Friday, 16 July 2004

I spent some time today trying to figure out why PowerPoint 2003 was throwing errors when trying to open a file that was created on a PPT 2003 system, edited by a consultant off-site, and emailed back to a staff member, where it conveniently and immediately broke.

The error displayed when trying to open the PowerPoint file indicated that a part of the file appeared to be missing. I had seen this error before, back when PowerPoint XP was brand new and in beta, when trying to open a file that was generated in the new version of the application but then edited in an older version (like PPT2000 for example) and shipped back to the original owner.

The knowledge base didn't really get me any further than my memory did, but it turns out there was a patch released for Office 2003 that puts functionality in place to work around the fact that the consultant had edited the PPT 2003 file in PPT 2000. It's available from Office Online in the downloads section.

Now, it's nice to have the patch/fix, but since it's more of a high-quality band-aid than a true solution, we will be upgrading the consultant's computer the next time he's in the office.

Remember one thing: It's never considered to be in keeping with best practices to edit files in multiple/different versions of Office programs, especially when it can be avoided, and especially in those programs that do a lot of multimedia and embedded content (PowerPoint, Word, Excel). You may not always know the problem exists (like in this case where the consultant is using their own computer system and working off-site), but if you do know it's just not worth the risk or the software savings to use the older version: It costs more in lost time to report, troubleshoot and fix the problem than it costs to install the right software.

Lesson learned: When a consultant comes on site, be proactive and make the time to ask them briefly about what they will be doing with any shared computer files and what programs they will be using while they work. Had I done that in the first place, the problem would have been resolved before it ever happened.

Add/Read: Comments [1]
Office 2003 | Tech
Sunday, 24 October 2004 08:21:15 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
when i try to sign into msn messenger this is what pops up (msn 6.2)0X81000303 and if i download the newer version of msn 7.0 is tells me it could not connect to the network error 800b001
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