By: Geetesh Bajaj
Also thanks to April Spence and Mickey Stevens for helping me with this page.
Date Created: August 2nd 2008
Last Updated: March 3rd 2009
Tip: You can now post questions and provide responses online using a web browser -- this link goes to the PowerPoint ewsgroup.
If you have questions about nearly anything, there are places on the internet where you can find answers. They're called newsgroups, and there are literally thousands of them, each devoted to a particular subject. The PowerPoint newsgroup is particularly active and well-attended by knowledgeable PowerPoint users and PowerPoint MVPs.
Newsgroups are a kind of virtual "room" where anyone with a question can ask it and anyone with an answer can reply. Everyone benefits from the knowledge that others share.
The PowerPoint Newsgroup is a generic name given to the PowerPoint newsgroup on Microsoft's news servers. Actually, there are two PowerPoint newsgroups: one each dedicated to the Windows and the Macintosh problems. If your newsgroup program (such as Microsoft Outlook Express or Windows Live Mail) is already configured, clicking on the links below is all you need to do to access the newsgroups.
If the links above do not work, here's how to set up Microsoft Outlook Express to read the PowerPoint newsgroups. Setting up other mail and newsreading software is similar. Netscape and some other web browsers may also be able to read newsgroups.
- Start Outlook Express and choose Tools | Accounts.
- Click the Add button to activate a flyout menu. Choose the
News option within this flyout menu.
- This will open a series of wizard screens. Type your name in
the first of these screens and click Next.
- The next screen asks you for your email address. It's a good
idea to include some anti-spam measures while entering your email
address. For example, you might want to type mynameREMOVESPAM@server.com
or mynameREMOVECAPS@server.com, so that automatic spam-harvesters
cannot reap your actual mail address. Click Next.
- In the Internet News Server Name field, type "msnews.microsoft.com" without
the quotes. Remember not to place a check mark next to "My
news server requires me to log in". Click Next.
- When prompted, click the Finish button. Then click the Close
- Outlook Express will prompt you with "Would you like to
download newsgroups from the news account you added?". Choose
Yes. Since Microsoft's news servers host a large number of newsgroups,
this might take a while.
Sometimes, you may also get a warning that the server was not found. In that case, make sure you are connected online before you attempt to access the newsgroups. Also, verify exact wording to ensure that one or more of the setting options are not incorrect. Please check the server name (msnews.microsoft.com) and other appropriate settings.
Kathy Jacobs, PowerPoint MVP suggests "...if you are behind a firewall and are fairly sure everything else is set up right, check with your system admin to see if your firewall allows newsgroup access". Thanks Kathy.
Gaurav Khanna, .NET/C# MVP suggests ProxyCap as a tool that allows newgroup access even if its restricted. Thanks Gaurav.
- You'll next be presented the Newsgroup Subscriptions dialog
box - you'll want to choose microsoft.public.powerpoint if you
are using PowerPoint for Windows. Mac users may want to choose
microsoft.public.mac.office.microsoft - apart from these two
newsgroups, you'll find many other PowerPoint newsgroups that
cater to a particular language version of PowerPoint, such as
French, Italian, Japanese, Hebrew, etc. Choose the ones you want
to subscribe to.
Tip: Typing "powerpoint" without the quotes in the Display newsgroups which contain box will allow you to view only the PowerPoint newsgroups.
- Choose the newsgroup you want to subscribe within the list
and click the Subscribe button. Click OK.
- You'll find a listing called msnews.microsoft.com in
your Outlook Express folder list - click the (+) sign next to
this listing to view the names of your subscribed newsgroup.
- Click the name of your newsgroup and Outlook Express will show
(or download and show) a listing of messages that seem not unlike
your regular email messages. Click any message to read it within
the preview pane. You can read and respond to these newsgroup
messages like regular mail.
- If you want to post your question, press Ctrl + N to open a new message - type in your question and click Send to make your question available to hundreds of experts who will respond to your question in a few hours. Sometimes, people receive answers in minutes. Do visit the newsgroup often to check for answers, learn more and ask questions.
Since a newsgroup may contain thousands of messages, you may want to synchronize the messages to be stored on your system rather than being connected all the time.
So, what does synchronizing mean? All messages posted and replied on the newsgroup actually stay on Microsoft's news servers. At any given time, around 90 days of messages are available to access from the news servers. Naturally, most of us do not want to store that many messages on our systems. Synchronizing allows you to specify settings that let you customize exactly how these messages are downloaded (or not) to your system. For instance, you can opt to download entire messages, only new messages or just the message headers.
Outlook Express allows you to download newsgroup messages and then read them offline. To set up newsgroups for offline reading and synchronization:
- Select the news server that contains the newsgroups you want
to configure within the folder list in Outlook Express.
- On the right pane, you'll find a list of the newsgroups you
have subscribed (see screenshot below).
- Once you select a newsgroup within this list, the Settings
button will no longer be grayed out - in fact clicking it will
reveal a flyout menu.
- You'll find four synchronization options:
- Don't Synchronize: This is the deafult option that does not synchronize any messages between the news server and your system.
- All Messages: This option synchronizes all messages.
- New Messages Only: This option synchronizes all messages that have appeared since you last synchronized the account.
- Headers Only: This option only synchronizes the
message headers - message bodies are downloaded only when
you click a Header and are connected online.
- Once you have chosen any of these synchronizing options, all you need to do is click the Synchronize Account button (see screenshot above) when you are connected.
You'll find more information, tips and support on using Outlook Express at Microsoft's Support Center for Outlook Express.
Mickey Stevens, a Mac Office MVP has provided this info - thank you, Mickey!
There is a plethora of available newsreaders for Mac users. In the past, we had recommended Outlook Express for Mac as a newsreader since it was free, but now that it is not supported by the new OS and is no longer being developed, we don't.
For people who are looking for a newsreader, I usually send them to the comprehensive list at Newsreaders.com.
By far, the most popular free newsreader is MT-NewsWatcher.