Every year at the Presentation Summit, it seems that all of us speakers randomly end up on a similar theme. It must be something in the air or water – or maybe it’s a vibe the Help Center puts off – because it’s completely unplanned. For example, one year we were all on the “less is more” bandwagon with nearly every presenter uttering that phrase at one time or another – in completely disparate sessions.

Apparently this year the theme was “unzip your files.” One attendee told me he’d heard about that trick in three different sessions!

So, for those of you who don’t know this trick, here’s how to unzip your PowerPoint files to get at their guts. This is particularly useful for extracting embedded audio, video and image files from presentations.

Before you begin #1: Make a copy of your file! This is just a failsafe. I always make a copy of my file before unzipping it. Just in case.

Before you begin #2: Turn on file extensions. You have to unhide file extensions in Windows so you can see them. File extensions tell Windows what type of file you’re working with and what program to use to open the file, and they are hidden by default in most modern versions of Windows. Of course, if you already have file extensions set to show, you can skip this step.

To turn on file extensions in Windows 7, go to Start | Documents (or otherwise open a Windows Explorer window).

Click the Organize tab, then choose Folder and Search Options.


On the View tab, untick the box for Hide extensions for known file types.


This allows you to see file extensions.

Now that your environment is set up, we can begin with the actual extraction. <produce your own mad scientist laughter here.>

First step: Add a .ZIP extension

Right-click your PowerPoint file and choose Rename. Add .zip after the PowerPoint extension (PPTX, POTX, etc.).

Press Enter to accept the change.


Note: This technique does not work on files that have a 3-character PowerPoint extension (PPT, PPS, etc.) If you are working with one of these files, open it in PowerPoint and use Save As to save the file as PPTX.

Also note that there is a DOT (period, full stop) before the letters Z, I and P.

Once you press Enter, you will be prompted with a warning box that says, If you change a file name extension, the file might become unusable. Are you sure you want to change it? Click yes.

Second step: Open the ZIP file.

Double-click the renamed file to open it using whatever program your system uses. Windows 7 will open the file in Windows Explorer. If you have 7-zip or WinZip installed, you’ll get that program’s interface.

Either way, you’ll see a folder structure that looks similar to this.


Double-click the PPT folder and you’ll see folders similar to this.


Double-click the media folder to see all the media files included in your presentation. The media files will also include any textures or background pictures that are from the theme or template the presentation is based on.


Third step: Drag and drop the media files into your working folder

Select all the files and drag them into your working folder or onto your desktop or wherever. Tip: Especially if I know I’ll need multiple media objects from the file, I often drag the media folder itself into my working folder.

Now you’ve extracted the media files from your presentation! (And you can delete the renamed ZIP file if you want now.)