PowerPoint 2007 Special Effects Uneditable in PowerPoint 2003

PowerPoint 2007-10 offers many new graphic features, including SmartArt (preformatted shapes in various configurations with editable text) and sophisticated special effects that can be applied to shapes and text. The special effects include reflections, shadows, glows, bevels and soft edges that previously only could be done with Photoshop or other photo-editing software.

Here’s what happens when a file containing PowerPoint 2007-10’s special shapes or effects is opened in PowerPoint 97-2003:

  • SmartArt shapes will be converted to .png images, and any text embedded in the original SmartArt shape will no longer be editable. A .png file is simply a picture with a transparent background. For more information on .pngs, see blog post “What’s the difference between GIF, JPEG and PNG formats?”
  • Almost all special effects will be converted to .pngs. In most cases, embedded text will still be editable; it will be grouped with the .png shape as a separate text block.
  • Shapes with soft shadows become shapes with editable harder-edged shadows in PowerPoint 2003. However, if the original shape contained a shadow and another special effect, then it simply becomes an uneditable .png.
  • PowerPoint 2007-10 WordArt becomes uneditable .png images, even though PowerPoint 2003 also has a WordArt feature.

The solution: There really is none—a .png file cannot be converted into an editable PowerPoint shape. The good news: If the file is reopened in PowerPoint 2007-10, the .pngs will revert to their original, editable shapes.

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