Monday, September 14, 2009

How to Protect Your PowerPoint Files From Being Edited?


Many people need to protect PowerPoint files from changes. There are many reasons for this:

  • To send presentations for review only (but not editing)
  • To maintain ownership of the creative content
  • For legal reasons (for example, if the content has been approved by legal and financial counsel and may not be changed)
  • To provide presentations for others to deliver but not modify

You can choose from a number of techniques, depeding on your situation. Sometimes, you need to maintain animation for example; other times, you just need static slides. Here are some methods you can use.

Convert to images

If you don't have animation, you can convert the entire presentation to images, so that each slide contains an image of the original slide. Of course, people could still remove slides or images, but this method is easy and is often used for review and maintaining creative ownership. It also allows you to protect some slides and not others. This is useful if you want to allow people to change some of the slides. Follow these steps:

  1. Choose File> Save As. (In 2007, Office button> Save As.)
  2. In the Save As dialog box, click the Save as Type drop-down box and choose the JPG or PNG option. You can change the file name if you want or keep the default name.
  3. Click Save.
  4. At the dialog box asking if you want to export every slide or the current slide, click Every Slide.

convert PowerPoint to images

  1. Click OK at the dialog box that tells you were the image files were saved. PowerPoint creates a subfolder for them.

protect slide content

  1. Create a new presentation. You now need to insert the images, and there's a shortcut, the Photo Album feature. Choose Insert> Picture> New Photo Album. (In 2007, choose Insert tab> Illustrations group> Photo Album drop-down arrow> New Photo Album.)
  2. In the Photo Album dialog box, click the File/Disk button. Choose the images you created earlier and click Open. (You can press Shift and click the first, then the last image you saved earlier to select them all.)

Photo Album

  1. You'll return to the Photo Album dialog box. In the Album Layout section, choose the Picture Layout you want. Usually, you'll choose Fit to Slide or 1 Picture. Click Create.
  2. PowerPoint inserts one image on each slide and creates a title slide, which you can then delete. Save the pressentation.

Convert to PDF

Another commonly-used method is to convert the presentation to PDF format. You lose all animation, but people can't change any of the slides, or even delete any. Some options:

Convert to SWF, AVI, or another movie format

Converting to SWF creates an SWF movie file of your presentation. This method saves your animation, although the accuracy depends on the tool you use. You can use this method to post your presentation on your Web site or YouTube, especially if you include narration. SWF is an excellent choice for many marketing projects. Some options:

A list of software that converts PowerPoint to SWF

iSpring Free, the best free tool that I know of, converts to SWF

Video capture, including TechSmith's Camtasia, SnagIt (in video capture mode), Moyea PowerPoint to Video Converter (a professional PowerPoint to video converter )and Jing (which is free for presentations less than 5 minutes). These tools convert to AVI, SWF, or other formats. There's a free open source option, CamStudio.

Password protect for editing

PowerPoint 2007 allows you to add a password that allows people to open, but not edit, a presentation. If you have 2007, this is a great way to allow some people to edit the file, but not others. But note the "gottcha" and the workaround at the end of this section.

Click the Office button> Save As. In the Save As dialog box, choose Tools> General Options.

password protect presentation

In the General Options dialog box, enter a password in the Password to Modify text box. Be sure to write this down! Click OK. You'll need to re-enter the password. Then go ahead and save the file.

When you or others re-open this file, a dialog box appears asking for the password.

password protect a presentation

The problem with this method is that if people open the 2007 file in PowerPoint 2003 (which can be done with a free download from Microsoft), the file is no longer protected. However, funnily enough, if you save the 2007 file in 97-2003 format (in the Save As dialog box), you can't edit the file, even in 2003. This workaround may be just what you need. Of course, some features of 2007 don't work in 2003, which may be a problem if you want to give some people the right to edit the file.

Add a digital signature

PowerPoint 2007 lets you add a digital signature to a file. A digital signature doesn't prevent changes but lets you know if someone has changed the file, because the process of changing the file invalidates the digital signature. You need to purchase a digital signature service. Start by choosing Office button> Prepare> Add a Digital Signature. When you have such a service, a new item, View Digital Signatures appears on the Prepare menu.

Mark as Final

If you have 2007 and don't need to securely prevent changes, but just want to let people know that a presentation shouldn't be changed, you can use the Mark as Final feature. Choose Office button> Prepare> Mark as Final. This turns off all typing, ,editing, and proffing commands. However, someone can go back to the same menu item and turn off the setting, so use this feature when absolute security isn't necessary.

Maybe you are also interested in:

PowerPoint to DVD PowerPoint to Video PowerPoint to FLV PPT to DVD

PowerPoint to DVD for Education PowerPoint to Video for Education

PowerPoint for Web PowerPoint to PDF PowerPoint to DVD Burner

Convert PowerPoint to Video PowerPoint to DVD Converter

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