No autorecover in PowerPoint 2004?!

I made the switch from Windows to Mac last spring, a decision for which I have only one regret — that I didn’t do it earlier.

Well, now it’s actually two regrets — that I continued to use PowerPoint for Mac instead of switching to Keynote.

Here’s the short version of my recent pain and suffering. The first wave of pain is actually the simple fact that PowerPoint 2004 (the Mac version) is a pretender compared to the very easy-to-use PowerPoint for Windows. Lots of little goofy things that seem unnecessarily clunky. For example:

1) Go to open a file. Default is to show me “All Readable Documents” rather than PowerPoint documents. I’m running PowerPoint, for crying out loud. How about defaulting to that?

2) Open a PowerPoint file, go to normal view. On the left is the outline view of the text. Long lines of text disappear under the slide pane on the right. Along the bottom of that window is a scroll bar. Grab that bar, slide it all the way to the right. The text shifts left about 1/4 inch, leaving all the rest of the text still hidden.

3) Speaking of the scroll bars, rather than shifting the contents of the window while you slide them, the contents just sit there until you release, and then jumps to the correct spot. Wasn’t that de rigeur like 15 years ago?

I could go on, but you get the idea. (I’ve considered doing a point by point comparison of the two versions. Maybe in the future.) In any case it seems clear to me that there is less commitment on the part of Microsoft for the Mac version of PowerPoint than for Windows. I wonder why that might be?!

But like I said, that was just the first wave of pain. The acute symptoms struck Friday afternoon.

I’m in a massive flow, amazingly productive. The kind of productive flow that you get into after several hours of spinning your wheels before all the lights come on. The kind of flow where you get as much done in two hours as you had in the previous six. The kind of flow where you’re reaching a zenith of productivity, almost completely done with this amazing……

Huh? Shoot. PowerPoint just died.

Totally killed itself. That’s never happened before. Well, no problem. It’s been autorecovering every 10 minutes all afternoon. I’ve seen the little banner message across my screen. The most I’ve lost here is 10 minutes. Painful, but I can manage.

Before relaunching PowerPoint, I look around for autorecover files. I always like to do a little manual maintenance in these situations in case something stupid happens next. No autorecover files that I can find. I can see Word autorecover files, but nothing relating to my presentation. I poke around a bit more. Look in the Preferences… Hmm. In Word there’s a preference for the autorecover folder, but not in PowerPoint. Finally, after dinking around for a bit, I just decide to trust PowerPoint and relaunch. It comes up and shows me the Project Gallery, rather than something about autorecovered files. The help screens tell me that PowerPoint is supposed to give me a selection of autorecovered files when the death thing happens. But it’s not offering up anything. More research. More futility. I finally click on the presentation as an act of ultimate desperation. It’s my version from 2:52 p.m., the last time I manually saved. The version just before all the beauty and productivity gushed forth.

I’m now livid. And depressed. I know, I know. Save frequently. But I’ve been using Word and PowerPoint for Windows for almost 15 years, and ever since autorecover showed up as a feature, I’ve had a good sense of security, and have seldom been burned. Heck, I stayed with Office when I went to the Mac because it’s been such a reliable and usable product. Alas. It appears my PowerPoint days are over. I installed Keynote yesterday and am preparing for a learning curve/paradigm shift of at least modest proportion.

And that’s the story of pain and suffering, courtesy of whoever forgot to actually make the autorecover work in PowerPoint 2004 for Mac. I could continue whining and venting my pitiful spleen, but… I, ah, have a presentation to re-generate.

9 thoughts on “No autorecover in PowerPoint 2004?!

  1. So? How goes the transition? I have been giving thought to the iWork suite, but would so like a better spreadsheet than what passes for excel in the original Office for OSX

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  4. To read this and know that someone has tried what I want to attempt tonight, and to hear that it is futile…well it helps actually to know that it can’t be done. If I were to rebuild now and wonder in the back of my mind if it wasn’t all there somewhere…I’d go crazy. So thank you for venting. Back to rebuilding for me. The irony is the crash was caused by me trying to make a backup onto a jump drive.

  5. 15 hours into a presentation build and I have just found the same!! only 7 more hours till i am meant to present this and no hope of redoing in time. I think I;m going to shoot myself

  6. Pingback: Dr. K’s Software Ruminations » Blog Archive » Low-tech fix for the PowerPoint autorecover problem

  7. terrible… 3 hours lost work.. and it is midnight I lost a beautiful powerpoint and can start from scratch.. cannot believe it is really gone with the ‘autorecovery alert’ passing by every 10 minutes.. Unbelievable. Stupid.

  8. I lost 4 hours of work on PowerPoint for my Mac. The totally screwed up thing is that I was Saving. I wasn’t relying on the autosave feature which popped up every ten minutes. I was saving after I finished the updates for each module. I totally want to kick Bill Gates ass for selling this crappy software. I think I’m going to go ahead and buy Keynote today. I actually used it for a month in the full use demo mode. It’s about 100 times better then the crap software powerpoint. Looks better, is tons easier to figure out and use. And it doesn’t arbitrarily just do weird shit for now apparent reason. Only thing is that PPT doesn’t support some of the really cool transitions… so if you’re going to convert it to Power Point for someone else you have to go easy on using the really cool stuff.

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