Sorry, PowerPoint can’t read file or Presentation cannot be opened

Sorry, PowerPoint can’t read file or Presentation cannot be opened

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PowerPoint can’t read file

How to fix Error Sorry, PowerPoint can't read file or Presentation cannot be opened

If you come across an error message “Sorry, PowerPoint can’t read file or Presentation cannot be opened” while trying to open a PPT file then most probably your Microsoft Office has blocked the file for security reasons.

“Sorry, PowerPoint can’t read file or Presentation cannot be opened” is an error often encountered by users who are trying to open a PPT file that they have downloaded from the internet or email or from a shared network. Some users also receive this error when they try to open a file created on their computers.

If you have an antivirus installed in your system then there an also a greater probability that the antivirus has blocked the file. In both the above case you need to unblock the file to access it. It is also better to check the source of the file if in case it is infected or is coming from an untrusted source.

Error Message

Sorry, PowerPoint can’t read file. The presentation cannot be opened. Your antivirus program may prevent you from opening the presentation. To fix this problem, make sure your antivirus program is current and working correctly. If the problem persists and the presentation is from someone that you trust, turn off your antivirus program, and then try to open the presentation again. If you do this, make sure you turn on your antivirus program again after you open the presentation.

You might want to read about There was an error accessing the file

Causes of "Sorry, PowerPoint can’t read file or Presentation cannot be opened"

“Error: Sorry, PowerPoint can’t read file or Presentation cannot be opened” usually prompts under the following circumstances:

  • The PowerPoint file is downloaded from an unknown untrusted source from the internet
  • The PowerPoint file seems unsecured to the system
  • The PowerPoint file is blocked by the security software
  • The PowerPoint file is corrupt.

Resolution of "Sorry, PowerPoint can’t read file or Presentation cannot be opened"

Error message “Sorry, PowerPoint can’t read file or Presentation cannot be opened” tends to pop up whenever you try to open a PPT(Powerpoint) file that you downloaded from the internet or email or you’re trying to access from a shared network. Some users also receive this error when they try to open a file created on their computers.

  1. Unblock PowerPoint File
  2. Open PowerPoint in the Safe Mode
  3. Temporarily Disable your Antivirus
  4. Open and Repair in Microsoft PowerPoint
  5. Disable Protected View
  6. Update Microsoft PowerPoint

1. Unblock PowerPoint File

If you come across an error message which prompts “Sorry, PowerPoint can’t read file or Presentation cannot be opened” it’s likely that Microsoft Powerpoint or Security Software has blocked the file for security reasons.

  • Open Windows File Explorer and Locate the problematic file on the computer.
  • Right-click on the file and select Properties at the bottom of the menu.
  • In the Properties dialog box, look for an Unblock button near the bottom right of the General tab, If it exists, click to select Unblock, then click Apply, and then click OK to dismiss the dialog box.
  • Now, try to open the PPT(PowerPoint) again.

Use this method to unlock your PPT file to fix the Error “Sorry, PowerPoint can’t read file”. If this workaround doesn’t work, consider applying other methods.

Unblock Powerpoint File

2. Open PowerPoint in Safe Mode

Starting Powerpoint in Safe Mode can let you safely use it while it has encountered errors like “Sorry, Powerpoint can’t read file”. This is helpful when you can’t open a file in normal mode because the application is crashing or there is an extension or add-in causing a problem on startup.

In safe mode, the file may not open with all the formatting but can perform certain operations like edit, save, etc.

  • Find the shortcut icon of Powerpoint.
  • Press and hold the CTRL key and double-click the Powerpoint icon shortcut.
  • Click Yes on the prompt to start the application in Safe Mode. Or Press Windows+R keys to open the Run box. Type “powerpoint /safe” into the “Open” field, and then hit Enter or click on Ok to launch Powerpoint in Safe mode.
  • The PowerPoint will launch with a new blank presentation. Make sure that ‘Safe Mode’ appears with the name of the file
  • Click on File menu and select Open. Navigate the file and check if it opens in the Safe Mode
  • Try to re-save the file. Click on File menu and select Save as.
  •  Once saved try to open the saved file.

If the PowerPoint fails to open in Safe Mode, you may be required to reinstall the application from a reliable resource.

Run PPT in Safe Mode

3. Disable Protected View from Trust Centre Settings

If your file is considered potentially dangerous or from an untrusted source, the protected view won’t allow you to open it. To fix this, you need to disable the protected view.

  • Open PowerPoint, and Go to “File”.
  • Select “Options” in the menu.
  • In the options, select “Trust Center”.
  • At the Trust Center window, click the button for Trust Center Settings.
  • Click the option for Protected View and uncheck the following these 3 options
    • Enable Protected View For Files Originating From The Internet.  controls documents opened from a website.
    • Enable Protected View For Files Located In Potentially Unsafe Locations. – controls files opened from folders considered unsafe, such as Temporary Internet Files, etc.
    • Enable Protected View For Outlook Attachments. – controls email attachments,
  • Click “Ok”.

Now, try to open the file again.

Powerpoint Options
Powerpoint Trust Center

4. Temporarily Disable your Antivirus or Security Software

To workaround, try temporarily disabling your security software and opening the PPT file. If that doesn’t work, try uninstalling the antivirus software temporarily.

  • Open Antivirus application installed on the computer and then click on settings and navigate to real-time protection.
  • Turn Off real-time protection.Then Navigate to Antivirus firewall.
  • Turn off Antivirus firewall. Then Click on YES or OK confirmation prompt if prompted.

Don’t forget to reinstall or turn on the antivirus software after the file is opened and re-save the file.

5. Open and Repair in PowerPoint

Microsoft PowerPoint also provides an option to repair PowerPoint files.

  • Launch Microsoft PowerPoint, and go to “File” menu on the top right corner.
  • Select “Open” in the menu, and click “Browse”.
  • Locate the file that needs to be repaired and select it.
  • Click the small arrow located beside Open button and select Open and Repair option
  • Press “Repair” in the pop-up window.
  • Wait for the completion of the repair process

Now, try to open the file again.

This method can help you repair a slightly corrupted PowerPoint file. It may not work every time but it’s worth a try.

Open and Repair in PowerPoint

6. Update Microsoft PowerPoint

If Microsoft Powerpoint is behaving unusual then consider updating the Microsoft Office so that it will install new security patches and updates. Please follow the steps mentioned below to update the Microsoft Office to the latest version:

  • Open Microsoft PowerPoint, go to “File”.
  • Click on “Account”, and from “Office Updates” click on Update Options.
  • Click “Update Now” to update your PowerPoint.

This method can only fix the errors that have been resolved by Microsoft, but it’s worth a try.

Update Microsoft PowerPoint

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why I am getting Sorry, PowerPoint can't read file error?

    Sorry, PowerPoint can't read file error tends to appear when your Microsoft Office or Security Software has blocked the file for security reasons.
  2. Why my PPT file is not opening?

    Because your Microsoft Office or Security Software has blocked the file for security reasons.
  3. How to permanently unblock a PowerPoint presentation?

    Right-click on the problematic file and select Properties. In the Properties dialog box, look for an Unblock button near the bottom right. Click to check Unblock, then click Apply, and then click OK to close the dialog box.
  4. Why is PowerPoint freezing or not responding or taking an unusually long time to open?

    There are many reasons for Powerpoint to freeze, not respond, or take forever to open. It can be related to Powerpoint add-ins or extensions. Processing Power, Memory, Graphics, Overheating, etc. also causes the same issue. Open the PowerPoint in safe mode to check if it is working fine. If it is running in Safe mode, remove the add-ins and extensions which are causing trouble. You can also disable Hardware acceleration to avoid graphics-related issues which can cause freezing.
  5. Why do PowerPoint files become corrupted?

    Powerpoint files can be corrupted by a bug, unusual shutting down, incompatibility, system infection, etc.

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