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Removing Customizations from PCB Files in PowerPoint 2003

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


Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2003
OS: Windows XP

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:

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

    Substutitute <UserName> with the user name set for your computer.
  2. Within this folder, you will find a PCB file, as shown in Figure 2 below.

    PCB file location
    Figure 2: PCB file location
  3. 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.

    PCB file renamed
    Figure 3: PCB file renamed

    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.
  4. 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).

    Add-in customizations missing

    Figure 4: Add-in customizations missing

    Note: Don't try this process while PowerPoint is still open.
  5. 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
Removing Customizations from PCB Files in PowerPoint 2013
Removing Customizations from PCB Files in PowerPoint 2010
Removing Customizations from PCB Files in PowerPoint 2007

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences:
PowerPoint 2016, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003 for Windows
PowerPoint 2016 and 2011 for Mac
PowerPoint Online for Windows and Mac

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 ebook.

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