Use PowerPoint 2007 to work with presentations created in previous versions of PowerPoint

This article is about using Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 to open, edit, and convert presentations that were created in another version of PowerPoint. If you want to save a presentation that you created in Office PowerPoint 2007 in a different file format, see Use PowerPoint 2007 to open or save a presentation in another file format.

In this article


Overview of compatibility mode

Compatibility mode prevents loss of editing functionality and makes it easier to collaborate with people who use versions of PowerPoint earlier than Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007. Loss of functionality can occur when text and objects (object: A table, chart, graphic, equation, or other form of information. Objects created in one application, for example spreadsheets, and linked or embedded in another application are OLE objects.), such as shapes or SmartArt graphics, are converted to pictures or bitmaps (bitmap: A picture made from a series of small dots, much like a piece of graph paper with certain squares filled in to form shapes and lines. When stored as files, bitmaps usually have the extension .bmp.). Or for example, if you have added an animation to text and then that text is converted to an image, the animation will be lost.

Compatibility mode enforces compatibility between Office PowerPoint 2007 and PowerPoint 97–2003 (.ppt) files by suppressing features within PowerPoint 2007 that could potentially add content, such as an effect, that is incompatible with PowerPoint 97–2003 files. Compatibility mode in PowerPoint 2007 ensures that you will be able to open and save PowerPoint 97–2003 files without converting them to PowerPoint 2007 files.

In compatibility mode, you can open, edit, and save PowerPoint 97–2003 presentations, but you won't be able to use all of the new PowerPoint 2007 features. In PowerPoint 2007, compatibility mode is triggered when you do any of the following:

  • Open a file that was saved in PowerPoint 97–2003 (.ppt) format.
  • Convert a PowerPoint 2007 file format to a PowerPoint 97–2003 file format by using Save As.
  • Set PowerPoint 2007 to save all presentations in PowerPoint 97–2003 format.

When you save a PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) file as a PowerPoint 97–2003 presentation (.ppt) file, PowerPoint 2007 automatically runs the Compatibility Checker to identify possible compatibility issues. The Compatibility Checker warns you about any content that may be incompatible with versions of PowerPoint earlier than PowerPoint 2007.

If other people who use previous versions of PowerPoint need to edit or work with your PowerPoint 2007 presentation, stay in compatibility mode. Otherwise, you should convert your presentation to PowerPoint 2007 so that you can use all of the new features available in PowerPoint 2007.

 Note   Although people who use previous versions of PowerPoint (and install the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats) can open PowerPoint 2007 presentations, they may not be able to change some items that were created by using new or enhanced features in PowerPoint 2007. For example, if you use a previous version of PowerPoint to open a PowerPoint 2007 presentation that contains a SmartArt graphic, the SmartArt graphic becomes an image that cannot be edited in the previous version of PowerPoint. To create a PowerPoint 2007 presentation that can be used in a previous version of PowerPoint, you can turn on compatibility mode, so that most commands and features that can cause your content to be incompatible are unavailable.

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Turn compatibility mode on

When you create a new PowerPoint 2007 presentation that will be used in a previous version, you can turn on compatibility mode by saving the file in PowerPoint 97-2003 format.

  1. Open a new presentation.
  2. Click the Microsoft Office ButtonButton image, and then click Save As.
  3. Click PowerPoint 97-2003 Presentation.
  4. In the File name box, type a name for the presentation.
  5. Click Save.

 Important   The features below are not available in PowerPoint 2007, so if you save a PowerPoint 97–2003 file that contains data associated with these features in PowerPoint 2007, the data will be permanently lost:

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Turn compatibility mode off

When you open a presentation that was created in an earlier version of PowerPoint, it is opened in compatibility mode. You can turn off compatibility mode by saving the file in PowerPoint 2007 format.

  1. Open the presentation that was created in an earlier version of PowerPoint.
  2. Click the Microsoft Office ButtonButton image, and then click Save As.
  3. Click PowerPoint Presentation (*.pptx).
  4. In the File name box, type a name for the presentation.
  5. Click Save.

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How to tell if you are in compatibility mode

If you are in compatibility mode:

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Presentation components that behave differently in compatibility mode

The following is a list of presentation components that behave differently or aren't available when you work in compatibility mode.

PowerPoint 2007 component Behavior in compatibility mode
Diagrams Diagrams converted to images cannot be edited unless you convert them to SmartArt graphics or shapes. For more information about converting existing diagrams, see Convert an existing diagram.
Drop shadows Soft, outer shadows are converted to hard shadows that you can edit.
Gradient outlines on shapes or text Unavailable.
Heading and body fonts Heading and body fonts are converted to static formatting. If you then reopen the file in PowerPoint 2007 and use a different style, heading and body fonts do not automatically change.
Levels of indentation Some indentation levels are unavailable.
Multiple columns of text Unavailable.
Shapes in placeholders (placeholders: Boxes with dotted borders that are part of most slide layouts. These boxes hold title and body text or objects such as charts, tables, and pictures.) Unavailable.
Strikethrough and double-strikethrough on text Unavailable.
Symbols Unavailable.
Text effects, such as shadow, reflection, and glow Unavailable.
Themes Some themes cause shapes and placeholders to turn into images.
WordArt Quick Styles Unavailable.

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Convert your presentation to PowerPoint 2007

If you no longer need to work in compatibility mode because people you work with have upgraded to PowerPoint 2007 or you want the full functionality of PowerPoint 2007, you can convert your PowerPoint 97–2003 presentation to a PowerPoint 2007 file. Converting saves the presentation as a PowerPoint 2007 file (.pptx). After the presentation is converted, it is no longer available in the original file format, but you have access to all of the new and enhanced features and functionality that PowerPoint 2007 offers, and the file size is smaller.

 Tip   If you want to keep a copy of the presentation in the original file format, before you convert it, save the presentation with a different name in the previous version file format. When you convert a file, the original file is overwritten.

  1. In PowerPoint 2007, open the presentation that you want to convert to PowerPoint 2007 format.

The presentation automatically opens in compatibility mode.

  1. Click the Microsoft Office ButtonButton image, and then click Convert. If you receive a message about converting presentations, click OK.

If you don't want to see the message about converting presentations again, select the Do not ask me again about converting documents check box.

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Check a PowerPoint 2007 presentation for compatibility with earlier versions of PowerPoint

To ensure that your PowerPoint 2007 presentation does not have compatibility issues that cause reduced functionality or fidelity in earlier versions of PowerPoint, you can run the Compatibility Checker. The Compatibility Checker finds any potential compatibility issues in your presentation and helps you create a report so that you can resolve them.

 Important   When you work on your presentation in compatibility mode in PowerPoint 2007, where the presentation is in PowerPoint 97-2003 file format (.ppt) instead of the new PowerPoint 2007 XML-based file format (.pptx), the Compatibility Checker runs automatically when you save your presentation.

There are two different types of Compatibility Checker messages:

  • The most common type of message informs you that you will lose edit functionality when you open your PowerPoint 2007 presentation in an earlier version of PowerPoint. For example, if you save a PowerPoint 2007 presentation that contains a SmartArt graphic to PowerPoint 97-2003 format, and then open that file in a version of PowerPoint earlier than PowerPoint 2007, the SmartArt graphic changes to a picture. However, if you open the file again in PowerPoint 2007 without editing or resizing the SmartArt graphic picture, you can continue to edit your SmartArt graphic. “In earlier versions of PowerPoint” appears in the message text.
  • The second type of message informs you that you will permanently lose functionality. For example, if you modify the placeholder text on a custom layout, that placeholder text is permanently lost.

For more information about the Compatibility Checker messages, click HelpButton image in the Compatibility Checker dialog box.

Run the Compatibility Checker

  1. Open the presentation that you want to check for compatibility.
  2. Click the Microsoft Office ButtonButton image, point to Prepare, and then click Run Compatibility Checker.

 Note   To check your presentation for compatibility every time that you save it, in the Microsoft Office PowerPoint Compatibility Checker dialog box, select the Check compatibility when saving in PowerPoint 97-2003 formats check box.

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Why is an option or command unavailable?

In most cases, if an option or command is unavailable, this is an indication that you are in compatibility mode. To be certain, confirm that you are in compatibility mode. After you determine that you are in compatibility mode, convert the presentation to a PowerPoint 2007 file, and then the option or command becomes available for you to use.

 Tip   Specific updates and file converters are available on Microsoft Office Online that can help people using PowerPoint 97-2003 to open a PowerPoint 2007 presentation. For more information, see Open a PowerPoint 2007 presentation in an earlier version of PowerPoint.

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Applies to:
PowerPoint 2007