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powerpoint iconIf you don’t find a solution, post a question in the PowerPoint Forum. Please be sure to mention the Mac OS and PowerPoint version you’re using and give as full a description of the symptoms as you can.

Troubleshooting Basics

FAQs for 2011

  1. Will macros be enabled or customized shortcut keys be a feature?

1)  Will macros be enabled or customized shortcut keys be a feature?

VBA macros are back in PowerPoint 2011. And you can create keyboard shortcuts for any application using Mac OS X’s System Preferences (in fact, this method is now suggested and described in detail in PowerPoint 2011’s help system).

FAQs for older versions

These faqs were previously hosted on The PowerPoint FAQ – PowerPoint Help.

  1. General troubleshooting suggestions for Office
  2. QuickTime Movies don’t play well in PowerPoint 2004
  3. PowerPoint crashes / complains about missing fonts
  4. Certain presentations crash PowerPoint 98 and 2001
  5. How do I recover corrupt or unreadable PowerPoint presentations?
  6. Avoiding “Converting Metafile” dialogs in PowerPoint Mac
  7. Error: “Memory was too full to draw everything…” or Red X in PowerPoint 98/2001 Mac
  8. Animations don’t work in PowerPoint X after updating to Jaguar
  9. Presentations lose animations in Mac PowerPoint X / Windows PowerPoint 2000 and previous
  10. I can’t import Windows Media Files into my presentation
  11. PowerPoint X / 2004 crashes on startup
  12. PowerPoint Viewer for Mac keeps insisting on being reinstalled
  13. Notes no longer match slides
  14. MPEG movies unreliable – don’t always play
  15. When I select a font, PowerPoint uses a different font
  16. Can’t edit data in Microsoft Graph

Contributed by Mickey Stevens, Jim Gordon along the other Mac Office MVPs

(1) General Troubleshooting: If PowerPoint or any of your other Office apps starts acting up, start with John McGimpsey’s General troubleshooting for MacOffice v.X

(2) Problem: QuickTime movies inserted into PowerPoint presentations do not play as smoothly in PowerPoint 2004 as one would expect. This is a known issue that is being investigated by Microsoft.


The latest updates for PowerPoint 2004 have improved performance somewhat. It may also help to decrease the movie size:

  • Click the movie to select it
  • From the main menu, choose Format, Picture …
  • Click the Size tab
  • In the “Scale” area, put a checkmark next to “Best scale for slide show”
  • Next to “Resolution” select the resolution at which you’ll display the presentation*
  • Click OK

* The resolution your computer’s Display Preferences are set to or the resolution your video projector runs at. 1024 x 768 is a common choice.

(3) Problem: When opening PowerPoint, it complains that a font is missing (the message is “The M S XXXXX… Font is unavailable on your computer, so PowerPoint substituted another font”) XXXX is the name of the font, and will probably appear as gibberish characters. or PowerPoint may crash when opening presentations.


  • There are seven fonts that are required for PowerPoint 2004 to run properly. They are:
  • Arial
  • MS PGothic
  • PMingLiu
  • Gulim
  • Simun
  • Lucida Grande
  • Hiragino Kaku Gothic Pro W3 [the filename isn’t in English, but it’s included with OS X]

You will get the error that a font is missing if any of these are removed. The obvious solution is to restore these fonts from OS X & the Office 2004 CD.

Note that in Office 2004 SP2 (11.2.0), the issue has been made less severe because there is now a “Do not show this dialog again” option in the missing fonts dialog, so that users are not forced to click through several of them each time a presentation is opened.

See this Knowledge Base article for other information

Another description of the problem from a user who solved it

Wolfram, a PPT user in Munich, wrote: I had the same problem with a German OS 10.3.5. It was specific to PowerPoint and it appeared after installing Service Pack 11.1.0. Before that PowerPoint 11.0.0 worked well. Reinstalling did not help. Apparently PowerPoint could not find 5 Asian fonts, since I had to kill 5 alert windows at PowerPoint start-up. I compared my System > Library > Fonts with another machine, where 11.1.0 works and found 8 Asian fonts, that were not installed on my machine:

Since the system folder cannot be changed, I copied them to my User, Library, Fonts folder and the problem was gone. After writing the solution below I went to the Apple font manager menu and found three new Asian fonts listed:

  • Hiragino Kaku Gothic Pro
  • Hiraginu Maru Gothic Pro
  • Hiraginu Mincho Pro

You may deactivate the last two. If you deactivate the first, the problem will return.

(4) Problem: Certain presentations created on newer versions of PowerPoint (2002 and later) crash PowerPoint 98 and 2001.

CauseThere is a bug in the release versions of PowerPoint 98 and 2001 that cause them to crash when they encounter presentations with multiple masters.


Download and install the latest updates for PowerPoint. If applying the update doesn’t cure the problem, then the multiple masters bug isn’t responsible. Be sure to check out the procedure for Recovering a Corrupt or Unreadable Presentation.

(5) Problem PowerPoint can’t open my presentation. I get messages about it being corrupt or unreadable.

Solution or Workaround

First, be sure you’ve updated your copy of PowerPoint to the most recent version. That can solve many problems, including the inability to open some PPT files.

See this MS support article for Mac-specific suggestions.

Also check out the Windows-specific page here on the PPT FAQ for other suggestions that may help.

If you use PowerPoint 98 or 2001, also see Certain presentations crash PowerPoint 98 and 2001

(6) Problem Windows PowerPoint presentations that contain graphs or certain images may cause Converting Metafile dialogs to pop up upon opening on the Mac. How can this be avoided so that the presentations open more quickly?


This will often happen with presentations containing graphs. It happens because PowerPoint for Windows embeds graphs differently than the way PowerPoint for Mac does it.

Mac pastes graphs as Excel objects.

PowerPoint for Windows pastes/inserts graphs as embedded OLE (Object Linking & Embedding) objects. The graph data is there, but what you see on the slide is a Windows Metafile image of the graph. Windows Metafiles are fine for Windows, but PowerPoint for Mac can’t display them directly. It needs to convert the graph in order to display its image on the slide.

There is, fortunately, a way to get around the problem. While on the PC (or on the Mac), open the problematic presentation and find all of the graphs.

Right-click (Control-click on the Mac) each graph, and select Grouping, Ungroup, which converts the graph to PowerPoint shapes on most occasions. With XP and up, this only removes the OLE link from each object, and leaves the Windows Metafile image. With XP and newer versions (and possibly other configurations), you need to ungroup it once again to convert the graph to PowerPoint shapes, then choose Grouping, Regroup. In any case, if you have the option to ungroup, continue doing so and then Regroup. Otherwise, the one Ungroup command should create a collection of PowerPoint shapes, at which point you can select Grouping, Group.

Warning: this detaches the graph from the original spreadsheet, so you can no longer edit the graph from within PowerPoint.

The same technique works for other OLE content (which might be images, Word tables, Excel spreadsheets or just about anything you can copy and paste from other applications in Windows). Right-click (Control-click on Mac) each one and try to Ungroup. A normal image won’t allow ungrouping, but most OLE content will, so when you find one that gives you that option, ungroup. Again, especially if you are in XP or a newer version, you want to keep ungrouping until the image turns into a collection of selected PowerPoint shapes, then Regroup (or Group if that’s greyed out) once.

Repeat the process for every non-PowerPoint shape that allows ungrouping.

After that, save the presentation, and you shouldn’t see those dialogs any longer.


PowerPoint MVP John Reiher explains that an XL object on a slide does have some information and PPT treats it like an embedded OLE object. But what you see on the slide is a bona fide windows metafile image of the worksheet. A complex one to boot, and it takes a while to convert.

As for other metafiles, if you copy and paste a bitmap picture onto a slide, the image is pasted as a metafile, with a bitmap inside.

(7) Problem You get a “Memory was too full” error when PowerPoint tries to display a page or you see Red X icons where graphics or charts should be.


Usually this is a symptom of insufficient memory allocation to PowerPoint. Fortunately, this problem no longer exists in PowerPoint X since OS X has dynamic memory allocation. This problem is quite easy to fix if you have an adequate amount of RAM on your computer. First, locate the Microsoft Office folder, then click on the “Microsoft PowerPoint” application icon. Go to File > Get Info > Memory. Change the “Preferred” size to at least 20000K (about 20 MB). You can allocate even more for better performance if you have lots of RAM.


PowerPoint displays the Red X icon when it can’t display a graphic for some reason. See RED X instead of graphics for more information (from a Windows point of view). The red X is PowerPoint’s way of telling you “I can’t display this graphic”. Unfortunately, it doesn’t tell you why. Or at times it gives you misleading information.

(8) Problem: Animations don’t appear properly in PowerPoint X.


Download and run the latest Apple combo updater. A combo updater can be applied over the same version. Running the combo updater overwrites potentially problem-causing files. Then apply the latest Office X updates available on: Mactopia Downloads If you continue having problems, go to PowerPoint -> Preferences. Under the “View” tab, toggle the option to “Enable Quartz Text Smoothing”.

(9) Presentations lose animations in Mac PowerPoint X / Windows PowerPoint 2000 and previous

PowerPoint 2002/XP (Windows), PowerPoint 2003 (Windows), and PowerPoint 2004 (Mac) use an entirely new animation system. Don’t use the new animations if you plan to view the presentation in any older version of PowerPoint for Windows or Mac. If you know your Windows PowerPoint 2002 or 2003 presentation will be shown in any earlier version of PowerPoint on Windows or PowerPoint on Mac (X or earlier), choose Tools, Options from the menu bar, click the Edit tab, then put a checkmark in each of the three boxes listed under “Disable new features”. That way you won’t be able to accidentally use any features that won’t work in other versions. Using the Compatibility Report feature in PowerPoint 2004 (Tools, Compatibility Report) will allow you to optimize your presentation for whatever version of PowerPoint the other computer is running.

(10) I can’t import Windows Media Files into my presentation

PowerPoint for Mac does not support viewing Windows Media files within the presentation. Only the following file types are supported:


  • QuickTime (QT, MOV)
  • QuickTime VR (QTVR)
  • MPEG (MPG)
  • Video for Windows (AVI)


  • Audio Interchange File Format (AIF, AIFF, AIFC)
  • Apple QuickTime Movie Sound (MOV, MOOV)
  • Apple System Sound (SFIL)
  • Apple System Resource Sound (RSRC, rsrc)
  • CCITT A-Law (European Telephony) Audio Format (ALAW)
  • CCITT U-Law (US Telephony) Audio Format (AU, SND, ULAW)
  • Microsoft Windows Waveform (WAVE, WAV)
  • MPEG Layer 3 Audio (MP3)
  • Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI, MID, KAR)

You’ll need to convert your file to one of those four formats to embed the file directly into the slide.

As an alternative, you could link to a Windows Media file (Insert, Hyperlink), assuming you have the Windows Media Player installed and that the file works. Be warned that Windows Media Player for Mac does not support the new Windows Media 9 codecs, so not all files will play…ensure the file plays in Windows Media Player before linking to it in a presentation.

You can find out more about Windows Media Player for Mac and find download links here


(11) PowerPoint X / 2004 crashes on startup

Apply the latest Office updates, available at Mactopia

Try repairing privileges.

For OS 10.2+:

  1. Go to Macintosh HD/Applications/Utilities.
  2. Open up Disk Utility.
  3. Select your hard disk, then click the First Aid tab.
  4. Click the button to “Repair Disk Permissions”.

For OS 10.1.5:

Download the Repair Privileges utility, free from Apple, and run it.

Run Disk First Aid.
Run Disk First Aid. Instructions on how to run it in OS X are located on the Apple Knowledge Base.

You should be able to run it from a Safe Boot or from starting off of the OS X CD, but if you cannot, you can run FSCK manually (instructions are on the page).

Also delete the following files:Office X:

  • ~/Library/Preferences/
  • ~/Library/Preferences/Microsoft/PowerPoint Settings (10)
  • ~/Library/Preferences/Microsoft/PowerPoint Temp

Office 2004:

  • ~/Library/Preferences/Microsoft/
  • ~/Library/Preferences/Microsoft/PowerPoint Temp

If that doesn’t help, re-install Office X:

  1. Insert the Office X CD, then open the Value Pack.
  2. Open the Value Pack Installer.
  3. Check “Remove Office”, then install.
  4. Run the “Remove Office” utility.
  5. When done, re-install Office X from the CD, then re-apply the latest Office X updates: Microsoft Office v. X for Mac 10.1.9 Update

Or, re-install Office 2004:

  1. Launch the Remove Office tool, located in HD/Applications/Microsoft Office 2004/Additional Tools/Remove Office.
  2. Press the “Continue” button to locate currently installed copies of Office.
  3. Select the version(s) of Office that you want to remove, and press the “Continue” button.
  4. Choose what components you wish to remove. For a complete removal, choose to “Remove the Office 2004 folder,” “Remove the selected Office 2004 system files,” and “Preferences.”
  5. When the removal is complete, you can then re-install Office 2004 from the CD.
  6. Then, run Microsoft AutoUpdate (in the Applications folder) to download and install the latest updates.

If that doesn’t help, you could have corrupt fonts. Take a look at this article on the Microsoft Knowledgebase



(12) Problem: Every time you start PowerPoint Viewer for Mac, it attempts to reinstall itself. Or Internet Explorer 5 keeps trying to install itself when you start it. This is a known issue with the interaction between Internet Explorer 5 and the PowerPoint Viewer.

They interfere with one aother’s files, forcing the First Run Installation (FRI) to be triggered.

The only workaround is to not use Internet Explorer 5 and the PowerPoint Viewer on the same machine. If that’s unacceptable, then you just have to live with the frequent triggering of FRI for IE and/or the PowerPoint Viewer. Since both programs are already installed, it’s likely that you can cancel the request to reinstall, but we’ve no way of testing this here at PPT FAQ Central. If you try this, would you let us know how it works out? Thanks!

(13) Notes no longer match slides

If you save your presentation as HTML, later find that your notes pages are no longer “synched” with your slides. This is most likely to happen after you’ve rearranged slides in the slide sorter view. This is a known problem in PowerPoint 2001.

Workaround: After you’ve rearranged your slides

  1. Save as a “PowerPoint 4.0 Presentation) file
  2. Close the presentation
  3. Open up the PowerPoint 4.0 Presentation file
  4. Save as a “Microsoft PowerPoint document” file
  5. Now save as web page (Notes should now synch with the slides in the browser)

Of course, any PowerPoint 2001 specific features will be lost when saved in the 4.0 file format (exit animations, QuickTime transitions, etc) but those are probably not so important if you’re saving in HTML format since those features are not supported in HTML format either.

(Thanks to the man behind the man behind the curtain for this one!)

(14) MPEG movies unreliable – don’t always play

If you run into unreliable MPEG playback on a laptop, check your power settings.If they’re set to conserve power, change them to better performance.(Thanks to PPT newsgroup member Kim for this tip!)

(15)When I select a font, PowerPoint uses a different font

Delete the following file:



  • Office X ~/Library/Preferences/Microsoft/Office Font Cache (10)
  • Office 2004 ~/Library/Preferences/Microsoft/Office Font Cache (11)

(16) Can’t edit data in Microsoft Graph


Using PowerPoint 2004, You can’t edit the data in a Microsoft Graph object in your PowerPoint presentation.


Try this advice from Andrew Chiang [MS]:

Go into your ~/Library/Preferences/Microsoft folder and delete or move (to another location) the two files below.

(By ~, I mean your home directory/folder. )

  • Microsoft Graph Toolbars (11)

Afterwards, try re-inserting your graph and typing in the cells.

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