MS PowerPoint

File Compatibility Issues

Using PowerPoint 2003, you can open and edit files created in any version of PowerPoint. In fact, you can freely share presentations you create in PowerPoint 2003 with anyone using PowerPoint 2003, PowerPoint 2000, or PowerPoint 97, because all of these versions use the same file format. Older versions may not be able to take advantage of every feature in PowerPoint 2003 (animated GIFs, for instance, will display as static illustrations in PowerPoint 97), but the file will be unaffected by any changes.

In the unlikely event that you need to share files with someone using PowerPoint 95, you must save them in an alternate format. To do so, choose File, Save As and select PowerPoint 97-2003 & 95 Presentation (*.ppt) in the Save as Type box. When you choose this option, PowerPoint saves two copies of your presentation in the same fileone in PowerPoint 95 format, the other in the standard PowerPoint presentation formatand anyone can open, view, and edit the presentation by using any version of PowerPoint.


When you save a PowerPoint 2002/2003 presentation in PowerPoint 95 format, you lose many components of your presentation. Animated chart elements, hyperlinks, and macros, among other elements, all disappear. In addition, file size usually swells: PowerPoint 95 has comparatively crude picture-compression capabilities.

Creating a Presentation

When you choose File, New, PowerPoint presents you with a familiar task pane that includes a variety of options for creating or opening presentations (see Figure 3).

Figure 3. PowerPoint lets you choose whether you want to open an existing presentation, create a new presentation with or without content, or pull in a template.