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Why is PowerPoint 2003 Pen Disabled During Slide Show?

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Shortcut Menu is Active But Pen Tool Not Working in PowerPoint 2003
PowerPoint pen tool is the Microsoft Handwriting Component

PowerPoint pen tool is one of the Office Shared Features, particularly the Microsoft Handwriting Component

© Wendy Russell

Presenters often like to annotate a slide onscreen during a presentation. This is usually done using the PowerPoint pen tool (or other tool such as a highlighter). A simple right click should allow the use of the pen from the shortcut menu. However, sometimes the pen is disabled and you cannot figure out why.

This problem was identified as an issue with the type of install you chose when PowerPoint 2003 was initially added to your computer. One of the Office Shared Features called the Microsoft Handwriting Component was missed if you chose the option for a limited install rather than choosing the default install options, as most people do.

This issue can be easily fixed by following the steps below.

  1. Click Start button > Control Panel.
  2. Choose Add or Remove Programs in the Control Panel dialog box.
  3. Scroll the list and click Microsoft Office 2003 and click the Change button.
  4. The Microsoft Office 2003 Setup dialog box opens.
  5. Choose the option Add or Remove Features.
  6. Click the Next button.
  7. Check the box for Choose advanced customization of applications (the last option under the names of Office programs) and then click Next.
  8. Scroll in the list shown and click the + (the plus sign) beside Office Shared Features to reveal shared options. The + sign will change to a - (minus sign) which means that all available options are shown.
  9. Click on the red X beside Microsoft Handwriting Component to show the drop down list of options.
  10. Select Run from My Computer and then click the Update button.
  11. The Microsoft Office 2003 Setup will start to install this missing option. When the option has been installed you will see a confirmation message onscreen.
  12. Open PowerPoint 2003 and start a presentation in slide show mode. Right click to access the shortcut menu and the PowerPoint pen tool should now be activated.

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