PowerPoint Basics:
Open & Close PowerPoint

Title: Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101

Did you want: Working with Presentations: PowerPoint 2007,2010,2013,2016 or español

You have several choices of how to open PowerPoint and then the presentation that you need. You will not use all of these in these lessons. But you may need to use one of these alternate methods sometime in the future. Just to be sure, you will also practice closing a presentation and PowerPoint.

Methods to open to a new, blank presentation:

  • Start menu: Microsoft PowerPoint
    Menu: Start - PowerPoint 2002 
    Menu: Start - PowerPoint 2003
  • Start menu: Icon: PowerPoint 2002 New Office Document
    Menu: Start | New Office Document
    This shortcut is not installed by PowerPoint 2003.
  • Explorer: Find the file Powerpnt.exe and double-click on it.
    Explorer window showing Powerpnt.exe
  • Dialog: Run - powerpntRun dialog: From the Start menu, open the Run box, type in powerpnt, and click on OK.

Where you are:
JegsWorks > Lessons > Presentations

Before you start...

Project 1: PowerPoint Basics
    Getting Started Arrow to Subtopics
    Icon: Step-by-StepOpen & Close
    Icon: Step-by-StepSettings
    InterfaceTo subtopics
    CreateTo subtopics
    PrintingTo subtopics
    ExercisesTo subtopics

Project 2: PowerPoint FormattingTo subtopics

Project 3: Advanced PowerPoint To subtopics


Methods to open an existing presentation:

There are basically three way to open an existing presentation: from the Open dialog, from a list of recent files, or directly from Explorer's list of files.

  • Open dialog:
    • Icon: PowerPoint 2002 2002: Start menu: Open Office Document Menu: Start | Open Office Document (not installed with PowerPoint 2003)
    • PowerPoint Toolbar: Open button Button: Open
    • PowerPoint Menu: File  |  Open  Menu: File | Open

    • Task Pane:

      Pane: New Presentation - More presentations...Icon: PowerPoint 2002 2002: More presentations... link in New Presentation task pane

      Pane: New PresentationIcon: PowerPoint 2003 2003:
      New Presentation task pane, the link From existing presentation...

      Pane: Getting Started - Open- More...Also, Getting Started task pane, the link More.... in the Open section


  • List of recent files:
    • Menu: Start | My Recent DocumentsStart menu:
      Recent Documents or My Recent Documents or Documents lists the 15 most recent documents opened by any program

    • Menu: File | recent documents listPowerPoint Menu: List at the bottom of File menu of recent PowerPoint documents. Default is to show 4.
    • Pane: New Presentation - recent files listTask Pane:
      Icon: PowerPoint 2002 New Presentation task pane, list at top of pane
      (Same list as on the File menu)

      Pane: Getting Started - Open - recent filesIcon: PowerPoint 2003 Getting Started task pane, list in the Open section

  • Explorer: Double-click a presentation file to open it.Explorer:  Find the presentation in Explorer and double-click it. PowerPoint will open and then open the presentation.

Dialog: Options - General tab - Recent FilesTipRecent Files List: Most programs remember the last 4 files you opened, but PowerPoint and other Office programs allow you to increase that number to as many as 9 in the Options dialog: Tools | Options | General tab Your choices about recent files apply only to PowerPoint, not to all Office programs.


You won't use all of these choices here, just enough to get you going.

Icon Step-by-Step 

Step-by-Step: Open & Close

 Icon Step-by-Step

What you will learn:

to open PowerPoint when Office is installed
to open PowerPoint when it is installed alone
to open a presentation from a disk
to use Save As
to open a presentation from the Internet
to close a presentation
to close PowerPoint

Start with: Monitor with Desktop (Windows Desktop with no applications open.) 

Open Blank Presentation: Shortcut to New Document (MS Office XP)

If you have PowerPoint installed by itself or a version of MS Office besides Office XP, skip to the next section.

  1. Open the Start menu and click on  New Office Document .

    Icon: WinXP Start | All Programs | New Office Document

    Menu: Start | New Office Document (WinXP)  New Office document command on Start menu

    Start menu: WinXP and Win98

    A dialog box will appear with tabs for different types of documents, depending on what Office applications you have installed.

  2. Dialog - New Office Document with Blank Presentation selectedSelect the General tab and Blank Presentation

    Your dialog probably has different tabs than the illustration shows.

    Different kinds of Office documents have different icons. The icons are somewhat different in different versions of Office. 

  3. Click on the OK button. PowerPoint opens with a fresh blank presentation, with the unexciting name Presentation1.
    Do not close PowerPoint.

Open Blank Presentation: Shortcut to PowerPoint

This method also works when you have installed any version of Microsoft Office or just PowerPoint by itself.

  1. Start menu with PowerPoint installed but not OfficeClick on   Start  |  Programs  |  Microsoft PowerPoint .

    Menu: Start | All Programs | Microsoft PowerPointIcon: WinXP Start | All Programs |  Microsoft PowerPoint 

    PowerPoint 2002/03 will open with a blank presentation.

  2. Menu: Window | Presentation2From the menu, select  Window . At the bottom of this menu is a list of the open presentations.
    Now if you opened the blank presentation in the steps above, you would expect to have two PowerPoint windows open - both with blank presentations. But, not necessarily. Depending on your version of PowerPoint you may see Presentation2 instead of Presentation1. Unexpected!
    Leave the blank presentation open.

Open Existing Presentation: from disk

Now that PowerPoint is open, you need to see how to open an existing presentation.

Start with: resource files installed, PowerPoint with blank document (PowerPoint open)

  1. Dialog: Open - socialissues.pptClick Button: Open the Open button on PowerPoint's Standard toolbar. The Open dialog appears. 
  2. In the Open dialog, navigate to the default location:
     C:\My Documents\complit101\presentations\socialissues.ppt  
    or type the path yourself.

    Dialog: Open - text boxes for socialissues.ppt

    Icon: TroubleError message: You will get an error message if the resource files were not installed to the default folder. You will need to find where they were put and either type that path in the text box or else navigate in the Open dialog to the correct location.

    Icon: TroubleIf you navigate to the right location but do not see any presentations, make sure that the text box Files of type: is showing All PowerPoint Presentations or All Microsoft PowerPoint Files.

  3. socialissues.ppt open in PowerPointClick on Open and the presentation opens in PowerPoint.

  4. Menu: Window - recent item socialissues.pptFrom the menu, select Window. The blank presentation has vanished. Only socialissues.ppt shows in the menu.
    Clearly, PowerPoint views these initial blank documents as disposable and uninteresting!

Save Presentation

  1. Dialog: Save As - socialissues.pptFrom the menu select  File  |  Save As . The Save As dialog opens.
  2. Icon: Class diskIn the Save As dialog, save the presentation to your Class disk in the folder presentations with its same name,  socialissues.ppt .
    Icon: TroubleIf the folder presentations does not exist, create it using the New Folder button Button: New Folder on the toolbar.
    Icon: Full Floppy DiskHow to handle a full disk
  3. Close a presentation with the Close button on the Menu barClose the presentation by clicking Button: Close the Close button at the right on the Menu bar. (Be careful to click the correct button or you will close PowerPoint instead of just the presentation.)

    PowerPoint will show a gray area where the Normal view would be.

Existing Presentation: from Web with PowerPoint

If you know the URL for a presentation that is stored on the Internet, you can open it directly from PowerPoint. You won't be able to save back to the Internet location unless you have the correct login and password.

  1. If necessary, open PowerPoint.
  2. Click the Open button Button: Open. The Open dialog appears.
  3. In the File name text box, type:
    You will see a message about connecting to the web server, unless it flicks by too fast to see.
    Message: Connecting to web server
    A login dialog appears.
    Icon: TroubleError message appears: Connect to the Internet first and then try again.
  4. Dialog: Log inClick on Cancel.
    Next you will see a message telling you that you do not have permission to make changes.

    Message: You do not have permission to make changes
  5. Click Yes to open a read-only copy. The login dialog appears again.
  6. Click on Cancel again.
    The presentation opens in PowerPoint, marked Read only.
    Titlebar: Read Only
    This means that to save your changes you must change the name and/or location of the presentation.
  7. Close PowerPoint by clicking its Close button at the right of the Title Bar.

Existing Presentation: from Web with Internet Explorer

As you browse the web, you may find a link to a presentation file. Clicking the link usually will  load the presentation in the browser window, not in PowerPoint itself. Confusing!

You can edit such a presentation, but it takes a few extra steps and things will look a bit strange.

If you do not have the resource files on your hard disk, you can open them directly from the Internet this way. You will probably want to save the file to your own disk instead of opening it directly so you can have the normal PowerPoint interface.

Icon: TroubleError: Can't open two with same name
If you did not close the presentation from the steps above, you may get a message telling you that you cannot open two presentations with the same name at the same time, even when they are in different locations.

Icon: TroubleLogin dialog: If you see a login dialog, click Cancel. You should still be able to view the presentation. You just cannot save it back to the Internet location.

Start with: Internet Explorer Internet Explorer open (You probably have it open to read the directions!)

  1. Open a new browser window by using the key combo CTRL + N. (This assumes you are reading these directions in a browser window!)
  2. In the new window, type in the address text box: https://www.jegsworks.com/lessons/resources/

    The %20 in the address stands for a blank space. URLs aren't allowed to have spaces.  

  3. Click Button: Go Button: Go (Win98) the Go button or press ENTER.
    Icon: TroubleIf a login dialog appears, click on Cancel and choose Yes in the message box about a Read-Only copy.

    Dialog: File Download - socialissues.pptDepending on your version of Internet Explorer, you may see the File Download dialog.

    You have the choice of Open or Save.

    • Open: The presentation will download and be displayed by Internet Explorer.
    • Save: The file will be downloaded to your hard disk. To open it you must use one of the techniques above.

  4. Choose Open, if necessary. Internet Explorer downloads the presentation into the browser window.

    Internet Explorer downloads the slide show and shows it in the browser window.

    Hmm. You can view this show, but can you edit it? The Edit button IE Button: Edit - grayed out is grayed out. There is a way! First, view the show.

  5. View slides: Click the slide to advance to the next step until you are back at the beginning. You just ran your first slide show! Now let's see about editing the presentation.
  6. Click Tools button the Tools button. (This may not have shown on the toolbar earlier!) Nothing happens yet! Unexpected. For some types of documents (like Word and Excel documents) the Tools button appears when the document is opened in Internet Explorer. Clicking the Tools button adds the toolbars of the program that created the document to the window. This does not seem to work for a PowerPoint presentation. But, never fear! We can handle this!
  7. IE Menu: Edit | Edit SlidesSelect from the menu  Edit  |  Edit Slides . This command may not have been there before!
    The display changes to a PowerPoint Normal view.

    If new toolbars did not appear, click the Tools button Tools button. PowerPoint's own toolbars appear! But you are still in an Internet Explorer window. So many toolbars!!

    If your window is small, you may not have much room left for the presentation!

    IE showing Powerpoint toolbars

  8. If you did not save the presentation in the directions above, from the menu select  File  |  Save As . The Save As dialog opens.
    Class diskIn the Save As dialog, save the presentation to your Class floppy disk with its same name,  socialissues.ppt .
    Icon: Full Floppy DiskHow to handle a full Class disk

    WarningWhile you can open a presentation from the Internet, you cannot save it back to the Internet location unless you have a login and password. Save may not even show on the File menu! You must use Save As to a location on your computer, to a removable disk, or to an Internet location that you have permission to access.

  9. Close the Internet Explorer window that shows the presentation.