How to Convert Mac PowerPoint to PC PowerPoint

By Elizabeth Mott

The choices you make when you create a PowerPoint presentation in the Mac edition of the software affect how successfully you can share your work with people who work on Windows PCs. From the way you set up your slides to the visual and audio files you incorporate into them, select assets that offer cross-platform flexibility, and validate your work within PowerPoint itself before you send your files to others.

Typeface Troubles

When you build your PowerPoint presentation with the OpenType typefaces that ship with Microsoft Office, you rely on resources that both the Mac and the Windows editions of the software recognize and support. Older typefaces in PostScript Type 1 and TrueType formats present challenges because these font technologies organize their characters differently depending on the platform they support, and use file formats that install only under one operating system. If your presentations rely on special typefaces to comply with corporate identity systems or institutional use policies, verify that the Windows users with whom you share your files have access to the font software you use.

Problems With Images

To avoid missing and incompatible image files, follow cross-platform best practices when you use these assets in Mac PowerPoint presentations that you send to Windows users. Like the WMF format once popular under Windows, the Mac-specific PICT format can contain either vector or bitmapped resources. You may not see many PICT files on a Mac running a current version of OS X, and these graphics don't migrate successfully between operating systems. Embed artwork and audio resources directly in your presentations to ensure that they accompany your PowerPoint files when you send them to colleagues who use Windows PCs.

Multimedia Technicalities

Many PowerPoint presentations incorporate video footage and sound files to present tutorials or testimonials. Without special support for QuickTime file formats, Windows can't play videos that Macs support natively. To ensure cross-platform compatibility for presentations that incorporate video assets, stick with movie files in formats that both Macs and PCs can handle without the need to install special software. Convert your MOV files to AVI or MPEG formats to use them successfully under multiple operating systems. Likewise, use WAV or MP3 files for sound effects and audio, rather than Mac-native AIFF files.

Maintaining Compatibility

Microsoft PowerPoint offers you two opportunities to assess the cross-platform compatibility of your presentation files. Open the "View" menu and click "Compatibility Report" to check for problems that may interfere with file access in Windows versions of PowerPoint and in older editions of the software for Macs and PCs. PowerPoint triggers this same compatibility checker when you use the "Save As" command. The report lists any problems, explains them and offers you the choice of correcting or ignoring them. Use the XML-based PPTX file format when you save your files and avoid file names that contain punctuation other than hyphens and underscores.