The Difference Between PPT and PPTX Files

All of the products in Microsoft Office products are wildly popular. Everyone knows about Word and Excel, but the reality is that Microsoft is also responsible for PowerPoint, which is a powerful presentation tool. If you’ve used it, at one point over the last several years, you likely wondered “what’s the difference between PPT and PPTX files?”

differences between ppt and pptx
Image by Gareth Saunders

If you work with presentations much, you have either used PowerPoint, or worked with someone on a project where they used PowerPoint.  PPT and PPTX are the file extensions used to identify files created in PowerPoint.

PowerPoint is a presentation tool that is included with the Microsoft Office suite of products. This is a tool that allows you to create a presentation that can be played on your computer, added to websites, or used for a presentation for a group of people. Once you save the presentation in either the PPT or PPTX format, it will run on it’s own, without the user having to manually move the presentation from one slide to the next.

Knowing the difference between PPT and PPTX files first became an issue in 2007.  Before that point, all the PowerPoint programs saved the presentations in the PPT format. While most other types of presentation tools could integrate with PowerPoint, there were some of the smaller ones that did not. If that was the case, you would have had to use an online converter in order to convert your presentation into something that could be used.

Starting with the Office products released in 2007, Microsoft changed the default setting for saving the presentations that were created in the tool. They switched from the then standard of PPT to PPTX. The “X” in the file format stands for “XML”.

The main difference between PPT and PPTX files is the fact that the XML version are considered “open source”.  This means that it is much easier for other types of presentation programs to open files saved in the PPTX format.

This change was also made in both the Word and Excel programs and were aimed at giving all of the programs the ability to work more seamlessly with other types of word processing, spreadsheet and presentation tools.

Even with the differences between PPT and PPTX, you should still be able to save your file as either option, but the problem could come when you try to open that file in a different type of software. If someone else tries to open the presentation on a computer that doesn’t have PowerPoint, they could also have a problem.  If that computer can handle either type of PPT file, the presentation should open with no problem.

However, if you, or someone you are working with, has an older Office program, you can sometimes have problems opening files created by the newer programs. In a perfect world, you could upload something that allows your system to work with either type of file, but this doesn’t always work.

There may be times when you simply have to convert your presentation to whichever type of PPT file your system has the ability to open.

When looking at the difference between PPT and PPTX files, there are also a few other minor differences regarding the size of the files. However, the difference between PPT and PPTX files that causes the most problems is the file extension used.  However, we’ve just solved that, so it should no longer be a problem for you!