How Do I Recover a Corrupt PowerPoint 2013 Presentation?

Oh no! You were working hard on an important PowerPoint presentation and suddenly you get that dreaded message that the file is corrupt and can’t be opened. I’ve been there too, talk about frustrating! But don’t panic, there are several methods you can try to recover your precious presentation.

In this article, I’ll walk you through the step-by-step process I’ve used multiple times to successfully recover corrupt PowerPoint files.

Why Files Get Corrupted

Before jumping into the recovery methods, it’s helpful to understand what causes file corruption in the first place. Here are some common reasons:

  • Software crashes or unexpected computer shutdowns while the file is still open
  • Virus or malware infection
  • Storage device issues like bad sectors or file system errors
  • Too many changes/saves causing the file structure to break

PowerPoint files are complex with images, text, animations, etc. So corruption can happen fairly easily.

Try Opening in Safe Mode

My first go-to move when a PPTX file won’t open is to try launching PowerPoint in safe mode. This loads a minimal version which sometimes can open damaged files.

To launch in safe mode (PowerPoint 2013):

  • Close all PowerPoint windows
  • Search for PowerPoint using the Windows search bar
  • Right click the PowerPoint 2013 entry
  • Select “Run as administrator”
  • When PowerPoint opens, hold CTRL while clicking the PowerPoint icon in the top left corner
  • Select “Safe Mode” from the menu

Now attempt to open your corrupt presentation. Fingers crossed it works!

Repair Using Inbox Repair Tool

If safe mode fails, the next thing to try is Microsoft’s Inbox Repair tool. This scans the file system for errors and fixes issues with file associations.

To run the repair tool:

  • Type “cmd” in the Windows search bar
  • Right click on the Command Prompt entry and select “Run as administrator”
  • Type the following command and press Enter: Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
  • Restart your computer when finished

Attempt to open the corrupt file again after running this repair process.

Recover Previous Version from Backup

I strongly recommend having backups of all important files, whether in cloud storage like OneDrive or an external hard drive. You can then restore a previous healthy version of the presentation fairly easily.

To restore backup from OneDrive (Office 365):

  • Open OneDrive in your web browser
  • Locate the file and right click
  • Select “Version History”
  • Choose the last known good version
  • Click “Restore”

This will save the restored copy to your OneDrive folder on your computer.

Extract Slides to New Presentation

If you don’t have a backup available, another trick is to create a new presentation file and import all available slides from the corrupt one. This salvages what you can.

To extract slides:

  • Launch PowerPoint and create a new blank presentation
  • Go to the Insert tab and click the drop-down arrow under New Slide
  • Select “Reuse Slides” at the bottom
  • Click “Browse” and select your corrupt presentation
  • Choose the slides you want and click “Insert”

While you may lose some slide formatting, text and images can usually be recovered with this method.

Use Third-Party Software Tools

If all else fails, specialized data recovery software often does the job when DIY methods can’t. The one I recommend is:

Wondershare Repairit

It’s worked great for me to repair even severely corrupted PowerPoint files.

To use Repairit:

  • Download and install Repairit
  • Launch the program and go to “File Repair” section
  • Click the “Add” button and select your corrupt PPT/PPTX file
  • Click “Repair” and wait for it to finish
  • Preview the fixed presentation and save to your computer

It’s really that easy. The great thing with Repairit is it also can recover unsaved PowerPoint files and lost presentations. So if a crash caused all your work to disappear, this should get it back.

Don’t Lose Hope!

Dealing with file corruption errors can be incredibly frustrating. But take a deep breath and work through these methods – you’ve got a great chance of rescuing that presentation! Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips for recovering damaged PowerPoint documents. And may your files never corrupt again!