Take Advantage of Word’s Editing Tools for PowerPoint Files

Editing files in PowerPoint means you don’t have access to Word’s macros and other tools that make editing faster and more consistent. Sure, you could copy the content from each text block on every slide into a Word file, but the net savings just aren’t found in that method.

Enter the export: in PowerPoint, export the file as an RTF, then open that RTF in Word, save it as a docx file, then run your usual magic. Edits need to be transcribed into the PowerPoint file, but it’s still more efficient and effective than plodding away, old school.

Don’t Forget the Speaking Notes

To export the speaking notes, take a few more steps:

  1. Select Print in the PowerPoint file.
  2. In the Layout options, select Notes (shown below).
  3. Select PDF as the output, then Save/Print.
  4. Open the PDF and select all, copy, then paste the text into a Word file.

Showing Changes to Files

There’s no Track Changes function in PowerPoint. But using the Compare tool in PowerPoint itself will mark up differences between the original and edited file for everyone to see — and vet — them. Vetting the mark-up is not exactly the same as approving changes in Word. Each change would have to be undone by hand rather than by clicking “reject”. The team might find it easier to work on a final version with the marked-up changes used for reference only.

An Imperfect Solution

Getting the content of a slide presentation into Word for editing isn’t a perfect solution:

  • exporting speaking notes takes an extra step (or more);
  • changes are not marked up as they are when using Track Changes in Word; and
  • changes must be transcribed into the slides.

But it’s better than working without Word’s efficiency altogether.

Got a gnarly Word problem? Submit your problem and we’ll try to answer it in the new Q&A thread.

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