PowerPoint Slideshows (.pps) open as PowerPoint Files

Hmm. One of our salesmen called up today with an interesting problem. We’d published some PowerPoint presentations as slide shows (.pps files). If you open one of these, it should just launch PowerPoint into the presentation. However, he was opening them from our website and they were opening as a normal PowerPoint (.ppt) file. That is they were opening ready for editing, not in presentation mode. Weird.

I remembered having seen this before, but a bit of poking around showed that my fix was still in place. Curious. When I clicked on the link to the presentation I got the ‘Download or Open’ dialog thingy:

Vista's File Open or Save Dialog in Internet Explorer

First off I noticed that the file extension was .pps – good. I tried opening the file – and it opened it as if it were a .ppt file. Weird. So then I tried the other option – I saved it to my local machine and opened it locally. This time it opened correctly – it opened as a slideshow.

Hmm. So, they’re the same file, but something different is happening when they open. I wondered if it was to do with the HTTP headers, but the same difference occurs when the file is being served with the application/vnd.ms-pps or just text/html (we run MCMS 2002 on a IIS webserver but publish as static content to an Apache server. They serve the file as different mime types, but have the same result – Open opens the file for editing and Save and open shows the slideshow).

Next up, I tried the same experiment using Firefox. If you choose to Open the file rather than save it, it opens the slideshow – correctly! And if you save it, well, it saves the .pps file which, again, opens correctly.

text/html mime-type application/vnd.ms-pps mimetype
“Open” “Save” and open “Open” “Save” and open
Firefox OK OK OK OK

So it looks like Internet Explorer will not open a .pps file as a slideshow irrespective of the mime type sent by the server and the .pps extension (and it’s file association in windows). However, if you save the file locally, it will. Weird.

The only thing that I can think is that this is some sort of security feature, but it’s a bit odd – after all, shouldn’t Firefox do this then?

PowerPoint Slideshows (.pps) open as PowerPoint Files

40 thoughts on “PowerPoint Slideshows (.pps) open as PowerPoint Files

  1. Nope, I didn’t manage to get that working.

    But I pointed to our salesman that it was easy to get in and see his comments/notes, even if it did work properly. He turned pale, and then decided to remove his notes. After that was done, well, it doesn’t really matter if it opens like a .pps file or a .ppt file.

    Still, a strange behaviour.

  2. Mahi says:

    Thanks for the reply Andy.

    later on if you get the solution please let me know.

    Also if i will get some clue will let you know.



  3. Nope, I’d not seen that – good to know the settings for .PPTX files – but my problem with with ye olde .PPT files

  4. Deb says:

    I got the same problem – my .pps files open in edit mode when opened from a web page link. Please let me know what you find out.

  5. Mahi Waldia says:

    Hi Andy/Deb,

    Here is the solution:

    I take a bit different root to solve this problem.

    Requirement: to view .pps file in show mode in web page.

    Solution: you need to save .pps file as .pptv extension and upload on website where you need to see in show mode. The icon may be not same as power point but your file will open in show mode in web page link.

    For this You need to change one more option in webserver setting.

    You will have to supply correct MIME Type in website properties.

    right click on webserver name PropritiesMIME Type

    Extension: .pptv
    MIME Type: application/vnd.ms-powerpoint

    The above process will open the file in show mode within Explore.

    If you need to open powerpoint file in full screen. Then you need to change some registry setting.



  6. Nick says:

    If you guys are still trying to figure this out, here’s what worked for me.


    *Note* If you’re running office 2k7, you’ll need to do this to the PowerPoint.Show.12 key as well as the .8

    Open the registry and browse to HKLMSoftwareClassesPowerPoint.Show.8
    Rightclick this and choose New, DWORD Value
    Name it BrowserFlags
    Doubleclick it to open it for editing
    Click Base: Hexadecimal
    The value you assign here will depend on how you want your links to PPT files to behave when clicked:

    To open the file as a read-only file in Normal (edit) view in PowerPoint, set Value data to a (lowercase letter A)

    To open the file in SlideShow view in PowerPoint, set Value data to 8

    To open the file in edit mode within the browser, set Value data to 1 (one).
    Note that only limited editing is possible and that the behavior’s a bit unpredictable if the user launches a slide show from within this mode.
    To open the file in SlideShow view within the browser, set Value data to 0 (zero)

  7. Ahmad Madkhana says:

    Dear All,

    After changing the registry.
    Finally I fixed the problem and here are the steps:
    1-Go to “C:Program FilesCommon FilesMicrosoft SharedWeb Server Extensions12TEMPLATEXML” or 60 folder in case wss2.0 version.
    2-Open the file “DOCICON.XML” using text editor.
    3-Locate the line that start with “<Mapping Key=”PowerPoint.Slide” Value=”ichtmppt.gif”……” and replaced with the following “”.
    4-Locate the line that start with “<Mapping Key=”pps” Value=”icpps.gif”…..” and replaced with “”.
    5-Save and close.
    6-Open the file “htmltransinfo.xml” using text editor.
    7-Locate the line that start with “<Mapping Extension=”pps”…..” and replaced with “”.
    8-Finally restart IIS and pray to me loool.

    Good luck All.
    Ahmad Madkhana

  8. Charles Boham says:


    All of these options would solve the problems on the client side. Is there no solution to allow enterprise users to sort this issue out. I work for a company with more than 2500 staff and realistically cannot change registry files for all of them.

    Please help…

  9. I have not been successful changing the registry. This wouldn’t work for us anyway since it is only a local solution.

    However the simplest work around for us has been to save the PPT file in PDF format. You will lose the higher level PPT stuff, like animations, but the slides will be viewable and not editable.

  10. Derrick says:

    None of these suggestions are viable for a situation where the .PPS is:
    – Macro enabled to advance per slide based on action buttons and VB coded buttons
    – Kiosk mode

    I do not have a presentation where the slides advance from 1 to 2 to 3, etc, etc….

    This presentation uses a drill down approach and can jump from slide 4 to slide 80 so converting the presentation will not work.

    Is there another option that isnt local based?

  11. Check my blog for complete solution that work in my case,

    Note that you can make group policy on all PC for all users.


  12. Bones says:

    Save yourself a lot of time and effort!

    Just use the Firefox browser…..no problem with opening ppt/pps files (in the show mode)

  13. Mark says:

    I am suffering a similar issue, It is affecting some (not all) browsers on my network.
    Howver my issue is the browser not correctly opening word docs from a sharepoint site. After much digging around I came across the following article.
    I am starting my testing for this at the moment HOWEVER i have to reconfigure it for office 2003.
    i will roll out the reg hacks as part of our kix login script if it all tests out OK.

  14. Jason Parker says:

    Hi – I see people are still asking about this, so I thought I’d share what our office is doing.

    *Note: This is a workaround, not a solution, and is only worthwhile if there is no crucial animation in the PowerPoint show.

    First, make sure that you have installed the Save as PDF add-on for Office. Save the file as a PDF instead of a PPS. When the user opens the uploaded PDF, it will be displayed in their default PDF reader, generally one page (slide) at a time. While it will still be surrounded by an application chrome, it will not be editable, will not have all the slides on the left, and will not contain notes.

    Hopefully this will work for some of you that have minimal animations. You may see this positively impact your file size as a side benefit.

  15. Jane says:

    what a shame !! this issue still exist in SharePoint 2010 …
    HELLO MICROSOFT !! we need a workaround for this from the server.


  16. kris says:

    I agree with Jane, this needs to be fixed by Microsoft. Unacceptable, that nearly two years and no resolution.

  17. Dennis Krumsieg says:

    Another option is to place the .ppsx files on a public shared drive within your organization and use a Page Viewer Web part to display the folder in SharePoint.

    Doing this allows the .ppsx file to actually open in a slideshow like it’s supposed to open. Disclaimer: It’s an ugly work around, but it works!

  18. Donna Ezell says:


    Your solution is the one I am attempting to use, but I have a question. I have linked the PowerPoint via Page View Web Part, but the Web part looks like a blank box. If the userclicks on the quick launch for that web part, it works, but there is no icon on anything on the page view that will prompt a user to click to that Web part. Any suggestions?

  19. fredellini says:

    try to create a .htaccess with:

    AddType application/vnd.openxmlformats .docx .pptx .xlsx
    AddType application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.presentationml.presentation .pptx
    AddType application/vnd.ms-powerpoint.template.macroEnabled.12 .potm
    AddType application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.presentationml.template .potx
    AddType application/vnd.ms-powerpoint.addin.macroEnabled.12 .ppam
    AddType application/vnd.ms-powerpoint.slideshow.macroEnabled.12 .ppsm
    AddType application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.presentationml.slideshow .ppsx
    AddType application/vnd.ms-powerpoint.presentation.macroEnabled.12 .pptm
    AddType application/application/vnd.ms-powerpoint .ppt .pot .pps .ppa

  20. Mann says:

    We have this issue with our company, and will be linking the folders with outlook for our sales force. Until there is a fix for this, I don’t think we can do this yet. My PowerPoint has links, embeded files, etc. that will not work in PDF. If anyone has a fix yet, please let me know.

  21. Kari says:

    Sounds like these are solutions which will only work if you own the computer on which the presentation is being viewed. Our presentation was going to be linked from our public website for our clients to view – obviously we will not have access to their registries to make these changes. Our presentation has custom animations so saving in PDF format is less than ideal

  22. Paul says:

    Really frustrated by this. Customer worked hard building a PPT (PPTX) with cool triggers, internal navigation, etc. Looks like crap in PPT mode, but when converted to PPS with all of the animated elements hidden, it is really nice.

    So now the PPS is on our intranet and the link to it opens in editing mode like a PPT.

    I do remember hyperlinks to PPS file opening in full screen, slide show mode. What happened Microsoft?

  23. Rob says:

    It’s crazy that one Microsoft product breaks the native functionality of a file type created by another Microsoft product.

    Exactly the same problem here, except we’re looking at launching a set of instructions to our users through ppsx on our sharepoint intranet as it will, to a degree, limit their ability to print/save/email these instructions if they subsequently leave the firm. Not the most elegant solution to copy protecting something but we felt it would deter 99% of our users on the basis that they are just not that tech savvy.

    If I get a solution to work here I’ll be sure to post it.

  24. Vinces says:

    I have a soluction: I did set MIME type to .ppsx and .pps to older version of Power Point:
    just: application/application/vnd.ms-powerpoint .ppt .pps .ppsx
    and not: application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.presentationml.slideshow .ppsx
    It’s working

  25. So the point of saving in PPS or PPSX is to have it open in presentation mode with the end user having default settings assuming the end user is using THEIR product!..

    Idiot developer has completely ignored that this no longer works and just sent it out the door as is- with a Completely non-functioning option

    Nice to see yet one more example of corporate America in it’s prime of complete arrogance and “who cares attitude” as America crumbles. – Have fun donating outdated computer hardware to schools without electricity Mr. Gates and rest well,.. Rest well… Your legacy will live as long as it takes for our society to completely collapse 🙂 … perfect!


  26. Sammy says:

    Tracy, I had to laugh when I read your comment; I am feeling like you . . . ready to tear somebody’s head off. Based on this single thread, this issue has been going on for FOUR YEARS! Unbelieveable!

    .pps and .ppsx should open as slide SHOWS however they are accessed. Period. End of story.

  27. Tracie says:

    I was trying to email a PPSX file and it opens in the edit mode instead of show. I guess I don’t have to waste my time looking for a solution since this has been a problem for Four years and it is not fix yet.

  28. I am experiencing the same problem but from completely the opposite direction…
    I am working on a WSS 3.0 site collection (yes, I know!) to which users are uploading PowerPoint 2007 *.ppt files. When users open links to these files on SharePoint, the file opens as a full screen slide show (i.e. as though the file was a *.pps), which is usually not what the User wants (typically they want to print the presentation or edit it).
    I know that when the User opens the file, they usually get the option to “Open” the file (which triggers the screen show) or “Save” it (which would enable them to edit the file and then upload it again, but breaks check-out/in and hence versioning), but this requires education of the Users.
    I note the solutions proposed above regarding registry editing (not really practical for each of the ~200 site users) and server-based solutions (not practical because I am not the SharePoint server administrator), but really I need something that can be implemented at SharePoint Site Collection admin level.
    Up until now we have been getting around this problem by linking to the document folder immediately above the *.ppt file, with the Users then selecting the file they need to open/edit. However, truncating the URL to point to the folder above the file to open it in Explorer view no longer works with effect from IE8, and we are generally trying to move from document folders (boo!) to views grouped using content types and document categories (yay!) to improve findability and flexibility.
    So far, my search for a solution is not going too well…
    I hope that if someone finds a solution they may post it here?

  29. Jason says:

    I Finally found a solution that works…. After I tried all of the stuff on this site and others including IANA site combinations of AddType application/…….. to no avail. The trick is to force IE to download the powerpoint first before it is opened / run. This can be done by setting the content-disposition header to attachment… With Apache use your .htaccess file and add this code.

    ForceType application/octet-stream
    Header set Content-Disposition attachment

    This will cause the file to download first then open. Once the file is downloaded windows will open it based on the file extension not MIME types.

  30. L.A. says:

    I have the same issue and would love to see a resolution. Please post one if any one finds one!

  31. Theo says:

    I had same problem but think I have solved it. The problem started after recently updating my Office 365. None of my Powerpoint Show files (.ppsx or .pps) would open as Shows and all would open in Power Point as an edit file.
    I went to the properties of a file saved as .ppsx which would open in power point in the edit mode instead of opening as a slide show.
    In the Properties I went to Opens with, clicked Change then clicked on Power Point and clicked apply and OK.
    I saw that the icon had changed slightly and saw that the icons of all my .ppsx and .pps files had slightly changed and all the .ppsx and .pps files now open as a slide show and no longer in Power Point as an edit file.
    Don’t know what happened but think that when you work in the latest Power Point and save the file as a .ppsx it really does not save it as a .ppsx but as a .pptx (as it says it must in the Options in the PP program!!). By resetting it’s Opens with afterwards in properties it has magically adopted the .ppsx and changed all the files with that suffix and with .pps to open as shows! Think it bypasses the glitch in the actual programme where it states in Options – Save that it must save as a presentation with no alternative such as a show. To see this do the following:
    In Power Point click on File then on Options then on Save in the window that opens. Then check under Save presentations and then next to Save files in this format there is a window which only has 5 choices for the user and they are all forms of Presentation but no mention of Show. So despite you selecting to save it as a .ppsx it subliminally really saves it as a .pptx. The file has a .ppsx suffix but only adopts it when Power Point is reselected in the properties of the file. It then automatically did all similar files on my PC.

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