Office 2011 for Mac: File Formats for Saving PowerPoint Presentations

By Geetesh Bajaj, James Gordon

The switch to standards-based open XML file formats has brought a much-needed revolution in the way Office stores multimedia in its documents, and PowerPoint 2011 is no different. All the XML formats listed in File→Save As are packages that contain the presentation and copies of embedded media files (pictures, sounds, and movies).

File formats are identical on PowerPoint for Windows and Mac, and XML formats are the default file formats for PowerPoint 2007 (PC), 2008 (Mac), 2010 (PC), and 2011 (Mac). Users of PowerPoint 2003 (PC) and 2004 (Mac) need only install the free software updates from Microsoft to work with these files.

These are the PowerPoint XML file formats to choose from in the Save As dialog:

  • PowerPoint Presentation (.pptx): The default format.

  • PowerPoint show (.ppsx): When this file type is double-clicked in Finder or Windows, the presentation starts to play.

  • PowerPoint template (.potx): You open this type of file using the PowerPoint Presentation Gallery.

  • PowerPoint Macro Enabled Presentation (.pptm): Same as PowerPoint presentation (.pptx), except the letter m on the extension alerts you that there is VBA macro code included in the presentation.

  • PowerPoint Macro Enabled Show (.ppsm): Same as PowerPoint show, but contains macros.

  • PowerPoint Macro Enabled Template (.potm): Same as PowerPoint template, but contains macros.

  • PowerPoint add-in (.ppam): This is a PowerPoint add-in created with VBA.

  • Office Theme (.thmx): A theme consists of a color scheme, font family, slide masters, and slide design masters.

In a professional setting, you may not need to mess with older file formats. But not everyone has the latest software, so you may have to save in old file formats on occasion.

PowerPoint 2011 lets you save in these old formats:

  • PowerPoint 97-2004 Presentation (.ppt): The former default format.

  • PowerPoint 97-2004 Show (.pps): The old PowerPoint show format.

  • PowerPoint 97-2004 Template (.pot): The old template format.

  • PowerPoint 97-2004 Add-in (.ppa): The old VBA add-in format.