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Security in PowerPoint Presentations

Use PowerPoint Security Features to Keep Content from Prying Eyes

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Security in PowerPoint is a concern when your presentation contains sensitive or confidential information. Below are some of the methods to secure your presentations to avoid tampering with information or theft of your ideas. However, security in PowerPoint is certainly far from perfect.

1. Encrypt Your PowerPoint Presentations

Example of encrypted PowerPoint presentation data
Image © Wendy Russell
Using the encryption feature in PowerPoint is a way to keep others from accessing your presentation. A password is assigned by you in the creation process of the presentation. The viewer must enter this password in order to view your work. If the encrypted presentation is opened using some other software, in the hopes of viewing/stealing content, the viewer would see something similar to the image on the left.

2. Password Protection in PowerPoint 2007

Password protection in PowerPoint
© Ken Orvidas / Getty Images
The encryption feature in PowerPoint, listed above, adds only a password to open the presentation. The password feature allows you to add two passwords to your presentation -
• password to open
• password to modify

Applying a password to modify allows viewers to see your presentation, but they are unable to make any changes unless they also know the additional password you have set to make modifications.

See also ~ Password Protection in PowerPoint 2003

3. Mark as Final Feature in PowerPoint

Mark as Final in PowerPoint
Image © Wendy Russell
Once your presentation is complete and ready for prime time, you can use the Mark as Final feature to ensure that no further edits can be made inadvertently.

4. Secure PowerPoint Slides by Saving as Graphic Images

Save slide as picture in PowerPoint
Image © Wendy Russell
Saving your completed slides as graphic images will ensure that the information remains intact. This method takes a little more work, as you have to first create your slides, save them as pictures, and then reinsert them into new slides.

This method is one you would use if it is imperative that the content remain unchanged, as in the case of confidential financial data being presented to board members.

5. Save PowerPoint as a PDF File

Save PowerPoint 2007 in PDF format
Screen shot © Wendy Russell

You can secure your PowerPoint 2007 presentation from any edits by saving, or to use the correct term -- publishing -- it in PDF format. This will retain all the formatting you have applied, whether the viewing computer has those particular fonts, styles or themes installed or not. This is a great option when you need to submit your work for review, but the reader is unable to make any changes.

6. Security Flaws in PowerPoint

Security Flaws in PowerPoint
Image - Microsoft clipart
The use of the word "security" with regard to PowerPoint is (in my opinion), highly overrated. Even if you have encrypted your presentation by adding passwords, or saved your slides as pictures, your data may still be vulnerable to prying eyes or theft.
Related Video
PowerPoint Presentations for Beginners
PowerPoint Animation

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