How do I turn off single-window mode in Powerpoint?
September 22, 2006 6:12 PM   Subscribe

MS Office question: How do I stop Powerpoint from using a single window to display all documents? I'd like to be able to look at two powerpoint files side by side and copy/paste between them, but powerpoint insists on opening them in the same window.

Each ppt file that is open has a seperate entry on the taskbar, but toggling between them just toggles which of them appears in the lone powerpoint window.

I'm sure this is an easy question to many, but I'm usually an open office user and my google-fu is failing me tonight. Any help is appreciated.
posted by chrisamiller to Technology (17 answers total)
Oh, and I neglected to mention that the version is MS Powerpoint 2003.
posted by chrisamiller at 6:17 PM on September 22, 2006

Select Arrange All in the Window menu while in slide sorter view.
posted by punkfloyd at 6:25 PM on September 22, 2006

Open two powerpoint files and click Window > Arrange All.
posted by matthewr at 6:25 PM on September 22, 2006

'Arrange All' still shows me a single powerpoint window, with sub-windows for each slideshow inside. It might work for now, but I'd much prefer to have each appear in its own seperate powerpoint window. Is there any way to do this?
posted by chrisamiller at 6:29 PM on September 22, 2006

I just tested using the Arrange All command as mathewr suggested. It yields a single PPT window with both documents in it. Maximizing the primary PPT window and manually resizing each doc within it using the bottom right corner and also repositioning each doc gave me two easily readible windows that I could compare and c/p between. You can use either the slide sorter view or the individual slide view.
posted by X4ster at 6:46 PM on September 22, 2006

I'd much prefer to have each appear in its own seperate powerpoint window

I'm pretty sure that Powerpoint checks, when it starts up, that there isn't an instance of Powerpoint running already. This means that having two completely separate Powerpoint windows open is probably going to be difficult or impossible. I think "Window > Arrange All" is probably the best option.
posted by matthewr at 6:49 PM on September 22, 2006

Go to Tools, Options...
Then make sure the 'Windows in Taskbar' is checked.
posted by senterstyle at 7:06 PM on September 22, 2006

thanks senterstyle, but that just controls whether Powerpoint shows multiple tabs on my taskbar or not. Whether that option is on or not, all ppts all open in the same window.
posted by chrisamiller at 7:11 PM on September 22, 2006

Do you have to use a PC? Can you switch to a Mac for this project? I don't say that as a snotty evangelist, I swear: the Mac version automatically opens multiple windows for each presentation.
posted by theredpen at 8:11 PM on September 22, 2006

The "Arrange All" option is your best bet. Powerpoint is an "MDI" application, which means it has one "parent" window which all the open documents are contained in. (FWIW, so is Excel.) There can only be one Parent window, because documents will automatically open in an existing parent, and starting PowerPoint a second time just won't open a second parent. The fact that you can get taskbar tabs for each document anyway is a hack, and one that many people find frustrating and confusing for exactly this reason.
posted by CrayDrygu at 10:23 PM on September 22, 2006

You simply can't have multiple instances of Powerpoint running.
posted by Pigpen at 10:33 PM on September 22, 2006

You could maybe install OpenOffice and open yor source ppt in Impress.
posted by flabdablet at 4:36 AM on September 23, 2006

When you have one Powerpoint File open, go and start Powerpoint again (as in, go to start, programs, etc and just run it).

It should open up another instance of Powerpoint. Now you have two instances, one with an open file, one with nothing open. You can open the second file in the empty instance.

Just because something shows up as seperate on the taskbar doesn't mean it's actually seperate - that's a very annoying 'feature' of MS Office.
posted by svdodge at 9:37 PM on September 23, 2006

It should open up another instance of Powerpoint.

It doesn't, though.
posted by matthewr at 6:48 AM on September 24, 2006

OK -- it can be done, but it's kludgy.

Kludge follows:

1) Create another Windows XP account to use.

2) Use the shell command RUNAS to run the other instance of PowerPoint under the other account.

Example: having created a special account "Dad", when logged in as "BW", and already running PowerPoint, use [Start] [Run...] CMD, and then enter a command similar to:

C:\> runas /user:dad "c:\program files\microsoft office\office11\POWERPNT.EXE"

Voila! Another instance of PowerPoint.

Pro: you get another instance of PowerPoint.

Con: it's running under the other account, so will save files to the My Documents folder, etc. of that other account. But that could be overcome by changing the MS Office folders locations of where the Dad account saves its files. You need never actually log in to Dad through the front end of Windows XP.

You can make a batch file with a shortcut if you like, so it's as easy as clicking an icon called "Second PowerPoint".

I haven't used this for lengthy periods of time, but essentially, you're doing what is done under Windows Server, etc. with the same version of MS Office. The two instances should be well enough behaved, but in good AskMeFi style, I must point out YMMV.
posted by blue_wardrobe at 4:19 PM on September 24, 2006 [5 favorites]

Sweet. Like you said, the hack is a bit kludgy, but it works well enough for what I need. Thanks blue_wardrobe!
posted by chrisamiller at 5:06 PM on September 24, 2006

That's quite an answer, blue_wardrobe. Favorited.
posted by matthewr at 5:06 PM on September 24, 2006

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