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Removing Customizations from PCB Files in PowerPoint 2003 for Windows

Learn how to remove customizations from PowerPoint's PCB files in PowerPoint 2003 for Windows.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2003 for Windows

OS: Windows XP 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 existent! 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 launches, it looks for this PCB file within a typical location:

C:\Documents and Settings\<UserName>\Application Data\Microsoft\PowerPoint

If no PCB file is found, PowerPoint creates a new one! And this creation of a new PCB file can be put to advantage. To demonstrate further, we have uninstalled all add-ins from PowerPoint 2003, but surprisingly one add-in seems to be persistent with its menu customizations, which are still present within PowerPoint even after the uninstallation (see Figure 1, below).

Add-in customizations persist even after uninstallation
Figure 1: Add-in customizations persist even after uninstallation

So to counter this issue, we need to rename or delete the PCB file:

  1. Make sure PowerPoint 2003 is closed. Then navigate to the path mentioned below:
  2. C:\Documents and Settings\<UserName>\Application Data\Microsoft\PowerPoint
  3. Substitute <UserName> with the user name set for your computer.
  4. Within this folder, you will find a PCB file, as shown in Figure 2 below.
  5. PCB file location
    Figure 2: PCB file location
  6. Now you can either delete the PCB file or you can rename it with a .bak or another extension. For this example we will rename the file with a .bak extension, as shown in Figure 3 below. You can also opt to delete the PCB file altogether in case you don't want to roll back PowerPoint's customizations to an earlier stage.
  7. PCB file renamed
    Figure 3: PCB file renamed
  8. Tip: Always keep a backup copy of your PCB file. This may come handy when you want to roll back PowerPoint's customizations to an earlier stage.
  9. After the renaming is done, open PowerPoint. You will notice the add-in customizations are now missing from the program, as shown in Figure 4 below (compare with Figure 1).
  10. Add-in customizations missing
    Figure 4: Add-in customizations missing
  11. Note: Don't try this process while PowerPoint is still open.
  12. Also get back to the original folder that contained the PCB file. You'll notice that a new PCB file was created.

See Also:

Removing Customizations from PCB Files in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Removing Customizations from PCB Files in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Removing Customizations from PCB Files in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
Removing Customizations from PCB Files in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows

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