Does it matter if we use different versions of PowerPoint as a team?

Monday, November 4th, 2013 0 comments

PowerPoint Versions

Some of your team use PowerPoint 2010, some have upgraded to 2013, some are still using 2007, and there is even one guy who’s never got round to replacing his ancient copy of PowerPoint 2003. You all need to use the same presentation and deliver it from our own laptops. Is this an issue?

Short answer: It depends.

In general, we would always recommend using the same version of PowerPoint wherever possible. Subtle differences can cause the strangest of problems. That said, in most cases, you should be OK to use a presentation developed in 2007 in later versions of PowerPoint without any problems. PowerPoint 2010 and later has certain features (for example, embedded videos), that will not work in 2007.

PowerPoint 2003 and earlier versions, however, have a completely different way of operating, and we’ve found no end of difficulties when trying to move between these and later versions. The best way to get around these issues is to download a compatibility pack but even that’s not foolproof. Editing PowerPoint files, rather than just viewing them in different versions, can be particularly troublesome.

PowerPoint 2013, the latest version of the software, throws another consideration into the mix as it defaults in widescreen 16:9 slides rather than the old 4:3 ratio. Moving content between different slide ratios is slow and time-consuming, so make sure you’re aware of this when you choose the ratio you’ll be working with.

In summary: Moving between different versions of PowerPoint is definitely possible, and in some cases it can be unproblematic. If you know that you will have to be moving the file between different versions of PowerPoint, you can ask your developer to keep to features that won’t cause difficulties where possible. However, there is usually some level of editing involved and it can be fiddly and time-consuming. So our ultimate advice would be: Wherever possible, stick to the same version of PowerPoint. It’s definitely the easiest option.

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