PowerPoint is a very versatile program for designing, but its capabilities can also lead to issues such as frozen program, slow performance, and potential crashing. If PowerPoint is continually giving you issues, we’ve got a series of common issues and fixes to help you get back to designing.

Ignoring Updates

If you’re lucky, the issue you’re facing has already been fixed with a recent update from the Microsoft team. I know updates can be an annoying strain on your device’s memory space and download speeds, but they’re necessary if you want PowerPoint running at its most optimised.

It is recommended you keep auto-update switched on for certain software to ensure it runs smoothly. To do so in PowerPoint, go to File > Account, and under Product Information, choose Update Options > Update Now.

Out-of-Date Hardware

As someone still using a MacBook from the Steve Jobs era, I understand some devices can be difficult to let go of – but best believe its performance will degrade. Even if you’re running the latest version of PowerPoint, your device may not have the RAM, processing speed, or storage capacity to properly design on the software.

Check what version of PowerPoint you’re running by going to File > Account and, under Product Information, go to About PowerPoint. If you’re not running the right PowerPoint version, follow the update steps above. It’s also helpful to see if your device meets the system requirements for that version of PowerPoint – simply go to your Start Menu > Settings > About your PC.

Too Many Apps Running

The more files and applications you have running on your device at once, the more likely it is to struggle and potentially crash under the strain. In this case, it’s best to close any unnecessary windows and browser tabs you may have open. Also, be sure to check no other programs are accessing media you’ve copied into your presentation file, such as Photoshop images.

Closing all unnecessary tabs and windows will free up RAM on your device. Also, often when you experience long buffering times or a slowed-down experience in PowerPoint, closing unnecessary stuff might prevent it from crashing – just be patient. Keeping just the essential applications running will ensure your computer (and PowerPoint) runs seamlessly and avoid crashing. If the problem persists, save all your work and restart your computer to free the resources again.

File Size Crash

If you’ve received a semi-transparent screen that says, ‘PowerPoint has experienced a problem and has to close’, be thankful this type of crash retains the last autosave of your file. This issue means you’ve likely got too many high-res images and video files in your PowerPoint.

We’ve previously written an about reducing PowerPoint file sizes, which is especially useful if PowerPoint keeps crashing on you or you want to share you PowerPoint file with others – no one wants to receive an oversized PPT file that will struggle on any device.

Thankfully PowerPoint makes it really easy to reduce the size of your images and videos. Just select an and click on the Picture Format tab, then Compress Pictures. Select the level of compression you want – we’re recommend ‘Web (150ppi)’ as this will save you a lot of space but will ensure it still presentable good on screen.

Video content can be compressed in a similar way. In File tab, click Info, and then in the Media Size and Performance section, tap Compress Media. PowerPoint then finds all video content in your file and offers you the choice to compress them – select Internet Quality as it’ll still looks clear on a screen without compromising too much quality.

Poor Internet Connection

PowerPoint has several built-in features such as Icons, Designer, 3D Models, and OneDrive – all these features require online connection to operate. If you’re struggling to upload your file to OneDrive or PowerPoint Designer isn’t offering suggestions quick enough, then your internet may be the culprit.

Check your internet connection is sufficient for the features you’re trying to use. If you’re having saving and sharing issues, save a copy of the file to your device and work on it locally. If your internet is the issue, you may have to avoid online features until you get a better connection or device for designing.

Add-In Crash

Add-ins are useful for customising and streamlining your PowerPoint-user experience, but add-ins can cause the program to freeze or crash. To check if this is your issue, try starting PowerPoint in safe mode without add-ins and see if the problem persists.

  1. Right-click the Start button and click Run.
  2. In the Run box, type the command powerpnt /safe, and click OK.
    You can also start safe mode by starting PowerPoint with the Ctrl key held down.
  3. If the issue resolves and PowerPoint opens, go to File, click Options, and then click Add-Ins.
  4. Select COM Add-ins, then click Go.
  5. Click to uncheck all the boxes or click Unload to disable the Add-ins on the list, and then click OK.
  6. Repeat steps 3 and 4 but select PowerPoint Add-ins in the drop-down menu and repeat step 5.
  7. Restart PowerPoint.

If PowerPoint doesn’t immediately run into problems, begin to re-enable the add-ins, one by one, restarting PowerPoint after you enable each add-in. Wash and repeat this process until you identify the culprit.

Fix Office

PowerPoint may not be the only Office program causing you grief. Open Word, Excel, Publisher, and the rest – start a new file and try to save on each of the apps.

If they’re also crashing in a similar way, it might be a case of fixing Office. To do this:

  1. Close all Microsoft Office applications that are running.
  2. Click Start and type Add or remove programs into the search bar.
  3. From the list of installed applications, search to find your version of Microsoft Office, click and select Modify.
  4. Click Yes to allow the app to make changes to your device.
  5. You then have two options: Quick Repair and Online repair. Try Quick Repair first, but if you’re still having issues it’s worth trying the full online repair.
  6. Restart PowerPoint.

Antivirus Compatibility

Outdated antivirus software can cause issues for any application, so ensure all your antivirus software is up to date. However, if you’re running the most up-to-date antivirus software installed and PowerPoint continues to crash. Make sure you still have either a physical back-up, or the correct product keys to re-download the antivirus, then try opening PowerPoint without the antivirus integration. Similar to add-ins, you may have to run through an iterative process with your antivirus programs to find the culprit.

Crash Checklist

Hopefully one of the above solutions helps with your PowerPoint crash or freeze. For reference, below is a simple checklist to help you identify your issue.

  • Reduce your file size
  • Install updates
  • Close unnecessary tabs, apps, and windows
  • See if PowerPoint is being used by another process or program
  • Check out your add-ins
  • Ensure your internet connection is fine
  • Save everything and restart your computer
  • Fix Microsoft Office
  • Check antivirus software

Seek Help

If you’ve tried all the above and still facing problems in PowerPoint – it’s time to alert the experts. Any program in Office 365 lets users send feedback direct to the development team using the smiley face in the top right-hand corner of your screen. This brings up the Feedback tab where you can report any issue Office 365 throws at you.

To flag your PowerPoint issues, send a frown with a description of what went wrong – including any error codes or screenshots you’d like to include, since these will help the developers fix the problem. Thankfully, Microsoft are very responsive and will ensure your issue is addressed within a timely manner.

Want more advice on how to optimise your PowerPoint experience? Reduce your file size! We’ve got a bunch of different techniques for reducing file size without sacrificing quality. Download our free guide here.