The Annoying PowerPoint Error…as we like to call it here at BrightCarbon. In more technical terms, it’s that error that appears after you spent hours crafting a wonderful presentation, and when you’re about to save, tells you very helpfully “PowerPoint found an error that it can’t correct. You should save presentations, quit, and then restart PowerPoint.”

Except, well, you can’t save, because that’s when the error appears. And nobody likes to lose work.

This error has been the cause of too many instances of hair pulling (or beard-pulling – easier for some) amongst us. But we believe we might have found a way around it.

Many forums will tell you to transfer all your presentation over to a new document and save it then. More often than not, though, this technique doesn’t work, as the problem doesn’t come from PowerPoint in itself, but rather from the elements you used in your presentation. Specifically, pictures and/or ink drawings.

So, here are a few things you should try if it happens to you:

[Editor’s note – a quick thing to try before the following is to try saving as .ppt instead of .pptx – that sometimes works quickly and easily.]

First, and this can’t be said enough, save regularly. It will help in identifying where the problem comes from. It’s easier to go through five slides worth of content than twenty.

Secondly, compress all your pictures. This can be a little tedious, but it will most certainly help (at least the size of your file). You can access this by clicking on the picture (or selecting several), check you are in the “Picture Tools / Format” tab, and select “Compress Picture”. A dialogue box will appear with different options. You can either choose 220ppi or 150ppi, as none of those will make your picture lose quality.

compress bar

powerpoint error compress dialogue box

Once you have done this, try to save again. If it works, then you’ve cracked it! Go get some of your favourite snack to celebrate. If the error still appears, you can still go get a snack to raise your spirits, and then move on to the next thing to do.

Ink drawings can be the other source of the error. Go through your slides and look up if you have any. If yes, then select each one of them, copy them (Ctrl+C) then right-click and select “Paste as picture”.

(Helpfully illustrated by this scribble of a sheep.)

powerpoint error paste as picture

You can then delete your ink drawing. Make sure you do this for all of them.

It’s then time for the second moment of truth. Try to save your file again. If it works? Go you. Go grab a coffee (or any of your preferred beverages) and improvise a small party with your colleagues. The waste basket of the paper shredder should provide you with all the confetti you desire.*

It doesn’t work? We still advise the coffee, and maybe go get a hug from a sympathetic co-worker. Then come back, because we’re not done.

Our last tip is not for the faint-hearted, as you will have to delete bits of your presentation. If none of the other solutions have worked so far, it means one (or more) pictures are corrupted. Here’s how you should proceed. Figure out which content you have added since your last save (this is where the “save regularly” tip comes in handy), then follow these steps:

1-     Select picture

2-     Delete picture

3-     Try to save:

  1. If you can save: there was your culprit, the Dreadful Corrupted Picture. (see below for what to do then)
  2. If you still get the error: “Undo” delete and move on to the next picture.

4-     Repeat step 2 and 3 until you find the Dreadful Corrupted Picture.

5-     If you still can’t find it after going through everything, delete all pictures and try to save.

If you have found the Dreadful Corrupted Picture, but really need to use it in your presentation, here are a few tips:

–        Try to download it again

–        Get it in a different format (JPEG to PNG, or vice-versa)

–        Open it in a photo software and save it as a new file.


*We do not take responsibility for what your management might think of a surprise office party involving bits of shredded paper. Proceed with caution.

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Written by

Ingrid Mengdehl

Managing design consultant;
IT lead

View Ingrid Mengdehl's profile

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  1. Image of Vincent Thompson Vincent Thompson says:

    Ingrid – great article. I have one other trick up my sleeve when this catastrophic event occurs. Sometimes it works, then again, sometimes it doesn’t.

    Try saving out the presentation as a .ppt file (this is the naming convention for PowerPoint 2003 and earlier). You can then close PowerPoint and open the .ppt file back up in your version, saving it out again but this time as a .pptx (PowerPoint 2007 and after).

    If all else fails I agree with you, coffee and hugs make everything seem ok with the world.

  2. Image of Scott Scott says:

    YES! Genius. I just spent hours building a presentation, got this error message, heart palp’t, Googled it, came here and WHAM – fixed it on the first solution idea in zero seconds flat.


  3. Image of Will Will says:


  4. Image of shereen shereen says:

    THANK YOU! 🙂

  5. Image of Daniel Daniel says:

    Thanks for the article! I was able to fix my presentation! I’ve had this problem before and had never understood what was happening. This was a great help!

  6. Image of Kirk Kirk says:

    Great tips! With a tight deadline and 3hrs of work at risk, saving as ppt vs ppx did the trick. Wasted a bunch of time trying to save to flash drives, creating new files and moving over copies of the slides, etc., all triggered the same error message and no chance to save my work. Thanks a TON!

  7. Image of Ashish Adhikari Ashish Adhikari says:

    The easy way is to navigate to
    Older Windows flavours:
    “C:Documents and Settings\Application DataMicrosoftPowerPoint”
    New Windows:

    and grab the auto saved file from there and rename it.

  8. Image of Hey Hey says:

    Hey, I also wasted so much time trying to copy elements and delete pictures etc. Total waste of time. The answer was indeed to just save as .ppt. This information should be put at the very top of this page! All the other tricks are useless and just waste of time!

  9. Image of Joby Blume Joby Blume says:

    Hey Hey

    I pleased to hear that Vincent’s trick worked for you – and glad that we could help. It’s a pleasure to be able to.

    Some of the other approaches work for other people/in different situations – as you can see from reading the comments here. I think it’s useful to have more approaches to try – what works for you might not work for someone else.

  10. Image of Rod Menas Rod Menas says:

    Hi there, Thanks for all the tips, great stuff, however nothing works for me… 🙁
    I tried all the previous solutions, but I’m still getting the error. In case am allow to open ppts (old and new ones) but if I change something in it I get the message. But, the big but, if I open ppt from zero, I also get the message. What do you think? Thanks!!!

  11. Image of Philipp Philipp says:


    when I encounter this error, there is in most cases another root cause: Badly formatted tables. If within a table cell margin or text alignment within a cell is differently set for different cells, this error often occurs.

    You can try the following for each table in your presentation (or at least for each table which you edited since last successful saving your presentation):
    – Select the whole table
    – Edit the cell margins: Go to Table -> Layout -> Cell Margins -> Custom Margins. Make sure you set a value for each margin (top, bottom, left, right) and also for the vertical text alignment and the text direction!

    Hope this helps!

  12. Image of Alex Alex says:

    I had this issue recently with my physics presentation, i fixed it by doing this:
    1. Delete everything, slides text pictures. The whole lot
    2. Save the file (if it doesn’t let you save, sorry buddy!)
    3. press undo, restoring everything you just deleted, and it lets you save the presentation

    I have no clue why this worked, but that’s pretty normal for Microsoft Office, good luck!

  13. Image of Stephen Jones Stephen Jones says:

    LIFESAVER! Thanks…you saved my presentation!!!

  14. Image of a a says:

    Thanks, it worked!

  15. Image of Marco Marco says:

    Well done on service to humanity. I almost had a heart attack when I got that error. To speed up solution 2, I actually deleted entire slides to quicken the process of finding the culprit. Once I identified the slide, I could find the problem image on the slide quick enough.

  16. Image of Al Al says:

    It doesn’t work because PowerPoint does not open. 🙁 I use 2003 version.

  17. Image of Joby Blume Joby Blume says:

    Sorry Al – looks like you have a different problem. This one happens while PowerPoint is still open. Good luck fixing yours….

  18. Image of Diana Diana says:

    Lovely writing and helpful advice, thanks so much!

  19. Image of Anna Anna says:

    The saving of the .pptx into .ppt did the trick for me. Thanks so much.

  20. Image of Ali Ali says:


  21. Image of amy amy says:

    I cant to click anything on the powerpoint. help me

    • Image of Karl Parry Karl Parry says:

      Amy we’d love to help! Could you be a bit more specific with your issue and I’ll see what we can do.

  22. Image of John Valles John Valles says:

    Hyperlinked text boxes can also cause the error. Check your text for any links and remove them.

  23. Image of konahn konahn says:

    Usually it’s memory overflow issue.
    I think your presentation slides have too many invisible objects for PowerPoint to handle. You can’t correct it/them since they are invisible. Unless you remove slides, the problem will go on.

    Go to menu [File -Info – Check for Issues – Inspect Document ]
    Now, find and remove invisible data

    To prevent this issue from happening, do not copy/paste slides or pictures from unknown sources. If you write or use VBA script, BE SURE to remove invisible objects created during the slideshow.

    Below is the scrpt that can be used to remove all the invisible shape objects in the slides.

    Sub remove_invisible()
    Dim i, j as Integer
    Dim myShape as Shape
    Dim myCount as Integer

    For i = 1 To ActivePresentation.Slides.Count
    ‘ delete shapes in reversed order. Otherwise, you may miss some consecutive innvisible shapes. Do not use ‘for each’ syntax when deleting an array.
    For j =ActivePresentation.Slides(i).Shapes.Count to 1 Step -1
    set myShape = ActivePresentation.Slides(i).Shapes(j)
    If myShape.Visible = msoFalse Then
    myShape.Delete ‘ erase shapes
    myCount = myCount + 1
    End If

    Next j
    Next i

    MsgBox myCount & ” shapes were deleted.”
    End Sub

  24. Image of Eady albalushi Eady albalushi says:

    copy all the slides into a new powerpoin
    and than save it,,, it should be alright
    it will only tahe few seconds 🙂

  25. Image of Miles Silverman Miles Silverman says:

    PPX saved as PPT worked! Can’t thank you enough.

  26. Image of bert bert says:

    thanks for the tips. What worries me is that this M-company is still getting away with this kind of crappy software

  27. Image of Lauren Lauren says:

    Thank you so much! I was recording over my power points and used the laser pen in one of the slides, never again! Lol. I already recorded this twice, I thought I had to do it a third time

  28. Image of Ana Ana says:

    Good post!
    after struggling with why I couldn’t fix mine: I was having troubles when I added a chart: the prblem might not be powerpoint, it can be excel’s! I had to close all the open excels, and only then I could add a new chart to ppt.
    Hope this can also help someone!

  29. Image of Anne Anne says:

    I tried copying the slides to a new presentation, but still received the same error. I ended up saving as a 2003 presentation and it successfully saved.

  30. Image of Casey H Simigran Casey H Simigran says:

    Compressing the images was all I needed to do. Thank you for reminding me! Super helpful!

  31. Image of Vinicius Vinicius says:

    In my case, the problem was caused by incompatibility.

  32. Image of LJ LJ says:

    THANK YOU you are a lifesaver!!!!

  33. Image of Mick Mick says:

    I had this issue but discovered it was I just cant save to a specific folder. On a mac, if I save it to desktop its fine.

    Still not ideal but a solution for me. Thanks

  34. Image of Ann Ann says:

    Saved me from crying into my computer! Thank you!

  35. Image of Ke Ke says:

    thank you so much!! You saved me tears and several hours of work!

  36. Image of Julian Julian says:

    Thnk you a lot, this lifesaver solved my problem in Powerpoint and I didn’t have to start from scratch on my project.
    B.T.W : Don’t put a 4K image in Powerpoint, it will make it impossible to save.

  37. Image of Martin Martin says:


  38. Image of Rebecca Laura Rebecca Laura says:

    We solved this issue by adding the Downloads folder to the trusted file locations in File > Options >Trust Center > Trust Center settings > Trusted locations. Seems an update has made that folder not trusted, so you get the pop-ups of doom if you try to open a file that was downloaded to that folder.

  39. Image of Hemant Hemant says:

    My issue is when I am saving ppt in C Drive I am not able to see the first slide of ppt when I open second time.Is there any solution?

    • Image of Ingrid Mengdehl Ingrid Mengdehl says:

      Hi Hemant,

      This looks like it might be a different issue entirely. We’d love to help, but can you give us a little more details? Is your first slide always the same, or does it happen for different slides?

  40. Image of Nigus Nigus says:

    I got it helpful. the problem is the corrected picture. I deleted it, it works properly now.

  41. Image of jjaja jjaja says:

    thank you very much it so helpful

  42. Image of Wendy Wendy says:

    Thank you so much, saved as .ppt, saved my life and my sanity!!

  43. Image of Ren Ren says:

    I was rushing my presentation just to find out my 2 hours of work can’t be saved! Thank God all I needed was to delete some slides, open it back, put the slides back in (copy paste) and not the time-consuming picture saving options.

  44. Image of abie george abie george says:

    i did the following and it worked!!!!!

    1: put on slide show
    2: wait for the slide which cannot be played on the slide show
    3: delete this slide
    4: check if there are other slides like this
    5: save your document 🙂

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