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Troubleshooting Optimizer problems

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Limitations, caveats, bugs

PPTools Optimizer is discontinued

As of November 1, 2011, PPTools discontinued the PPTools Optimizer add-in for PowerPoint.

Please see the Optimizer home page for more information and other options.

The Optimizer site and the All About Optimizer pages will remain here to assist our existing Optimizer customers.

Optimizer bypasses zero-height or zero-width shapes

This is by design. Zero-height/zero-width objects can cause some versions of PPT to crash while optimizing a presentation.

You can override this behavior if you wish. In the [Optimizer] section of PPTools.INI (in your PPTools folder), add the following line:


Note: the entry is not case-sensitive; any value but "yes" is taken as "no"
Optimizer will then treat zero-width/height shapes like any other.

See How do I edit the Optimizer configuration file (PPTools.INI)? if you need to learn how to edit an INI fie.

Some PowerPoint files get larger when Optimized

There are several reasons this may happen:

You have an older version of Optimizer

Please download and install the latest version. You can always find the most recent released version of all PPTools at our download page.. Installing it will update your demo or registered copy of Optimizer to the latest version.

Images that have been copied from slide to slide

If you insert an image several times, PowerPoint treats each image as a unique item. The PowerPoint file will grow by a certain amount for each instance you insert. When you Optimize the file, it'll shrink appropriately.

But when you insert an image once and copy many times, PowerPoint stores only one copy of the image so you get smaller files. That's a Good Thing. But PowerPoint doesn't reveal that the copies are copies ... Optimizer only knows that each is an image, so it creates new optimized copies of each one. Each copy is smaller than the original image, but since there are now multiple originals instead one original plus several tiny "pointers", the PPT file size may grow.

There's not much we can do to detect the problem, or prevent it. If you know you have copied images in the original presentation, you can delete all but one of the copies from the optimized version then re-copy the remaining image to the other slides where it's needed.

Files that carry sizing information

See I want even smaller PowerPoint files for a solution to this problem.

Images lose their transparency after Optimizing

This is the result of a bug in PowerPoint 97.

If you Optimize in PowerPoint 2000 or 2002, the problem doesn't occur. If you choose File, Save As and export the slide to a bitmap file format from PowerPoint 97, the same bitmap loses its transparency information there as well.

This happens only to images that have had transparency applied before importing them into PowerPoint, and it doesn't happen to all such images. We don't yet know what specifically provokes this behavior, but if you run into the problem try re-importing the image again after saving it in some other image format.

There can also be problems with PNG images that have transparency applied before importing into PowerPoint. When they're optimized in PowerPoint 2002 and 2003, the optimized images lose their transparency and get a kind of pinkish background in the areas that were formerly transparent.

Workaround 1: Prevent Optimizer from attempting to optimize transparent images by selecting the image and then clicking the "Circle with Slash" icon on the Optimizer toolbar. If you need smaller file sizes, try Workaround 2 below.

Workaround 2: Select the image then press Ctrl+C to copy it. Then choose Edit, Paste Special and choose PNG as the type. Delete the original image and set the pasted image to be left un-optimized as above.

Optimizer complains that you have another file open when you don't

Best solution: download and install the latest version from our download page. Installing it will update your demo or registered copy of Optimizer to the latest version.

That should solve the problem but if not, read on:

Some PowerPoint add-ins may keep a "hidden" presentation open for various reasons. There's nothing wrong with that, but it runs into Optimizer's obsession with not harming your data.

Optimizer wants to take no chances on harming your presentations, so it makes sure that nothing is open but the presentation you're optimizing. When it runs into one of these hidden files, it barks at you.

Here's the fix:

Use Notepad to open PPTools.ini (it's in your PPTools folder, the folder you installed Optimizer to originally)

Find the section that starts with:


Add this line directly below it:


Don't add any extra blank lines or other text. Save and close the file, then try Optimizer again.

See How do I edit the Optimizer configuration file (PPTools.INI)? if you need to learn how to edit an INI fie.

If that doesn't solve the problem it may be that there's a presentation open for Review in PPT 2002 or later. Accept or reject any pending changes, close the review and save the presentation. Then try Optimizer again.

Please note:

Optimizer makes PowerPoint perform tasks automatically. Because of this, Optimizer may be affected by bugs in PowerPoint. An add-in can't correct flaws in PowerPoint itself, though wherever possible we try to include workarounds for known problems.

Sometimes we just have to live with problems until Microsoft fixes them.

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