FIX: PowerPoint file is corrupted and cannot be opened/saved

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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  • PowerPoint presentations can sometimes become corrupted, causing errors when trying to open or close them.
  • If you encounter issues with this, try using Adobe Spark to create your presentations, or try to fix PowerPoint using the methods below.
  • PowerPoint is the go-to application for presentations in almost all businesses, and yours is down, then have a look at our PowerPoint Portal.
  • For even more guides on fixing all the issues surrounding your PC, the Troubleshooting Hub is the place to look.
fix corrupted powerpoint presentation

When you try to open a PowerPoint document and get an error message saying the file is corrupted and cannot be opened/saved, it is a sure indicator that the file you’re trying to open or change is damaged.

Some of the signs that come with a damaged presentation include an error message saying ‘this is not a PowerPoint presentation’, or that PowerPoint program cannot open the file type, or that a part of the file is missing.

Along with those error messages include other types such as invalid page fault, low system resources, general protection fault, and illegal instruction.

To determine whether the presentation is actually damaged or corrupted, try opening it on another computer and see if the unexpected behavior happens on that PC as well, or create a new file in PowerPoint and see if the same behavior persists.

If you cannot open or save the newly created presentation, check for any updates in Office and install them then try the solutions listed below to resolve the problem.

FIX: PowerPoint file is corrupted and cannot be opened/saved

  1. Use Adobe Spark
  2. Perform a clean restart
  3. Repair PowerPoint
  4. Drag the presentation to the PowerPoint program file icon
  5. Insert damaged presentation as slides into a blank presentation
  6. Open the temporary file version of the presentation
  7. Try to open the presentation in PowerPoint Viewer
  8. Run Scandisk on the hard disk drive
  9. Uncheck all options under Protected View
  10. Save the presentation as a Rich Text Format (RTF) file
  11. Manually set component security settings back to the default settings
  12. Use Open and Repair command

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PowerPoint can be a very powerful and effective tool if used to its full potential, but since you’re on this page, it means that your presentation has been corrupted and no longer works.

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1. Perform a clean restart

Here’s how to do this:

  1. Log on using an account that has administrator rights.
  2. Click Start, and type msconfig.exe in the search box, and then press Enter
  3. The System Configuration utility will open
  4. Go to General tab
  5. Click the Selective startup option
  6. Click to clear the Load startup items checkbox. (The Use Original Boot.inicheck box is greyed out)
  7. Go to the Services tab
  8. Click to select the Hide all Microsoft services checkbox
  9. Click Disable all
  10. Check Office performance and then resume the usual startup

2. Repair PowerPoint

control panel repair office

  1. Click Start and type Control Panel
  2. Go to Programs and Features
  3. Select your version of Microsoft Office
  4. Select Change
  5. Do a quick repair first, and an online repair later

Couldn’t repair Office? Check out this guide to sort this out!

3. Drag the presentation to the PowerPoint program file icon

  1. Right-click Start and select Run, then type the following commands based on your MSI version of PowerPoint installed on your computer:
    • MSI version of PowerPoint 2013, type %ProgramFiles%Microsoft Officeoffice15 (PowerPoint 2013 64 bit) or %ProgramFiles(x86)%Microsoft Officeoffice15(PowerPoint 2013 32 bit) > press Enter.
    • PowerPoint 2013 Click-to-Run, type C:Program FilesMicrosoft Office 15rootoffice15 (PowerPoint 2013 64 bit) or C:Program Files(x86)Microsoft Office 15rootoffice15 (PowerPoint 2013 32 bit) > press Enter.
    • MSI version of PowerPoint 2016, type C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft OfficerootOffice16 > press Enter.
    • PowerPoint 2016, type C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficerootOffice16 (PowerPoint 64 bit) or C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft OfficerootOffice16 (PowerPoint 32 bit) > press Enter.
  2. Click OK.
  3. Go to Windows Explorer and locate exe icon
  4. Drag the damaged presentation icon from one window to the Powerpnt.exe icon in the other window. PowerPoint will try to open the presentation, but if it doesn’t, try the next solution.

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4. Insert damaged presentation as slides into a blank presentation

  1. Create a blank presentation
  2. Insert the damaged presentation as slides by clicking Home tab, and select the arrow next to New slides in the Slides group
  3. Click Reuse Slides
  4. In the Reuse Slides task pane, click Browse
  5. Click the damaged presentation
  6. Click Open.
  7. Right-click one of the slides in the Reuse Slides task pane
  8. Click Insert All. If successful, all the slides from the damaged presentation, except the slide master, are inserted into the new presentation.
  9. Click Save (with a new name for the presentation)
  10. Type a new name for the presentation, and then click Save.

You can also apply the damaged presentation as a template if it doesn’t look as you expected it to. To do this:

  1. Go to the File menu
  2. Click Save as
  3. Type a new name for the presentation, and then click Save to create a backup copy of the restored presentation that you can use in case the damaged presentation damages this new one
  4. Under the Design tab, click More in the Themes group
  5. Click Browse for Themes.
  6. Click the damaged presentation, and then click Apply. The slide master of the damaged presentation will replace the new slide master.

If you get unexpected behavior after this, the template may have damaged the presentation. In this case, use the backup copy to re-create the master slide. If the backup copy of the new presentation still is damaged like the original presentation, go to the next solution.

5. Open the temporary file version of the presentation

When you edit a presentation, PowerPoint creates a temporary copy of the file named PPT ####.tmp. where ####represents a random four-digit number, and this temporary file may be located in the same folder as the location to which the presentation is saved, or in the temporary file folder.

To do this:

  1. Rename the file, and then try to open it in PowerPoint
  2. Right-click and select Rename.
  3. Change the old file-name extension from .tmp to .pptx so that the file name resembles the following filenamePPT ####.pptx
  4. Start PowerPoint, go to the Filemenu and click Open.
  5. Go to the folder with the renamed file.
  6. Try opening the file in PowerPoint.

Note: More than one file may correspond to the temporary file that was created the last time that you saved the presentation so open each file to see whether one is the temporary copy of the presentation. If there are none or they have the same corrupt or damaged symptoms, try the next solution.

— RELATED: Fix: PowerPoint not responding in Windows

6. Try to open the presentation in PowerPoint Viewer

To do this, you need to go to the PowerPoint Viewer download webpage. Use the steps below:

  1. Open Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge.
  2. Go to PowerPoint 2010 Viewer Microsoft website
  3. Install PowerPoint Viewer by clicking Download and click Run
  4. Click Download.
  5. Click Run.
  6. Click to select the Click here to accept the Microsoft Software License Terms checkbox, and then click Continue.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Open the damaged presentation in PowerPoint Viewer by clicking Start>All Apps>Microsoft Office PowerPoint Viewer (2007/2010)
  9. Click Accept
  10. Click the damaged presentation and select Open. If it opens in PowerPoint Viewer, then the copy of PowerPoint 2013 or 2016 installed on your PC may be damaged. If you cannot open it, copy the file and paste it on a blank space. If it cannot be copied, it is damaged or resides in a damaged part of the hard disk. If you can copy it, open the copy in PowerPoint 2013 or 2016.

7. Run Scandisk on the hard disk drive

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Right-click the hard disk drive that has the damaged presentation.
  3. Click Properties
  4. Click the Tools
  5. In Error-checking, click Check Now.
  6. Select the Automatically fix file system errors checkbox.
  7. Select the Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors checkbox.
  8. Click Start.

Scandisk may verify that the presentation is cross-linked and may repair it but this doesn’t guarantee that PowerPoint 2013 or 2016 will read the presentation.

8. Uncheck all options under Protected View

  1. Open PowerPoint.
  2. Click on File > Options.
  3. Select Trust Center > Trust center settings.
  4. Select Protected view.
  5. Uncheck all the options under Protected View and click OK.
  6. Restart PowerPoint and try to open the presentation

9. Save the presentation as a Rich Text Format (RTF) file

  1. Open the presentation.
  2. On the File menu, click Save As
  3. Select Other Formats.
  4. In the Save File As Type list, click Outline/RTF(*.rtf).
  5. In the File Name box, type the name that you want to use
  6. Select a location in which to save the presentation, and then click Save.
  7. Close the presentation.

Note: Any graphics, tables, or other text in the original presentation will not be saved in the .rtf file.

Open the .rtf file by clicking File>Open>Files of type list>All Outlines or All Files then click the RTF file saved and click Open. This will recreate the presentation based on the original outline view.

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10. Manually set component security settings back to the default settings

  1. Click Start, type dcomcnfgin the search box
  2. Click dcomcnfg in the Programs
  3. In the navigation pane, expand Component Services
  4. Expand Computers
  5. Right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
  6. Open the Default Properties tab, and then set the following values: Default Authentication Level: Connect; Default Impersonation Level: Identify
  7. Click OK.

11. Use Open and Repair command

  1. Click FileOpen
  2. Go to the location or folder where the presentation is stored. Don’t try to open the file from the Recent section as this won’t go into the Open dialog box
  3. Click Open.
  4. Click the file you want, and then click the arrow next to Open, and click Open and Repair.

Were you able to fix the problem using the above solutions? Let us know in the comments section below.

FAQ: PowerPoint common issues

  • How do I recover a corrupt PowerPoint file?

You can use the Repair feature baked into PowerPoint to repair a corrupted presentation. Follow the steps listed above to resolve this issue.

  • Why can’t I save my PowerPoint file?

Make sure you are saving on a drive/folder where you have write access. If that’s not the case, your presentation might be corrupted and you need to follow the instructions presented in this guide.

  • How do I fix PowerPoint not opening?

Install the latest updates for Microsoft Office and Windows, open PowerPoint in Safe Mode by holding down Ctrl when opening the application. In addition, you can repair Office as described at step 2 of our guide.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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