Protecting Slide Content

If you create PowerPoint presentations that others deliver, you may need to create the slides in such a way that the presenter cannot change the slide content. One industry that this is particularly important in is the financial services industry. When the corporate marketing department creates slides depicting performance of investments, it is very important for legal reasons that no changes get made when the slides are presented. If changes are made that misrepresent the facts, the organization can be subject to severe penalties and lawsuits.

One approach to protecting content is to restrict the access to the file in PowerPoint if you have installed/want to use the Information Rights Management module. In many cases this is a burden and there is an easier way to get almost all of the same benefits. It uses the ability of PowerPoint to save a slide as a graphic. Here are the instructions for this technique.

Step 1 – Create Your Slides

Create your slides in PowerPoint as you normally would, with all the graphics and text you need. Proofread and review your slides to make sure they are finalized.

Step 2 – Save the slides as Graphic Files

In PowerPoint, click File à Save As to display the Save As dialog box. Drop down the Save as type drop down box at the bottom of the dialog box and scroll down to the graphics formats as shown below.

Select the PNG Portable Network Graphics Format (Other formats such as GIF, JPG and TIF offer no better quality and result in larger files). Enter a file name for the graphic files in the File Name entry box. When you click on the Save button, it will ask you if you want to save all of the slides in the presentation or just the current slide. Select the appropriate choice for your situation. Your slides are now saved as images on your computer.

Step 3 – Create a New Presentation of Images

Start a new presentation. Click Insert à Picture à From File. Find your saved image files from Step 2. Select the image you want for this slide and click the OK button. If needed, size the image so it fills the screen. Repeat this procedure for other slides. These slides are now images and cannot be changed by others. Save this presentation with a new name so you don’t overwrite your original file.

You can use this process to make all of the slides unchangeable or you can use it just for selected slides. You may leave some of the text slides as regular slides and only protect the graphs or tables of data that should not be changed. If you use builds on your slides, where text or graphics are displayed as you advance through the slide, making the slide an image removes those builds, so think about what portions of the slide your need to protect. You can protect an underlying graph, then add text boxes on top of the image to retain the ability to build ideas on a slide.

Using this technique will allow you to give presenters the flexibility they need to customize each presentation, while protecting important data that needs to be in compliance with regulations. Make only the file with the images available to presenters on a corporate network so that the original data and graphs remain protected.