size small. If you add videos, audio files, or large images, your presentation file size can become large and unwieldy. There are several possible ways to reduce PowerPoint file sizes to reduce the size of a PowerPoint presentation. You can reduce the size of your images with several techniques, break down a large presentation into smaller ones, or change the audio format to shrink the size.

  6. Add security to a PowerPoint presentation. If you share a computer with a co-worker or family member and want to secure your PowerPoint presentations, use PowerPoint's built-in security. The encryption feature is handy if you work on a lot of presentations with confidential information and need to keep prying eyes out of your work.

  7. Fix music files that don't play when a presentation is emailed. You created a stunning presentation and the sound plays flawlessly on your computer. Make sure when you send it to your friend or colleague for their review they can hear it, too.

  8. It could possibly be that music or audio wasn't included in the presentation, but if that isn't the case you may want to look at the compatibility of the audio files in your slideshow. By using PowerPoint's Optimize Media Compatibility feature you could eliminate your sound issues quickly.