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Backwards Compatibility: Ensuring Your PowerPoint Presentation is Compatible

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  • 0:01 Backwards Compatibility?
  • 1:36 Compatibility Check
  • 3:07 Save As 2003 or 2007
  • 4:14 Opening Older Versions
  • 4:48 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Karen Sorensen

Karen has a Bachelors in Communications. She has 25 years of experience in Information Systems, Adult Learning and Virtual Training.

Not everyone has the same version of PowerPoint. What happens when you create a presentation in 2013 and send it to someone with 2003? Will they be able to open it? View it? Edit it? This lesson will discuss backwards compatibility in PowerPoint 2013.

Backwards Compatibility?

When Microsoft came out with Office 2007, they started including features that would help users of their software avoid issues when sharing and collaborating with users that have different versions. When 2010 was introduced, they included a feature called the Compatibility Check. This would let the user actually check for any potential issues or conflicts with older versions of the software.

The 2013 version of PowerPoint is their best yet for what is called backwards compatibility. This is when a newer version of the software program, such as PowerPoint, is compatible with older PowerPoint versions. For example, a 2007 version of a presentation can be opened in PowerPoint 2013 and vice versa.

There are three features that help support backwards compatibility:

  1. The first one is the Compatibility Check, and it will look for content that may function different in older versions of PowerPoint, such as the SmartArt feature.
  2. The second is that you can save your 2013 version as an older version, such as 2007.
  3. And then finally, the third one, you can open a presentation created in an older version and PowerPoint will convert the presentation to 2013.

This lesson will discuss each of these features and demonstrate how to use them to help ensure that the presentations you create can be opened and viewed with older versions of PowerPoint.

Compatibility Check

As Microsoft continues to develop new versions of PowerPoint, they also add more new features. An example is the SmartArt command, which came out in the 2010 version.

The Compatibility Check feature searches for content that could look or function different when viewing in older versions. You can run a compatibility check by going to the File menu, clicking on the Check for Issues command and selecting Check Compatibility.

PowerPoint will run a compatibility check, and the results will display in the dialogue box. For every suggestion, you will see the number of occurrences of a given problem, and a Help link will provide more info on how you can solve the problem.

In the lesson video, notice that the compatibility check found that the SmartArt is not compatible with versions of PowerPoint older than 2007. The message is that you will not be able to edit the shape or text. However, this does not apply to viewing the slides. The slide can still be viewed in an older version of PowerPoint.

For example, if you create a presentation using PowerPoint 2013 for a potential customer who has 2003, they will be able to open and view the slides, but they will not be able to edit some of the content. The question becomes, what if you are collaborating on a project and the recipient needs to be able to edit all content, but they have version 2003 or 2007?

Save as 2003 or 2007

So, one extremely nice feature of the 2013 version of PowerPoint, and one I use often, is the ability to save a 2013 version of a presentation as an older version, such as 2003. PowerPoint '97, 2003, 2007 and 2010 are all very common versions, and many companies have not made the leap to 2013.

So, Microsoft has made it simple to work with different versions of the program, and here's how.

  1. First, under the File menu, choose Save As.
  2. Then, search for and select the folder where you want to save the file.
  3. Next, enter the name of the presentation.
  4. And then, click on the Save As Type drop-down box.
  5. Select PowerPoint 97-2003 presentation.
  6. And then, click on Save.

You can also save a second copy if you want as the 2013 version for yourself. It's that easy. So now, you have a version that can not only be opened but also viewed and edited as well.

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