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Check Compatibility in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

Learn how to check compatibility for your presentation in PowerPoint 2010.

Author: Geetesh Bajaj

Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2010
OS: Microsoft Windows XP / Vista / 7

Date Created: September 12th 2012
Last Updated: September 12th 2012

Imagine this scenario: you have created a presentation within PowerPoint 2010 and are ready to share it, but you are still unsure that your client with an earlier version of PowerPoint will be able to view and edit the presentation with the exact options that you have available. And if you save this presentation as a file compatible with an earlier version of PowerPoint, there are chances that you could lose the characteristics that were not available in previous version. Or worse, your editable content could just change to flat, non-editable pictures!

For example, you may want to ensure that you can open your PowerPoint 2010 presentation in an older version such as PowerPoint 2003 or even earlier versions. There are many features that are not functional in older versions -- for example, the shape effects in PowerPoint 2010 (such as reflection and glow) appear as pictures in earlier versions of PowerPoint. And, if a video is embedded (instead of being linked), the video clip will appear as a picture! To avoid these problems, you can run the Compatibility Checker in PowerPoint 2010 which finds potential compatibility issues between PowerPoint 2010 and earlier versions of PowerPoint, and creates a report to help you resolve any issues.

Before we explain further, do note that this Compatibility Checker option in PowerPoint 2010 only checks for compatibility issues with older Windows versions of PowerPoint and has no similar option to check for consistencies with PowerPoint for Mac versions.

Here are some guidelines you must consider before you use the Check Compatibility feature:

  1. PowerPoint 2010 does not support saving to PowerPoint 95 or earlier file formats.
  2. Presentations, templates, and slide shows created in the PowerPoint 2010 file format (.pptx) are compatible with PowerPoint 2007.
  3. When you work on a presentation in compatibility mode, where the presentation is saved in PowerPoint 97-2003 file format instead of the new PowerPoint file format (.pptx), the Compatibility Checker runs automatically when you save your presentation. Also, many commands that would create incompatible content are disabled.

Follow these steps to explore the Check Compatibility feature in PowerPoint 2010:

  1. Launch PowerPoint, and open any existing presentation for which you want to run the Check Compatibility feature. If you made any changes to your slides, do save your presentation before you proceed further.

  2. Access the File menu, and choose the Info option to get to Backstage view, as shown in Figure 1. Thereafter, select the Check for Issues option to bring up a small drop-down menu (see Figure 1 again). From the drop-down menu select the Check Compatibility option, highlighted in red with Figure 1.

    Check Compatibility option selected within the Check for Issues drop-down menu
    Figure 1: Check Compatibility option selected within the Check for Issues drop-down menu

  3. This opens the Microsoft PowerPoint Compatibility Checker dialog box, as shown in Figure 2. It immediately runs a compatibility check displays the summary of the results in the same dialog box, as shown highlighted in blue within Figure 2.

    Microsoft PowerPoint Compatibility Checker dialog box
    Figure 2: Microsoft PowerPoint Compatibility Checker dialog box

    Note: Do you want to check your presentation for compatibility every time you save it in PowerPoint 97-2003 format? To do that, access the the Microsoft PowerPoint Compatibility Checker dialog box, select the Check compatibility when saving in PowerPoint 97-2003 formats check-box, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 2.

  4. Now, review the summary of results in the Compatibility Checker -- for every suggestion you will see the number of occurrences of a given problem -- a Help link below will provide more info on how you can solve this problem.

  5. Click the OK button to close the dialog box and return to the presentation. Make changes as required to make your presentation more compatible -- run the Compatibility Checker again to determine if those issues have been resolved.

  6. Save your presentation often.

See Also:

Check Compatibility in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Toolbox - Compatibility Report Tab in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac


PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences:
PowerPoint 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003

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?

Go and get a copy of our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences E-Book.

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