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 launches, it looks for this PCB file within one of these typical locations:
C:\Documents and Settings\<UserName>\Application Data\Microsoft\PowerPoint
If no PCB file is found, PowerPoint creates a new one! In other words, PowerPoint restores all defaults. Therefore, this creation of a new PCB file can be put to advantage. To make this happen, we need to rename or delete the errant PCB file:
- Make sure PowerPoint 2007 is closed. Then navigate to the path mentioned below:
- For Windows 7 and higher:
- For Windows XP:
- C:\Documents and Settings\<UserName>\Application Data\Microsoft\PowerPoint
- Substitute <UserName> with the user name set for your computer.
- Within this folder, you will find a PCB file, as shown in Figure 1 below. You may see more than one PCB file here if 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, a newer version. The file you need for PowerPoint 2007 will be named PPT12.pcb or similar.
Figure 1: PCB file location
- 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.
Figure 2: PCB file renamed
- Now launch PowerPoint 2007. 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.
PowerPoint Versions and PCB File NamesThe file names of the PCBs indicate which version of PowerPoint they influence:
PPT16.pcb relates to PowerPoint 2016
PPT15.pcb relates to PowerPoint 2013
PPT14.pcb relates to PowerPoint 2010
PPT12.pcb relates to PowerPoint 2007
There were no PPT13.pcb files since Microsoft considered the number 13 unlucky!
Safely Working with PCB Files
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.
Also, never rename or delete a PCB file while PowerPoint is still open.
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 2003 for Windows