Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a few powerpoint slideshows I need to distribute, but I would like the receivers to not be able to edit them. They still need to be able to launch embedded links though.

It seems like this is a difficult task, given the nature of powerpoint and I've read quite a few conflicting reports on different aspects. Some say that password protecting from editing allows the end user to save a copy without restrictions, much like word or excel, others suggest it won't allow that.

I've read about some 3rd party software solutions like SecurePack, which doesn't seem like an optimal choice after reading their FAQ. Alternately, is the Microsoft Information Rights Management service, but that doesn't really seem like it would let me accomplish what I am looking to do anyhow.

Does anyone know of a way to allow the files to be playable, yet keep their content relatively secure?

share|improve this question
"Relatively secure" is important here. If they're determined, you don't stand a chance. You need to be aware of that. – Daniel Beck Nov 17 '11 at 19:37
I'm just hoping to find something that is slightly better than trivial and also not $100. – Melikoth Nov 17 '11 at 20:19
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Why not save the presentation as a PDF? Some formatting may not work out perfectly, but links will still work and it will not be editable as a PowerPoint file.

share|improve this answer
I figured exporting to PDF would break the links by just converting the whole slide to an image, I didn't know PowerPoint could export to PDF natively. – Melikoth Nov 18 '11 at 12:58
Ended up going with this option as it would be the easiest to deal with for the intended target. The File|Save As|PDF or XPS option really produces some nice looking files, I was very impressed. – Melikoth Nov 18 '11 at 13:36
I also used Nuance PDF Convertor 7 to apply some other document security options, such as disabling copy/paste and printing from the PDF. This kept the links clickable as well. I wasn't able to strip the security from the document when I saved it using v1.7 encryption. – Melikoth Nov 18 '11 at 20:52

Three options I can think of:

  1. Under the Office menu|Prepare, you can select Mark as Final, which restricts editing. Note that this is not security based as any user can turn it off, but it's a reasonable indicator.
  2. You could set a Modify password under Tools|General Options on the Save As... dialogue. enter image description here

  3. You could save as another format such as PDF or XPS as RichardM suggests.

share|improve this answer
I'd never even noticed that dropdown box on the save-as menu. – Melikoth Nov 18 '11 at 12:56
After trying the modify password and the Save As|PDF option I decided to go with the Save As PDF. I accepted RichardM's answer since he posted the one I used first, but I'd totally upvote you if I had enough rep though. Thanks! – Melikoth Nov 18 '11 at 13:39

You can export your PowerPoint presentation to:

  • Video (highly recommended if it has Audio Narrations or animations)
  • a PDF File
  • a Folder of Images, each image is a slide

For Online Viewing: Upload your PowerPoint presentation to or

If you exported your presentation as a Video, simply upload it to YouTube or Facebook.

share|improve this answer
Instead of converting to a folder of images, it is better to convert in to a PowerPoint slide show of images. This can be done in two clicks with this little script: (disclaimer: I wrote it). – utapyngo Mar 11 '13 at 3:45
That's a great option, too! It preserves Notes and Slide Transitions. And you can still use PowerPoint to present the slides in Presenter Mode. – thenonhacker Mar 14 '13 at 6:53

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .