Difference Between PPT and PPTX File Formats

Last updated on May 27th, 2023

Back in the day, Microsoft PowerPoint used the PPT format which is still available even for newer PowerPoint versions. Since PowerPoint 2007 and beyond, the newer PPTX version has been widely used for saving PowerPoint presentations. If you’re confused about the difference between the two formats, see our list of differences between the two formats and recommendations as to which one you should use?

PPTX is not Supported by Older PowerPoint Versions

While you can save a PowerPoint file to the old PPT format using a PowerPoint 2007 or later version (e.g. PowerPoint 2016), the same cannot be said for older versions like PowerPoint 2003. The only way you can use the newer PowerPoint version with an older version like PowerPoint 2003 is by installing the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack or by using PowerPoint Viewer.

PPT File Format - PowerPoint File Extension
PowerPoint File Extension

The X in PPTX is for XML Support

The newer file version of PowerPoint, i.e. PPTX has an X added to its file extension which stands for XML. This is because this version comes with opensource XML support which makes it more compatible with different types of programs. So, if you want to use your PowerPoint file with other applications, you might just opt for PPTX.

PPTX File Format - PPTX File in Save As dialog box - PowerPoint
PPTX File in Save As dialog box – PowerPoint

PowerPoint File Extensions Went Through an Overhaul after PowerPoint 2007

PowerPoint also upgraded its Macro supported version of PowerPoint files as PPTM, which is also not supported by older versions of PowerPoint, as well as its formats for saving files as a slideshow (PPSX), and template (POTX).

Below is a list of older and new PowerPoint file extensions.

Old PowerPoint File Extensions & Versions

  • PPT – PowerPoint 97-2003
  • PPS –  PowerPoint 97–2003 slideshow
  • POT – PowerPoint 97–2003 template

Newer PowerPoint File Extensions & Versions

  • PPTX – PowerPoint 2007-2016
  • POTX – PowerPoint 2007-2016 Template
  • POTM – PowerPoint 2007-2016 macro-enabled template
  • PPTM – PowerPoint 2007-2016 macro-enabled presentation
  • PPSM – PowerPoint 2007-2016 macro-enabled slideshow
  • PPSX – PowerPoint 2007-2016 slideshow
PPT Vs PPTX - Options to Save as presentation type in PowerPoint Save As dialog box
Options to Save as presentation type in PowerPoint Save As dialog box

PPTX Files Support Newer PowerPoint Features

There are a number of PowerPoint features that the old PPT format does not support. For example, if you want to make full use of PowerPoint animations, you might want to switch to the newer PPTX format. This is because many of the new features can’t be used if you save your file as a PPT, even if you’re using the latest PowerPoint edition.

New Features not Supported by PPT - PowerPoint Compatibility Checker
PowerPoint Compatibility Checker

File Versions Aren’t the Only Factor that Affects PowerPoint Files

It’s is worth mentioning here that PowerPoint file extensions aren’t the only factor that affects PowerPoint files. Even if you save a PPTX file using PowerPoint 2016 and open it in an older PowerPoint version, say Version 2010, you might see a difference in formatting and supported features such as transitions and animations that might not be available in older versions.

Similarly, newer PowerPoint editions bring additional features that older versions don’t support, for example, PowerPoint 2013 and 2016 have features for integrating YouTube and other online videos to presentations, a feature pretty much broken or non-existent in older versions.

Add Online Videos
Insert Video in PowerPoint

When it comes to the old and new file versions in PowerPoint, new is simply better and more efficient. However, if you have compatibility issues and can’t seem to view a PowerPoint file, you can always upload it to a cloud service like Google Slides, SlideOnline or use the PowerPoint Online service which is free to use and requires only a Microsoft account. You might also want to check out our post about MS Office File Converters.

About Farshad

IT professional, communications specialist and Blogger!

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