How Can I Play a Powerpoint on My Laptop?

by Regina Edwards

PowerPoint is a popular application used by many professionals to develop slide-show presentations. Recipients of PowerPoint (.ppt or .pptx) files are no longer required to install PowerPoint to view the slides. Applications with minimal memory requirements from Microsoft and OpenOffice.org enable laptop and netbook users to play PowerPoint presentations while on the road.

Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer

Microsoft offers a free PowerPoint Viewer that doesn't require more than 512 MB of memory (RAM) and 4 MB of hard disk space. The latest Viewer has the functionality to play presentations created in PowerPoint 97 to 2007, but it doesn't have the full features to create, revise or save the presentation. Launch your browser and download the PowerPoint Viewer from the Microsoft Download Center (see "Resources"). Save the file to your desktop and install the application by selecting the "Run" button when prompted. Review a downloaded PowerPoint presentation by launching the PowerPoint Viewer and selecting "Open" under "File" in the top menu bar (if double-clicking the file doesn't automatically launch the application). Navigate through the PowerPoint presentation using your right and left arrow keys to advance or go back one slide, respectively.

OpenOffice Impress

Openoffice.org offers an office suite alternative to Microsoft Office, developed as freeware. The presentation module, Impress, can access PowerPoint files for viewing, presenting and revising. As freeware, openoffice.org encourages contributions from developers to enhance the features and functionality of its programs. Presentations revised or created in Impress can be saved in a PowerPoint format. According to an article by James McPherson on techrepublic.com, compatibility for Impress to play multimedia files embedded in a PowerPoint presentation (such as movies) may be impaired. Access the Open Office Suite by typing "openoffice.org" in your browser's address bar and select the download for your laptop's operating system (Windows, Mac or Linux--see "Resources"). The Impress application module will install as part of the office suite. Launch Open Office by double-clicking the alias (or shortcut) on your desktop or select "Open Office" from your list of programs (in the Start menu under "All Programs"). Click the "Impress" icon in the start up screen. Select the "Open" function under "File" in the menu bar, select "Presentations" under "File Type" to view available documents. Choose your PowerPoint file and click the "Open" button. Save revised presentation by selecting the "Save As" function under "File" in the top menu bar and select "PowerPoint presentation" for the file format. Type a new file name, if desired, and click the "Save" button.

Play Slide Show

PowerPoint, PowerPoint Viewer and Impress have the function to play a slide show on a screen or through an LCD projector. Start your a slide show by selecting "View Show" or "Slideshow" under "Slide Show" in the top menu bar, or by clicking the screen icon on the bottom, left side of the window. Basic presenter controls during Slide Show mode for these applications include using the right and left arrow keys to move forward or back and jumping to a specific slide by pressing the number of the slide, then the "Enter" key.

About the Author

Regina Edwards has been a freelance writer since 1990. She has penned video scripts, instructional manuals, white papers and abstracts. She has also ghostwritten diabetes journals. Edwards is a scuba instructor and Usui and Karuna Reiki teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Saint Joseph's University.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images