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?

  • 3
    "Relatively secure" is important here. If they're determined, you don't stand a chance. You need to be aware of that.
    – Daniel Beck
    Commented Nov 17, 2011 at 19:37
  • I'm just hoping to find something that is slightly better than trivial and also not $100.
    – Melikoth
    Commented Nov 17, 2011 at 20:19

3 Answers 3


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.

  • 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
    Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 12:58
  • 1
    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
    Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 13:36
  • 1
    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
    Commented Nov 18, 2011 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. http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/powerpoint-help/prevent-changes-to-a-final-version-of-a-document-HA010132569.aspx.
  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.

  • I'd never even noticed that dropdown box on the save-as menu.
    – Melikoth
    Commented Nov 18, 2011 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
    Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 13:39

To export your PowerPoint presentation, you have several options including video format (ideal for presentations with audio narrations or animations), PDF file, or a folder of images with each image representing a slide. For online viewing, popular platforms include Slideshare and Docs.com. If you have exported your presentation as a video, consider uploading it to YouTube or Facebook for maximum accessibility.

  • 1
    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: j.mp/pptraster (disclaimer: I wrote it).
    – utapyngo
    Commented Mar 11, 2013 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.
    – user9520
    Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 6:53

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