Does Your PowerPoint Keep Crashing? Here’s What to do!


So, just the other day, I was working hard and assembling slides all night for the presentation next morning. Out of the blue, my PowerPoint just stopped responding! Even when I restarted the program, it would keep crashing! It was EXTREMELY frustrating, to say the least!

It is not the first time that I had faced this issue. So I decided to do a little digging and put an end to this problem once and for all!

In this article, I’ve captured all the lessons that I’ve learned so that you don’t have to go through this grind. I sincerely and genuinely hope that this article helps you and saves you the numerous hours that I spent finding out the issue with my PowerPoint!

Why does PowerPoint Close Unexpectedly or Keep Crashing?

Microsoft PowerPoint is the bread and butter when it comes to documentation and presentation. By design, it is simple and straightforward, and comes packed with bunch of powerful features that makes designing a presentation a breeze.

But, not all programs are flawless, and crashing or freezing of an application is often a common phenomenon.

One of the most common reasons that cause PowerPoint to crash is size of your PowerPoint file.

The last few updates of PowerPoint have made the experience smoother, but not without a few bumps. The program is prone to freezing or not responding for several reasons. These could be because of other apps or programs, the state of your hardware, or how updated your PC. Each issue needs to be handled differently.

We need to understand WHY the issues occur before we try solving it. It is unfortunate that PowerPoint works smoothly throughout the year but will probably freeze up the week you are stressed over a certain presentation. I have been there. So, let us calibrate the various reasons and try to figure it out. 

Why does PowerPoint Freeze?

When your PowerPoint Freezes, it can be a real hassle and often even result in loss of your work progress. I personally find it really annoying to see PowerPoint freeze especially when I’m in the middle of making an important presentation as this makes me lose my chain of thought.

However, it really helps if you know how to handle this type of freeze up of PowerPoint. Most importantly, knowing the reasons why this happens can help you fix the issue.

PowerPoint can freeze for various reasons including the large size of PowerPoint file, multiple heavy programs running simultaneously, the computing capacity of your computer, or even third-party Microsoft Office add-ins causing a conflict. The issue can be resolved by restarting your computer.

I’ve included a short list of all possible reasons for Microsoft PowerPoint to freeze –

  • If your computer is not up to date and performing poorly, PowerPoint will perform poorly. 
  • If your computer is running too many heavy programs at once it will hamper the performance of most apps. In turn, freeze PowerPoint.
  • If your CPU gets hot frequently, it can cause PowerPoint to not work properly.
  • If PowerPoint is already being used in another process, it can malfunction.
  • If MS Office is not updated, it will deteriorate the user experience.
  • Third-party Add-ins can cause a disturbance in MS Office apps.
  • Antivirus or firewall conflicts with PowerPoint can cause it to become slow.
  • If your hard disk is corrupted it will affect PowerPoint and freeze.
  • Malware or Virus in your PC can also cause PowerPoint to freeze or become slow.

How to Fix the PowerPoint Crashing Issue?

The crashing issue can occur for various reasons and the solution varies from problem to problem. Unless it is a major issue with your hardware or a virus strikes, some of the points mentioned below will most definitely help you solve the problem.

1. Update Microsoft PowerPoint Software

Programs can malfunction if they are not regularly updated. Many users have reported that their crashing or freezing problems were automatically fixed after updating. 

This goes for everything. A system update or a windows update can enhance your user experience and fix bugs. On top of that, delaying updates for your apps and computers can also have security liabilities.

So, it is best to comply with those update notifications. You can manually update your Microsoft Office by visiting the website or clicking this link. Microsoft provides detailed instructions for every single version of your Office application that you may be using.

If your PowerPoint still crashes, then you should keep reading. 

2. Check Add-ins

Slides are a visual aid and sometimes we prefer to beautify it by using Add-ins or third-party apps.

Add-ins can be fun and really helpful. But, these third-party apps or add-ins can cause your program to malfunction. In case your PowerPoint is crashing, it is best to check if it is caused by any add-in. 

To check whether installed add-ins are causing an issue, do the following –

  1. Go to “File” and then click on “Option“.
  2. Then go to “add-in“.
  3. Uncheck all the add-ins and except one before restarting the app.
  4. Try each add-on separately and restart to see if everything runs smoothly.

In this way, you can identify the source of the issue. 

If it is an add-in related problem, try to explore its source and evaluate whether you should uninstall it.

If unchecking all the add-ins doesn’t work, then the issue lies elsewhere.

3. Check Your PowerPoint File Size

One of the most common reasons for PowerPoint to freeze or crash too often is the size of your presentation file.

If you’re using too many images or if you have embedded couple of videos, the size of your PowerPoint file is bound to increase.

Try to keep your PowerPoint file below 10 MB. While, a PowerPoint file with more than 10 MB may not cause an issue immediately, however, if the size of your PowerPoint file is crossing beyond the 50 MB limit, this could be of the main reasons for PowerPoint to crash.

I wrote a detailed article on the site earlier that explains why PowerPoint files get so big also. I also share several valuable tips and ninja tricks that can help you reduce the size. Do check out the article!

4. Repair Microsoft Office in Control Panel

MS Office programs can be repaired by going to the control panel.

You should firstly close all Microsoft Office apps (including any word or excel files that may be open) before opening the Control Panel.

Then, open the “Control Panel“. Next, click on “Programs” and search for “Programs and Features” where you will find all the apps on your computer.

Locate Microsoft Office and click Change, then select Repair

This is the simplest way to repair Microsoft Office apps (including PowerPoint) and usually after this step, it starts to work for me. It is like a factory reset for MS Office.

4. Check if Anti-virus is the Culprit

Anti-virus is necessary, but it is important to get the right one. Make sure your antivirus is upgraded and working properly. A backdated anti-virus could be the reason behind your PowerPoint crashing. Download the latest updates of your antivirus and restart your app. 

You should also check if your antivirus is compatible for you. Sometimes it can be conflicting, and it can prevent PowerPoint from functioning smoothly. If this is the case, you should disable all affiliations with PowerPoint on your anti-virus. You can also remove or disable any add-ins that work as an anti-virus. 

However, it should be noted that any changes made to your anti-virus can have collateral damages. It is wise to consult your antivirus provider and figure out how to properly configure the software for optimum user experience. 

5. Check Your Computer Usage

Another factor that can negatively influence Microsoft PowerPoint is the usage of your computer’s processing capability.

Make sure your computer is not running too many apps at once. I often neglect the programs running in the background; gaming, streaming or large downloads. These can use up a large chunk of your computer’s memory, especially if you have not upgraded your device in a few years. 

When you have too many apps or processes running in the background, PowerPoint will likely glitch or have issues while using animations or gifs.

So, the best solution is to shut down the unnecessary, CPU-eating programs. 

To check the applications consuming the processing power of your computer, simply press Ctrl+Alt+Del to open up the task manager (on Windows). If you notice some applications that were perhaps running in the background, simply click on that application name, and then click “End Task” to force shut that software.

For Mac users, you can do the same thing by opening the Activity Monitor, by pressing Cmd+Space (which will open the spotlight search).

Once the activity monitor opens up, simply on “%CPU” to sort the names of the software consuming the most processing power in the descending order, and then force close the process.

6. Check the Internet Connection

Some features in Microsoft PowerPoint require an internet connection to function properly such as Design Ideas, Inserting Online Pictures etc. This is especially so if you using Office 365 or above versions of Microsoft Office.

If you notice that you are having issues with the various PowerPoint features and Office Add-ins, you should check your internet. This also goes for the autosave option. These features rely on the internet to work properly. 

A good and strong internet connection can power all these features and let your work go uninterrupted. If your ISP is faulty, it will affect your add-ins as well as the designing tools built into PowerPoint itself. This will also affect your OneDrive and SharePoint. If you are facing this problem, it is advisable to save a local copy and work from there. 

Additionally, if a lot of people are working on SharePoint at the same time, it can cause problems. In such cases, it is best to limit the number of people who can access the document. If that doesn’t work, you can work around the online features until your internet connection gets fixed. 

7. Check for Hardware Compatibility

As the newer versions of Microsoft PowerPoint come to the market, the possibility of crashing and freezing issues increase if you are using an old computer.

It is possible for the latest PowerPoint to have troubleshooting problems if you are using an old computer. Your hardware may not be able to keep up with your apps and the lack of synergy between the two causes the crash. 

Check if your computer has the minimum requirement to run the app. Check the version of your MS PowerPoint by accessing Product Information in the File option. You can check here to see if your PC meets the criteria. And if you want to know the system details of your PC, you can find out by simply searching “About PC” in the Start option. 

8. Check your Printer Settings and Set it to Default

One of the rare causes for your PowerPoint File crashing is due to an incorrect printer set up. A good tell-tale sign that the issue is the printer setting is when your PowerPoint crashes especially when you try to print or save the file as PDF.

In such a scenario, the printer settings should be checked since PowerPoint has to load a default printer. You can try changing this setting in the printer options and see if it helps you resolve the issue.

Go to the Control Panel. Now, find and click on Hardware and Sound. Now, click Device and Printers and then click Send to OneNote or MS XPS Document Writer in the list of printers. Choose either of these options and set it as the default printer. 

9. Upgrade your Computer

This kind of ties in with point number 7 mentioned above. A backdated computer can be your biggest issue for the constant crashing of PowerPoint.

It helps if you keep your system updated as well as the version of windows you are using. Of course, it is important to make sure your hardware is up to date as well, so everything runs smoothly. If you notice that most of your apps freeze up, then perhaps it is time to splurge on a new PC.

How to Save a PowerPoint File that is Not Responding?

It is really annoying when you spend hours and hours creating your perfect presentation, and just when you are about to save it, your PowerPoint freezes up and stops responding. Sometimes, you even end up losing the work that you’ve done!

I know I have panicked on more than once occasion over this. So, how do you ensure that you save your work done on PowerPoint even when the file is not responding?

I’ve included 2 different methods which you could try. Let’s understand these in detail –

Method 1 – Using the “Recent File” option

You can find your work lost despite your PowerPoint crash by looking for it in the “Recent Files” section. Here’s how to do it –

  • Open Microsoft Office and go to PowerPoint. 
  • Head over to the File tab and click on “Open”.
  •  You’ll find a section labeled “Recent”
  •  You will get a folder of saved drafts which should include the work you lost. Find your file and save it immediately. 

However, for this method to work, you need to first make sure that Auto-recovery is enabled in your PowerPoint. In most cases, PowerPoint will have automatically set this up for you. Regardless of whether it is automatically set up for you, it is best that you double-check and go through the process described below –

Steps to Enable Auto-recovery in Microsoft PowerPoint

Setting up auto-recovery may seem cumbersome at first, but it is quite simple.

  • Launch PowerPoint and click on the Files tab on the upper left corner. Point and click on “Options”.
  • Move the cursor to “Save” 
  • Here you’ll find a checkbox labeled “Save auto-recover info every ___ minutes”. Check it. 
  • Also, check the box labeled “Keep the last auto recover version”.
  • In case you have auto-recover already enabled, you can copy the file location from the “Auto recover file location” section to find your unsaved file (PPT).
  • Now, you can paste the destination on to the address bar of Windows Explorer. 

It is advisable to save your work progress every few minutes with Ctrl+S, for good measure. 

Method 2 – Use RecoverIt

Recoverit Data Recovery is an excellent app that you can use to recover your deleted PPT files if you find that none of the previous methods worked for you. As the name of the app implies, Recoverit helps with recovering your files and retrieving lost documents. 

  • Download RecoverIt Data Recovery 
  • Run the app
  • Select a location where you previously might have stored the lost PowerPoint files. 
  • Let the Software run. It will scan the disk and find any deleted files. 
  • After the scan is complete, all the deleted files will appear. You can then recover the lost files by right-clicking and choosing ‘Recover’.

Why does PowerPoint take So Long to Open?

It really throws me off when PowerPoint takes time to load.

It is awkward when this happens to you before are about to give a presentation. Just standing there and waiting for the presentation to open while everyone stares at you can feel really weird. Furthermore, a technical error at the beginning of your presentation can take a toll on your confidence as well.

There are some possible reasons behind this delay in loading. 

  • Your PowerPoint file is quite big in size. When a PowerPoint file is too big in size, it becomes not only susceptible to crashing or freezing, but it can also increase the initial load time.
  • Lack of disk space can cause Microsoft office apps to become slow. But, this can be easily taken care of with an external hard disk or by clearing any unnecessary large files. 
  • Check your Temp folder. A congested Temp folder can slow down MS PowerPoint along with other apps on your computer. You can clean your Temp folder by accessing Run, by searching in Start. In Run, type in %temp% and press enter. You will be directed to the Temp folder, which you can empty out as soon as you close all the running programs in the background. 
  • Graphics and performance can also affect MS PowerPoint’s speed. You can solve this problem by adjusting your graphics accelerator in PowerPoint. Simply go to PowerPoint’s Advanced Settings and under Display, you will find the option “Hardware Graphics Acceleration.” Disabling it will make the app faster. 
  • Other fancy options on PowerPoint tend to slow it down, such as the Live Preview option. This option allows you to see a demo of any font, color, or picture before you have selected it. While it is a handy and fun feature, it can eat up a lot of RAM. Resulting in slower performance. So, you should go right back into options and disable it.
  • Using videos or images that are too large can drastically slow down PowerPoint. It is better to compress the files before inserting them into slides. It is also advisable to decrease the size of any graphics or visuals to speed up PowerPoint. 

Why does PowerPoint Freeze on Mac?

It is rare for Mac users to face PowerPoint troubles, but anything can happen. The solutions are very similar, but I will reiterate for Mac users. So, if PowerPoint is freezing on Mac you should:

  • Check the running processes and shut down any heavy apps in the background
  • Check the image or animation size in your presentation
  • Make sure your PowerPoint is up to date
  • Check if you have disk permission. This is the most common and can be easily fixed if you have an admin account. All you have to do is select Utilities and go to Disk Utility. Select the drive where you installed Office, proceed to the First Aid Tab and Repair Disk Permissions. 
  • Remove com.microsoft.powerpoint.plist and change it to com.microsoft.powerpoint.plist.old in Microsoft.

    This file causes PowerPoint to freeze up and crash, and this fix has proved to be useful for many. This can be done shutting down all Office apps and then going to GO Menu, Home. There you will find the Library and Preferences which contains Microsoft. And voila! 

Final Thoughts

If you have followed the above-mentioned remedies and it worked, then you can thank me by sharing this link with others! But, if your problem persists, you need to contact the big boys at Microsoft and send them a ping. They are usually very quick to reply and helpful. 

They will most likely ask you to go through this entire process, but you would have already done it by then. This means you will be ready to answer any questions and understand the issues better. Hope this helped! 

Make sure you bookmark this site as we keep sharing several helpful tips and tricks about PowerPoint and everything else related to Presentations.

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