Open Old Powerpoint Presentations in Office 2007 and Office 2010

Open old PowerPoint files in Office 2010Zamzar now allows you to open old Powerpoint presentations in Office 2007 and Office 2010, by converting them to a more up-to-date format. No longer should you have to see the horrible error:

PowerPoint can’t open the type of file represented by [FILENAME]


The Problem (Microsoft)


We often receive emails requesting support for a new conversion type or help with problems converting a tricky file – we read every one, and try our best to help where we can, but it’s not every day that the inventor of one of those file formats emails us …

Picture from a magazine article about Robert GaskinsTwo weeks ago we received an email from Robert Gaskins. Robert is widely credited as having been part of the team which invented PowerPoint back in the mid 1980s. He lead the team at Forethought Inc that received venture capital investment from Apple Computing and which was subsequently acquired by Microsoft who now own the product that is installed on over 1 billion computers worldwide and is a standard for presentations from Tibet to Timbuktu.

Robert suggested there were a large number of people (himself included), who had older Powerpoint presentations that wouldn’t open in the newer versions of Microsoft Office (2007 and 2010), instead receiving the following error:

PowerPoint can’t open the type of file represented by [FILENAME]


PowerPoint can't open the type of file represented by [FILENAME]

Microsoft Madness


This problem seems to be caused by 2 acts of Microsoft madness:

  1. In Service Pack 3 for Office 2003, Microsoft deliberately disabled support for many older file formats and provided 2 mind-boggling complex workarounds(here and here).
  2. Perhaps even more annoyingly for users, Microsoft doesn’t support opening older (’95 and ’97) versions of Powerpoint files in Office 2007 and 2010.

The Solution (Zamzar)


Robert asked if there was anything we could do to help, and we’ve worked hard to come up with a solution – We’re pleased to announce that from today if you have a Microsoft Powerpoint file older than 1997 that doesn’t open in Microsoft Powerpoint 2007 or Microsoft Powerpoint 2010 you can now use Zamzar to convert it into a 1997-2003 version of Powerpoint which makes it compatible with the latest 2007 and 2010 versions of Powerpoint.

You can convert files from such ancient versions of PowerPoint as v3.0 – released 20 years ago in 1992 !

Just select “ppt (1997-2003)” as the “to” format in Step 2 of your conversion on Zamzar:

Zamzar convert Powerpoint detail

Thanks to Robert for bringing this to our attention – we hope this helps. If anyone else has any new suggestions for help with your file format problems do get in touch !

Happy Presenting !
The Zamzar Team

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  1. Every few months I find I need to open a PowerPoint 4.0 file. Every few months I search the web to find a way of doing so, with no joy. This time – Eureka! Your converter does exactly what it says it does – thank you!

  2. Thanks a lot, allowed me to recover 1992 PPT presentations that I really needed to access…

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