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PPT vs. PPS (or PPTX vs. PPSX)

Saturday, August 21, 2004
posted by Geetesh at 9:11 AM IST

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Quite often, you might have received a PowerPoint presentation with a PPS or PPSX extension rather than the normal PPT or PPTX extension - here's more info.

First, let me tell you a little about the extensions:

  • PPT is the default file extension for saving presentations in PowerPoint 2003 and earlier versions.
  • PPTX is the default file extension for saving presentations in PowerPoint 2007 and later versions.
  • PPS is the the show mode extension in PowerPoint 2003 and earlier -- these files run in "play-presentation" mode when double-clicked.
  • PPSX does the same thing in PowerPoint 2007 and later -- it runs in "play-presentation" mode when double-clicked.

Here's some more details that might help you clear the gobbledygook:

  • Technically there is no difference between PPT (or PPTX) and PPS (or PPSX) files.
  • With PPT and PPS files, you can actually rename the extensions whenever you want and the presentation file will remain the same.
  • With PPTX and PPSX files, you cannot rename at will -- but trust me, they are the same!

The difference lies in how PowerPoint treats them:

  • By default, PPT and PPTX files open in edit mode within PowerPoint allowing you to use all the menus and commands.
  • By default, PPS and PPSX files open in slideshow (play-presentation) mode, and you see no PowerPoint interface. When the presentation finishes or you manually exit using tthe ESC key, PowerPoint also quits.

Having said that, you can play all PowerPoint file formats (PPT, PPS, PPTX, PPSX) directly from within Windows Explorer -- right-click the file and the choose the Play option in the context menu.

You can also edit a PPS or PPSX file without changing the extension using either of these options:

  • Just drag and drop the PPS or PPSX file from Windows Explorer into an empty PowerPoint window.
  • Launch PowerPoint and open a PPS or PPSX using the File/Office Button | Open option to edit a presentation.

See Also: PowerPoint Tutorials | PowerPoint Tutorials: Interface and Basics

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Mac Powerpoint 2004 will not quit at end of .pps file. Is ther a work around for this?


I really like the way of explaining in a simple manner.


Thanks so much!


It is also possible to edit the Registry key HKCR\.pps (and HKCR\.ppsx) to change the Content Type (I also changed the (Default) entries, not sure if this was necessary) to the same as in the HKCR\.ppt (and HKCR\.pptx) keys. This causes Explorer to treat .pps and .ppsx files as though they were .ppt and .pptx files, without the need to actually rename them. This is particularly helpful when opening attachments directly from email messages, where there was no intent to save the files first (and therefore no option to rename them first). If you actually want the .pps or .ppsx to display as the show, just hit F5 once PowerPoint opens.


I haven't tried what Jay suggested here, but in case you do, I strongly recommend that you backup your system and registry before making any changes within the registry!


Thanks a lot. Very helpful.


Very well explained.



Very helpful and simple explanation -thanks!


thanks.. it was exactly what i needed to know. short and concise.


Wow, very valuable. Google hit gold with this one. You rock.


I did find a command under PPT 07 where you can protect the file, PPSX or PPTx.

Go to the windows logo and choose "PREPARE" and then "MARK AS FINAL". This makes the file a read-only, even though you can still open it inside powerpoint, it wont allow any changes, shuffling or hiding.


Rodney, that's an administrative control and can be easily removed -- more info at PowerPoint 2010 - Mark as Final


Thanx @Jay, that what I was looking for. Not extension changing, windows always dare to bother me with confirmation when I do that.


I would like to have a couple of sentences for the inexperienced (such as myself)which would explain the benefit of using a .pptx file versus a .ppsx file. Why do we need ppsx? Is it just for dummies who would end up in edit mode and we don't want them to? etc.


Xibee, imagine that you are presenting and would rather double-click a file and cause that to open a presentation in slide show mode rather than showing the entire PowerPoint interface -- in that case you will use PPSX.


Nice.. :)


Thanks for it. You helped me a lot.


Hi Geetesh,

Thanks for the info, which is mainly clear and as expected, except for where you said:
"With PPTX and PPSX files, you cannot rename at will -- but trust me, they are the same!"

If they are the same, then why can't they be renamed at will, just like PPT & PPTS can be?



Tel7, while the content of the PPTX and PPSX is the same, I am assuming that Microsoft now adds the file extension details within the file header -- so when PowerPoint opens the file, it first reads the file header and determines that the file type and the file header do not match. It then refuses to open the file. To get over this problem, you can open either the PPTX or PPSX in PowerPoint using the File Open dialog and then choose the Save As option to save as the other format.


I wanted to do what Jay said: Changing the Content Type value of the Registry key HKCR\.pps to the same Content Type value as of the key HKCR\.ppt but they already were identical (Windows XP Home SP2)!
So I wonder whether it was meant to change the "Content Type" or rather another key, e.g. the "Default" key (the "Default" key values indeed are different between .pps and .ppt)?


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