Saving Presentations

Understand how to save PowerPoint presentations, including using the PowerPoint save as PDF function, in this free lesson.

Introduction

Whenever you create a new presentation in PowerPoint, you'll need to know how to save in order to access and edit it later. As with previous versions of PowerPoint, you can save files to your computer. If you prefer, you can also save files to the cloud using OneDrive. You can even export and share presentations directly from PowerPoint.

Watch the video below to learn more about saving and sharing PowerPoint presentations.

Save and Save As

PowerPoint offers two ways to save a file: Save and Save As. These options work in similar ways, with a few important differences.

About OneDrive

Most features in Microsoft Office, including PowerPoint, are geared toward saving and sharing documents online. This is done with OneDrive, which is an online storage space for your documents and files. If you want to use OneDrive, make sure you’re signed in to PowerPoint with your Microsoft account. Review our lesson on Understanding OneDrive to learn more.

To save a presentation:

It's important to save your presentation whenever you start a new project or make changes to an existing one. Saving early and often can prevent your work from being lost. You'll also need to pay close attention to where you save the presentation so it will be easy to find later.

  1. Locate and select the Save command on the Quick Access Toolbar.
    Clicking the Save command
  2. If you're saving the file for the first time, the Save As pane will appear in Backstage view.
  3. You'll then need to choose where to save the file and give it a file name. Click Browse to select a location on your computer. Alternatively, you can click OneDrive to save the file to your OneDrive.
    Clicking Browse
  4. The Save As dialog box will appear. Select the location where you want to save the presentation.
  5. Enter a file name for the presentation, then click Save.
    Saving a presentation
  6. The presentation will be saved. You can click the Save command again to save your changes as you modify the presentation.

You can also access the Save command by pressing Ctrl+S on your keyboard.

Using Save As to make a copy

If you want to save a different version of a presentation while keeping the original, you can create a copy. For example, if you have a file named Client Presentation you could save it as Client Presentation 2 so you'll be able to edit the new file and still refer back to the original version.

To do this, you'll click the Save As command in Backstage view. Just like when saving a file for the first time, you'll need to choose where to save the file and give it a new file name.

Clicking Save As

To change the default save location:

If you don't want to use OneDrive, you may be frustrated that OneDrive is selected as the default location when saving. If you find this inconvenient, you can change the default save location so This PC is selected by default.

  1. Click the File tab to access Backstage view.
    Clicking the File tab
  2. Click Options.
    Clicking Options
  3. The PowerPoint Options dialog box will appear. Select Save, check the box next to Save to Computer by default, then click OK. The default save location will be changed.
    Changing the default save location

Using AutoRecover

PowerPoint automatically saves your presentations to a temporary folder while you are working on them. If you forget to save your changes or if PowerPoint crashes, you can restore the file using AutoRecover.

To use AutoRecover:

  1. Open PowerPoint. If autosaved versions of a file are found, the Document Recovery pane will appear.
  2. Click to open an available file. The presentation will be recovered.
    The Document Recovery pane

By default, PowerPoint autosaves every 10 minutes. If you are editing a presentation for less than 10 minutes, PowerPoint may not create an autosaved version.

If you don't see the file you need, you can browse all autosaved files from Backstage view. Just select the File tab, click Manage Presentation, then choose Recover Unsaved Presentations.

Recovering an unsaved file

Exporting presentations

By default, PowerPoint presentations are saved in the .pptx file type. However, there may be times when you need to use another file type, such as a PDF or PowerPoint 97-2003 presentation. It's easy to export your presentation from PowerPoint in a variety of file types.

To export a presentation:

In our example, we'll save the presentation as a PowerPoint 97-2003 file.

  1. Click the File tab to access Backstage view.
  2. Click Export, then choose the desired option. In our example, we'll select Change File Type.
    Clicking Change File Type
  3. Select a file type, then click Save As.
    Choosing a file type and clicking Save As
  4. The Save As dialog box will appear. Select the location where you want to export the presentation, type a file name, then click Save.
    Saving as an PowerPoint 97-2003 presentation

You can also use the Save as type drop-down menu in the Save As dialog box to save presentations in a variety of file types. Be careful to choose a file type others will be able to open.

Choosing a file type from the Save As dialog box

Sharing presentations

PowerPoint makes it easy to share and collaborate on presentations using OneDrive. In the past, if you wanted to share a file with someone you could send it as an email attachment. While convenient, this system also creates multiple versions of the same file, which can be difficult to organize.

When you share a presentation from PowerPoint, you're actually giving others access to the exact same file. This lets you and the people you share with edit the same presentation without having to keep track of multiple versions.

In order to share a presentation, it must first be saved to your OneDrive.

To share a presentation:

  1. Click the File tab to access Backstage view, then click Share.
    Clicking Share
  2. The Share pane will appear.

Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn more about different ways to share a presentation.

edit hotspots

Present Online

From here, you can share your presentation online as a live presentation. PowerPoint will generate a link that others can open in their web browser.

Challenge!

  1. Open our practice presentation.
  2. Use Save As to create a copy of the presentation. Name the new copy Saving Challenge Practice. You can save it to a folder on your computer or to your OneDrive.
  3. Export the presentation as a PDF file.