Why Won't PowerPoint Open My Open Office File?

Page content

So, you just got a shiny new file from an OpenOffice user. You tried to open it with your trusty copy of Microsoft PowerPoint, but along the way something went wrong. The file will not open in PowerPoint no matter what you do. Perhaps, at this juncture a frustrated phrase has escaped your lips. You were just about to shoot off an email requesting that the user send it to you in a more PowerPoint friendly format, but something stopped you. You had the foresight to realize that:

  1. A resend will waste your time.
  2. A reformat may not be possible for the sender.
  3. There may be a way to open the file and what is lacking is not technical capability, but your knowledge base.
  4. It is exactly these kinds of requests that drive native Linux and Mac users to complain about Windows users and their arrogance.

You want to do better, and get things going. That is why you are here to get the knowledge that you need to make things work. Kudos! Now let’s get down to business.

Are You Sure it is a Presentation?

I know that sounds like a very basic question, but if you are unfamiliar with the OpenOffice extensions, then you could easily make this mistake. Of course, if you are trying to open a word processor document or a spreadsheet, then you will not be able to open it with PowerPoint. To solve that one, here is a list of the extensions and their associated document type.

Change The Extension

If you are sure that what you are dealing with is a presentation then try changing the file extension to .ppt in order to open it. You may lose some formatting, and it has mixed results with Office ‘07, but it is worth a try. Just be aware that if it does not work then you should trash the file and re-download it. Or, with foresight, you could copy the original and make the extension change on the copy- so you don’t need to ask for it to be sent back.

OpenOffice Documents Can Be Saved As The Following File Types

  • OpenOffice.org 1.x Presentation (.sxi)
  • OpenOffice.org 1.x Presentation Template (.sti)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 97/2000/XP (.ppt and .pps)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 97/2000/XP Template (.pot)
  • StarDraw, StarImpress (.sda, .sdd, and .vor)
  • Unified Office Format presentation (.uop)

Do not try to save an OpenOffice document to any other formats, or the results will be useless.

Open it with An Intermediary

One quick fix is to use an intermediary program that can suitably speak both file formats. This digital translator is known as Google Documents and is available for free to the general public. In fact, if you have any kind of Google account (Gmail, Blogger, Google) at all, then you can just sign in at doc.google.com. From here just upload the presentation. You can then either simply view it online or export it as a PowerPoint file and open it on your PC. Nice and easy.

There you have it, your guide to trouble shooting an OpenOffice file that will not open in PowerPoint. Now you can also help your other Windows based friends to get file format savvy as well. Don’t worry, you don’t have to tell anyone you got some help on the side.