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Check Compatibility in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn to check compatibility with other PowerPoint versions in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows.


Product/Version: PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 and higher

You might have experienced this scenario: you have created a presentation within PowerPoint 2016, but you are not sure whether your client, boss, friend, or colleague, who has an earlier version of PowerPoint will be able to view and edit this presentation using the same options that you have used? And, if you save this presentation as a file compatible with an earlier version of PowerPoint, there are chances that you could lose some attributes of the presentation that are not available in previous versions. Or worse, your editable content could just change to flat, non-editable pictures!

You may want to ensure that you can open your PowerPoint 2016 presentation in an older version such as PowerPoint 2003 or even earlier versions. However, many features are not functional in older versions such as Shape Effects including Reflection and Glow. These effects appear as flattened pictures in older versions of PowerPoint. Also, if a video is embedded instead of being linked, the video clip may show up as a picture! To avoid these problems, you can run Compatibility Checker in PowerPoint 2016 which finds potential compatibility issues between PowerPoint 2016 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 2016 only checks for compatibility issues with older Windows versions of PowerPoint. Compatibility with Mac versions of PowerPoint is not checked. Also, here are some guidelines you must consider before using the Check Compatibility feature:

  • PowerPoint 2016 does not support saving to PowerPoint 95 or earlier file formats.
  • Presentations, templates, and Slide Shows created in the PowerPoint 2016 file format (.pptx) are compatible with PowerPoint 2007 and later versions.
  • 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 2016:

  1. Launch PowerPoint 2016, 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 Pane to get to Backstage view, as shown in Figure 1. Thereafter, select the Check for Issues option, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 1.

    Info Pane within the Backstage view
    Figure 1: Info Pane within the Backstage view
  3. This brings up a small drop-down menu as shown in Figure 2. From the drop-down menu select the Check Compatibility option, highlighted in red with Figure 2.

    Check Compatibility option selected within the Check for Issues drop-down menu
    Figure 2: Check Compatibility option selected within the Check for Issues drop-down menu
  4. The Compatibility Checker immediately runs a check and displays the summary of the results in the same dialog box, as shown highlighted in blue within Figure 3. Our sample presentation had three features not supported by earlier PowerPoint versions.

    Microsoft PowerPoint Compatibility Checker dialog box
    Figure 3: 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 3.
  5. 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 the problem.
  6. Click the OK button to close the dialog box and return to the presentation. Make changes as required to make your presentation more compatible and run the Compatibility Checker again to determine if those issues have been resolved.
  7. Save your presentation often.

See Also:

Check Compatibility in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Toolbox - Compatibility Report Tab in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Check Compatibility in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

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