How certain features behave in web-based PowerPoint

Using PowerPoint in a web browser lets you create and share create and share basic presentations. You can work simultaneously with others and present your slide show from anywhere. But web-based PowerPoint doesn't include all the features that desktop PowerPoint does. This article describes what you can and can't do in web-based PowerPoint.

There are two versions of web-based PowerPoint:

  • The majority of people, including anyone not using web-based Office in a business or school setting, have PowerPoint Online. Read on for information about how its features behave.

  • Some of our business and school customers instead use PowerPoint Web App, which is included with SharePoint Server 2010 or SharePoint Server 2013. If you're using these Office Web Apps, switch to the PowerPoint Web App tab of this article to read about how its features behave.

Opening and saving

Desktop feature

In PowerPoint Online

Save

PowerPoint Online saves your work automatically each time you make a change, so there’s no need for a Save button. However, you can save your presentation locally.

Password protection

Presentations that were protected with a password, digitally signed, or protected with Information Rights Management in desktop PowerPoint can be opened only in the desktop program. To control who can open your presentation, use the Sharing settings in OneDrive or SharePoint library.

Viewing and printing

Desktop feature

In PowerPoint Online

Print

In PowerPoint Online, you can print one slide per page, with headers and footers. (For details, see Print your slides.) To get more printing layout options, such as handouts and notes, click Edit in PowerPoint, and print in the PowerPoint desktop application.

Normal View

Use Editing View to create your slides.

Outline, Master, and Slide Sorter Views

These views are only available in desktop PowerPoint.

Reading View

You can flip through slides and show or hide speaker notes.

Presenter View

You need desktop PowerPoint to use Presenter View. Of course, you can still present your slide show in PowerPoint Online.

Slide Show View

You can run your slide shows in a full-screen window. Click each slide or press the spacebar to go to the next slide. Right-click a slide to go back, go to a specific slide, or end the show.

Video and audio

You can play video and audio in Reading View and Slide Show if you have Silverlight installed. You’ll need Flash for videos that are linked from a website. Keep an eye on the file size, because PowerPoint Online won’t insert large media files. For embedded media, the size limit can be from 50-100MB, and for WAV files the limit is 100KB.

Speaker notes

You can show or hide Speaker Notes, but currently, you can’t print them in PowerPoint Online.

Zoom

PowerPoint Online doesn’t have built-in zoom, but you can use your browser’s zoom feature to change the size of the content.

Rulers and gridlines

Rulers and gridlines are only available in desktop PowerPoint, but PowerPoint Online has smart guides that automatically appear to help you align objects.

Editing and formatting

Desktop feature

In PowerPoint Online

Create, delete, reorder, or hide slides

You can add, reorder, hide, and delete slides. You can choose a slide layout when you create a new slide.

Copy and Paste

Text pasted in PowerPoint Online keeps the formatting from where you copied it. You can reformat the text after pasting it into the destination presentation. You can copy and paste pictures from one slide to another in the same presentation and also copy and paste from other presentations or applications. .

Font size and formatting

You can apply bold, italic, underline, font size, and color, including using Format Painter.

Paragraph formatting

You can align paragraphs left, right, or center; run text right-to-left or left-to-right; increase or decrease indentation; format paragraphs as a bulleted or numbered list.

Format background

You can format the background of one or more slides with color or a picture.

Numbering and bullets

You can apply built-in numbering or bullet formats.

Find and Replace

The Find command is available on the Home tab of the Ribbon. The Replace command is not available in PowerPoint Online.

Themes

You can choose from a limited gallery of built-in themes when you add a new slide to your presentation. Themes added to a presentation from desktop PowerPoint are preserved in PowerPoint Online.

Animation effects

You can create many types animation effects in PowerPoint Online. Animations added using desktop PowerPoint (that are not available in PowerPoint Online) are preserved and will play in the slide show, but you can’t modify them there.

Transitions

You can choose from a limited gallery of transitions in PowerPoint Online. Transitions added in desktop PowerPoint are preserved, but can only be played or changed in desktop PowerPoint.

Customize or broadcast slide show

Options for setting up and customizing the slide show, broadcasting the slide show, or setting up monitors aren't available in PowerPoint Online.

Co-authoring

Multiple authors can work simultaneously in PowerPoint Online. Co-authoring works with PowerPoint 2010 or later and PowerPoint for Mac 2011.

Check spelling

Red squiggle underline appears under misspelled words. A right-click menu offers spelling suggestions to choose from.

Inserting things

Desktop feature

In PowerPoint Online

Hyperlinks

You can insert, edit, and follow text hyperlinks. You can’t add a hyperlink to a picture or shape. Bookmark links work but you can’t edit them in PowerPoint Online. See Add a hyperlink to text.

Tables

You can insert and edit tables in PowerPoint Online.

Video and audio

Video and audio content play in Reading View and Slide Show View. You can resize, move, and delete video and audio controls in PowerPoint Online. You can insert online videos. However, to insert video or audio from your PC, you’ll need to use desktop PowerPoint.

Pictures

Insert pictures or clip art from your computer or the web. You can move, resize, and crop pictures, and you can apply picture styles. More sophisticated picture formatting features, such as applying special effects and removing the background are not available in PowerPoint Online. To capture screen shots, you can use desktop PowerPoint.

Shapes, drawings, or text boxes

Add a text box or choose from a gallery of shapes. Apply styles, which define fill, outline, and shadow effects. Move, resize, rotate, or order shapes and text boxes in layers, back-to-front. Ungroup shapes to work with them individually.

SmartArt graphics

Insert a SmartArt graphic, switch to a different layout or color scheme, apply Smart Art styles, and edit text.

Charts and equations

You can’t insert these in PowerPoint Online, but if you insert them using desktop PowerPoint, PowerPoint Online displays them as expected.

WordArt

Not available in PowerPoint Online. If you want to apply WordArt effects to text, tap or click Edit in PowerPoint.

Symbols

A limited set of symbols can be inserted in PowerPoint Online. If the font for displaying a symbol is not available, the symbol is displayed as a placeholder.

Headers and footers

Headers and footers, including date and slide numbers, cannot be inserted, edited, or deleted in PowerPoint Online, but it displays them as expected. See Add slide numbers or the date and time.

Tip:   You can add a text box to act as a header or footer.

Macros

You can view, edit, print, and share presentations that contain macros, but to run the macros, tap or click Edit in PowerPoint.

ActiveX controls, embedded OLE objects

You can’t insert or edit these in PowerPoint Online, but they are displayed as expected.

Linked pictures

These are preserved in the presentation but are hidden in Reading View and Slide Show View. They display as placeholders in Editing View.

Reviewing

This feature

In PowerPoint Online

Proofing tools

You can check the spelling of a word and you can set the proofing language.

Comments

View comments in Reading View; edit them in Editing View. See Show comments in a presentation and Add comments to a presentation.

File formats supported in PowerPoint Web App

PowerPoint Web App opens presentations in these formats:

  • PowerPoint Presentation (.pptx)

  • PowerPoint Template (.potx)

  • PowerPoint Show (.ppsx)

  • PowerPoint Macro-Enabled Presentation (.pptm), PowerPoint Macro-Enabled Template (.potm), or PowerPoint Macro-Enabled Show (.ppsm).
    The presentation can be opened, but macros do not run. These presentations cannot be edited in the browser.

  • PowerPoint 97-2003 Presentation (.ppt) or PowerPoint 97-2003 Show (.pps)
    PowerPoint Web App displays presentations in these formats, but to edit the presentation in the browser, PowerPoint Web App saves a new copy of the presentation in .pptx format. PowerPoint Web App can’t save presentations in the .ppt or pps formats.

  • PowerPoint 97-2003 Template (.pot),
    PowerPoint Web App displays presentations in this format, but they cannot be edited in the browser.

  • OpenDocument Presentation (.odp)
    This format is supported for presentations stored in a SharePoint library.

PowerPoint Web App can’t open presentations in other file formats. For example, these formats are not supported: Open Document Format (ODF), PowerPoint Add-in (.ppam), PowerPoint 97-2003 Add-in (.ppa), Rich Text Format (RTF), and Portable Document Format (PDF).

Features supported for viewing and printing

When you view a presentation in PowerPoint Web App, you can advance through the slides or play the slide show in the browser.

If you want PowerPoint features for printing (such as printing handouts) or you are using PowerPoint Web App in SharePoint, click Open in PowerPoint, and print in the PowerPoint desktop application.

When you are viewing a presentation, some features work differently in the browser than they do in the PowerPoint desktop application. To use features that are not available in PowerPoint Web App, click Open in PowerPoint.

This feature

Works like this in PowerPoint Web App

Normal, Slide Sorter, Notes Page, Reading View, and Master views

Reading view provides a way to advance through the slides, to jump to a particular slide, and to display or hide slide notes. Editing view in PowerPoint Web App is similar to Normal view in the PowerPoint desktop application. Slide Sorter, Notes Page, and Master views are not available in PowerPoint Web App.

Slide Show

PowerPoint Web App plays slide shows in a full-screen window. Press the spacebar to advance the slides. Slide animations play, but transitions from one slide to the next play as fades.

Video and audio

Video and audio content does not play in PowerPoint Web App, but it is preserved in the file.

Outline View

Outline View is available on the File tab in Reading view.

View slide notes

Notes for each slide can be displayed or hidden.

Zoom

Zoom is not available in PowerPoint Web App. Using your browser’s zoom enlarges text of the PowerPoint Web App user interface, but slide content is not enlarged.

Rulers and gridlines

PowerPoint Web App does not display rulers and gridlines.

Features that differ between the browser and the desktop

When you edit a presentation, some features work differently in the browser than they do in the PowerPoint desktop application. The following tables describe how PowerPoint Web App supports features that might apply to your presentations. To use features beyond what’s available in PowerPoint Web App, click Open in PowerPoint.

Opening and saving

This feature

Works like this in PowerPoint Web App

File protection: IRM, digital signature, or password

PowerPoint Web App can’t open presentations that are encrypted with a password, digitally signed, or protected with Information Rights Management. Open these presentations in the PowerPoint desktop application.

Save

PowerPoint Web App saves your work every time you make a change. There is no Save command.

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Editing and formatting

This feature

Works like this in PowerPoint Web App

Create, delete, reorder, hide slides

Add, reorder, duplicate, hide, and delete slides. Choose a layout when you create a new slide.

Copy and Paste

Copy and paste text. Text pasted in PowerPoint Web App keeps the formatting of where it was copied. You might need to format the text after pasting it, to match formatting of surrounding text.

Font formatting

Apply bold, italics, underline, font, size, and color. Note: the Format Painter command is not available in PowerPoint Web App.

Paragraph formatting

Align paragraphs left, right, or centered; run text right-to-left or left-to-right; increase or decrease indentation; format paragraphs as a bulleted or numbered list.

Numbering and bullets

Apply built-in numbering or bullet formats.

Find

Find and Replace are not available in PowerPoint Web App.

Theme

Theme is preserved in the presentation but can’t be edited in PowerPoint Web App.

Slide masters and slide layouts

Slides in PowerPoint Web App are based on the slide master and layouts that were used to create the slide in the PowerPoint desktop application. For presentations created in PowerPoint Web App, slide masters and layouts are based on default settings. Choose among a gallery of slide layouts when you add a slide to a presentation, but you cannot change slide masters or modify layouts in PowerPoint Web App.

Animations and transitions

These are preserved in the presentation but can’t be added or changed in PowerPoint Web App.

Slide show

Options for setting up and customizing the slide show, broadcasting the slide show, or setting up monitors are not available in PowerPoint Web App.

Co-authoring

Multiple authors can work simultaneously in PowerPoint 2010 for presentations stored in a SharePoint library. Co-authoring is not available in PowerPoint Web App.

Comments

Comments are hidden in PowerPoint Web App, but they are preserved in the presentation. Comments can’t be added in PowerPoint Web App.

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Objects

This feature

Works like this in PowerPoint Web App

Hyperlinks

Insert, edit, and follow hyperlinks. Bookmark links work, but cannot be edited in PowerPoint Web App.

Tables

Tables are displayed but cannot be edited (other than to delete them) in PowerPoint Web App.

Pictures and clip art

Insert pictures stored on your computer, or insert clip art available on Office.com. You can apply a number of picture styles, but pictures and clip art cannot be moved or resized. More sophisticated features for working with pictures, such as applying effects and cropping, are not available in PowerPoint Web App. You can’t create screenshots in PowerPoint Web App, but screenshots that are in a presentation display as pictures in PowerPoint Web App.

In SharePoint, the ability to insert clip art is available only if it has been switched on by the SharePoint administrator.

Video and audio

These are preserved in the presentation, but cannot be added in PowerPoint Web App. They are displayed as placeholders.

Shapes, charts, equations, and ink

These can’t be inserted in PowerPoint Web App, but PowerPoint Web App displays them as expected. In Editing view they appear as pictures that cannot be edited.

SmartArt

Insert SmartArt, switch to a different layout or color scheme, apply Smart Art styles, and edit text.

Text boxes and WordArt

These can’t be inserted in PowerPoint Web App, but PowerPoint Web App displays them as expected. In Editing view, edit and format text. If you want to apply text effects to WordArt, click Open in PowerPoint.

Symbols

These can’t be inserted or edited in PowerPoint Web App. If the font for displaying a symbol is not available, the symbol is displayed as a placeholder.

Headers and footers

Headers and footers, including date and slide numbers, cannot be inserted, edited, or deleted in PowerPoint Web App, but PowerPoint Web App displays them as expected.

Macros

You can view, edit, print, and share presentations that contain macros, but to run the macros click Open in PowerPoint.

ActiveX controls, embedded OLE objects

These can’t be inserted or edited in PowerPoint Web App, but PowerPoint Web App displays them as expected.

Linked pictures

These are preserved in the presentation but are hidden in Reading view and Slide Show. They are displayed as placeholders in Editing view.

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