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How to repair a broken PowerPoint file


When There's Nothing to Present

If you need to put a high-quality presentation together quickly, which software solution do you use?  You can ask a million people, and 99% of them won't even need to think about it - they'll just tell you to use PowerPoint. The rest might mention OpenOffice (because it's free), Corel Draw (because it's the most advanced), and Keynote (because IT'S FROM APPLE!). But these outlying opinions aren't what you care about right now. In this particular market, Microsoft reigns supreme, and we're all its loyal, grateful vassals. After all, where would we be without Microsoft Office? All hail mankind's shining future: the dark ages.

PowerPoint is an easy-to-use program that lets you create projects of any degree of complexity, from school reports to professional presentations. If you use it properly, it's a simple, yet exceptionally powerful tool with a very wide range of functions - and it's pretty reliable, too. But, unfortunately, no one is safe from data loss. A presentation file can still break for some reason, and then you'll be left wailing and gnashing your teeth because you didn't back it up.

But don't despair - Microsoft has equipped PowerPoint with ways to recover your damaged data. And, if you want to make the process more successful and less of a headache, my advice is not to neglect the latest versions of the program. In Office 98-2003, which still has plenty of devoted users, presentations are saved as *.ppt files. Down with this backwardness, comrades! We're almost two decades into the twenty-first century. Get the latest version of the software! Trust me, it'll make a real difference. You see, damaged *.pptx files, which are supported by Microsoft Office 2007 and above, can be recovered much more easily than their elderly cousins.

Recovering What You've Lost

Okay, so something's wrong with your file. First of all, make sure there isn't anything wrong with the device the presentation is stored on. Using USB sticks or external hard drives can be a bad idea in general, especially on an unfamiliar computer - who knows what might be going on with the voltage or the USB controller? The chance of something going awry is much higher when using external storage. Run a disk check. The standard Windows utility will be fine. If there are any errors, copy the presentation from the damaged device to your main disk and try opening it from there. There's a chance the problem will go away.

If the issue isn't the disk, but rather the *.ppt/.pptx file itself, then it's time to take advantage of PowerPoint's built-in recovery tools.

The modern version of the program will recognize a "broken" document as soon as it's opened. If the damage isn't too severe, it'll suggest a solution right then and there. Double-click the file, wait for the program to load and the Recover dialog box to appear. Did it help? Lucky you! Save your presentation again and take a deep breath.

However, frequently you'll open the file and no such dialog box will appear. In that case, you need to go to PowerPointFileOpen – then, in the window that appears, select the damaged file and click next to the Open button – select Open and recover from the list.

No dice? Microsoft tech support also has a few original solutions up their sleeve - for example, they suggest trying to copy the slides from your damaged file into a new one. To do this, create a blank presentation – click Create slide – Reuse slides – in the column that appears on the right, clickBrowse – File search and select the damaged file. The slides from the damaged presentation should be copied into the new one.

The second method is to try opening the broken file as a template. The sequence of steps is similar to last method: open a blank presentation – in the Design tab, click on the check mark next to Themes – Theme search – and try to import the damaged presentation to PowerPoint in the form of a template.

And, lastly, you can change the file extension of your damaged file from .ppt to .rtf and try your luck using Word. You're bound to lose some data, but it might be better than nothing.


If all your efforts so far have been in vain, it's time to turn to specialized applications and services. Needless to say, you could have gone to the professionals right from the beginning - that's the surest and easiest solution. But, unfortunately, it's not free. However, information is the most valuable resource we have nowadays, so coughing up five or ten bucks to save an important project doesn't seem that unreasonable.

One of the most advanced algorithms for recovering .ppt/.pptx files is the one developed by File Master. You can recover files right on their website: or via the web interface (price: $5 per file). You're only three steps away from victory: on the page, click on the big orange Upload file and start recovery button – select the damaged file on your computer, enter your email address, enter the captcha (this is the hardest partJ), wait – admire the preview, pay $5, and download the results. That's it.

The service will tell you in advance how many pages and objects it's managed to recover, so you won't end up wasting your money. Moreover, if the file's internal architecture is completely wrecked - which is especially common with *.ppt files created using old versions of PowerPoint 98-2003 (oh, the backwardness!) - this smart program will recognize files (pictures, video, audio, electronic tables) embedded in the presentation and save them to a separate folder. This means it shouldn't be too much work for you to put a new presentation together using your recovered files.

If you need a full desktop solution for Windows - which is especially relevant if you have a number of damaged files - then I strongly recommend Recovery Toolbox's signature tool. A “Recovery Toolbox for PowerPoint” ( license costs $27, but you can use it to recover an unlimited number of files, and the confidentiality of your data will be fully guaranteed.

It's a powerful program with a very simple interface. Even your Gram-Gram could figure it out. Seriously, don't worry. It doesn't take any special training - God forbid!

There aren't any tricks or complicated settings. Just open Recovery Toolbox for PowerPoint – select your damaged presentation­ – wait – and save the results. There aren't any stumbling blocks either.

How to recover a PowerPoint presentation

If a Microsoft PowerPoint file won't open and the program's built-in functions can't recover your .pptx/.ppt file, here's what you need to do:

  1. Download Recovery Toolbox for PowerPoint here
  2. Install and run Recovery Toolbox for PowerPoint
  3. Select your damaged file on the first page of the program
  4. Click Next
  5. Wait for the file to be recovered
  6. Click Transfer
  7. Save your recovered presentation in Microsoft PowerPoint

Vlad Brown, USA, Buffalo, WY

Vlad is a professional writer. He has expert knowledge in data recovery with 15 years of experience. He started his career as a journalist by reviewing PC and mobile apps. His current responsibilities are to keep track of users' questions and answer them. 

His current responsibilities are to keep track of users' questions and provide answers to them, write proven manuals, be the website technical support and also run a Youtube channel.

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