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Removing Customizations from PCB Files in PowerPoint 2013

Learn how to remove customizations from PowerPoint's PCB files in PowerPoint 2013.


Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2013
OS: Windows 7 and higher

PowerPoint add-ins help in adding new capabilities that can polish your presentation in many ways. But when the time comes to uninstall these add-ins for whatsoever reason, you might be surprised to find their menu customizations still exist! Click those menu extensions and nothing may happen -- but these menu options are still there! In another scenario, you may have customized your PowerPoint menus and toolbars to a large extent -- and may now want to restore everything to a pristine state -- almost like how the interface looked when you first installed PowerPoint.

In either case, it is possible to lose all these customizations. The key to this solution lies in PCB files. So what's a PCB file? Let's learn more.

A PCB file is a PowerPoint Settings file where PowerPoint stores every customization you make within the program interface -- this includes moving toolbars, the appearance of new add-in menus and toolbars, customizing presentations, etc.

Whenever PowerPoint 2013 launches, it looks for this PCB file within a typical location in Windows 7 and 8:


If no PCB file is found, PowerPoint creates a new one! In other words, PowerPoint restores all default. Therefore, this creation of a new PCB file can be put to advantage. So to counter this issue, we need to rename or delete the errant PCB file:

  1. Make sure PowerPoint 2013 is closed. Then navigate to the path mentioned below:


    Substitute <UserName> with the user name set for your computer.
  2. Within this folder, you will find at least one PCB file, as shown in Figure 1 below. If you see more than one PCB file here, that means you have multiple versions of Microsoft Office installed on your system. Refer to Figure 1, again and you will see that we have another file called PPT14.pcb. If you also have this file, please leave that untouched since that pertains to PowerPoint 2010, an older version. The file you need for PowerPoint 2013 will be named PPT15.pcb or similar.

    PCB file location
    Figure 1: PCB file location
  3. Now you can either delete the PCB file or you can rename it with a .bak or another extension. We highly recommend that you rename rather than delete the file! For this example we will rename the file with a .bak extension, as shown in Figure 2 below. You can also always delete the PCB file later once a new PCB is created, and everything seems to be working well

    PCB file renamed
    Figure 2: PCB file renamed

  4. Tip: Always keep a back up copy of your PCB file -- this may come handy when you want to roll back PowerPoint's customizations to an earlier stage.

    Note: Don't try this process while PowerPoint is still open.
  5. Now launch PowerPoint 2013. It might take a while to load since a new PCB file is being created. At this point of time, get back to the original folder that contained the PCB file -- you'll notice that a new PCB file has been created.

See Also:

Removing Customizations from PCB Files in PowerPoint 2016
Removing Customizations from PCB Files in PowerPoint 2010
Removing Customizations from PCB Files in PowerPoint 2007
Removing Customizations from PCB Files in PowerPoint 2003

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts

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Have your ever used keyboard shortcuts and sequences in PowerPoint? Or are you a complete keyboard aficionado? Do you want to learn about some new shortcuts? Or do you want to know if your favorite keyboard shortcuts are documented?

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