Sunday, April 27, 2008

How to view Powerpoint 2007 files in Ubuntu

Been extremely busy with R/W stuff and helping the many Ubuntu users I got to convert.

One problem that arose recently had to do with a Powerpoint 2007 file that couldn't be viewed.

Microsoft has been wearing the "Let's help out the open source community" mask lately during it's battle to use their version of open source document format. But we all know that they have no intentions of helping or releasing software to help this community.
Otherwise we would have a Powerpoint viewer released under the GPL.

Instead we can either use the viewer found in Open Office or try the pptviewer found in the repositories.
But neither one works for files made with the 2007 version if it is password protected against changes.

So how do I view it?
Well it requires the use of wine and the Powerpoint 2007 viewer that can be downloaded from Micro$oft.
You can get it here;

First you need to make sure you have wine installed.
Once you have downloaded the exe file right click on it and from the options choose 'Open With'.
Now select wine.
If wine is not in your choices go to where it says 'Custom Command' and type in wine.

Now the ppt2007 installer will start. Accept the licensing nonsense and the install will start.
When it is done, you will have a link to it from your Applications-Wine-Program drop down.

But that is a pain to have to open it up, browse to the file then view it. So let's set the file to use this viewer for all ppt files.

Right click on any ppt file and select Properties.
Go to the tab marked Open With.
Now choose Add.
It won't be on the list so we need to add it in. Select the Add button.
Now click on the 'Use a Custom Command'.
Click on Browse.
Go to your home folder. That is the folder that has your user name.
Open that folder. Now right click and choose 'Show Hidden Files'.
Scroll down until you see the .wine folder.
Open that folder then open the drive_c folder.
Open the Program Files folder the the Microsoft Office folder followed by the Office12 folder.

Select the PPTVIEW.EXE file and click on the Open button in the bottom right of the screen.
Now the PPTVIEW file will be in your Open With window.
Make sure the radio button i selected next to the entry and click on Close.
Now you powerpoint files will open with this viewer automatically.

Some hints and tips.
The viewer screen will completely take up your whole screen. There will be no controls.
To access options such as 'next slide' or 'quit' just right click anywhere in the screen.

One problem I did encounter has to do with the automatic opening of them.
Seems that the location of the first ppt file you open and configure determines whether other files open automatically.
If you configured ppt 2007 to automatically open these files with a file on the Desktop then any ppt file on the desktop will be opened with ppt2007.
But if you try opening a ppt file found elsewhere on your system then the 'Browse for file' window will open.

Must be a glitch between wine and the ppt 2007 viewer. Apparently it doesn't pass the file extension parameters across all the folders.

Some final thoughts.
I only offer this work around as a last resort. It's unfortunate that we have to deal with a slew of proprietary formats and are left with very few choices to use these formats.
The pptviewer found in the repositories is nothing more then Micro$oft's ppt viewer '97 configured under wine.

Open Office works well for many ppt files and I suggest you use that option as much as possible.
Hopefully they will come up with a new version to handle these files.

Support your open source community. It's the real future.



Chris said...

VERY creative solution. Wish I'd thought of it before my presentation today :-) Thanks!

TaZMAn said...

Hi Chris,

Sorry you didn't get to read this blog earlier before your presentation.
Hope it still went well. :-)

I happened to see that the PPT viewer in the repository was nothing more then the old 98 version so I decided to try the newer one.

The Open Office Presentation program is also a viable alternative now.

Thanks for visiting.

oldcpu said...

I stumbled across this solution independent of this blog thread (but much much later), and documented my efforts here:

I note the audio playback of .pps files with Power Point Viewer 2007 under wine works with some .pps files, and not others. I have not been able to figure why, although I suspect something to do with .wine codecs. The same .pps files to playback audio with Power Power Viewer 2007 under winXP (with no special codec pack) so maybe its a proprietary Windows codec that is causing the problem. I have not sorted this yet.

TaZMAn said...

Hi oldcpu,
I read that entire post. Very informative. I also have come across certain pps files that don't play the audio.

Not certain that it is a codec problem. I've been leaning more towards how the audio file is attached to the pps file or how it's ported from wine to alsa.

Since I don't use Windows, I have not been able to check out the audio attachment theory.

If you should come across a solution, it would be much appreciated if you could post a follow up here.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing that post.

Anas Balkhair said...

i did that , thank you,
but there is one problem, animations do not appear in the show.

try this file

may you find a solution for me.