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Linking Older Versions of PowerPoint Presentations Together Seamlessly

This tutorial guides you through how to link different presentations together. It may be used to work around some of the limitations of PowerPoint®. It's great for:

linking tutorial
  • Mixing presentations that use different templates / styles without all the slides getting badly mis-formatted
  • Displaying several presentations in what appears to be one show
  • Keeping all the different powerpoint files separate and at a manageable size
  • Avoiding the annoying black screens in between presentations like you get with the list (.LST) method using the powerpoint viewer
  • The LOOPING tutorial explains how to loop certain presentations but not all of them!
  • It doesn't require you to click on any hyperlinked buttons to call up any of the presentations!
  • FREE Downloadable files available at the end to see how it's done
  • This is THE original powerpoint linking tutorial - often imitated but never bettered


This technique works by having what we will call a show presentation. The show presentation effectively calls up all the other linked presentations and then displays them. The trick is to have a common slide that is identical on all the presentations. The common slide must be the very first and last slide of all the linked presentations. The linked presentations can use any template, it simply doesn't matter. When you display the show presentation, powerpoint will display the common slide (from the show presentation), when it has displayed the common slide, it will then load up the next linked presentation and display it automatically, again it will show the common slide. This is how it makes it seamless. You don't have to click any buttons on the screen. You don't have to stop the presentation and load up the next one. You don't have to toggle between presentations. Sounds complicated? Then follow this step by step powerpoint tutorial:

Step by Step Tutorial:

1 For this tutorial we will create a directory / folder on our computer called
C:\Tutorials\Linking tutorials linking
2 Put all your presentations in this directory. For this tutorial we will just have two presentations that we will link to, and our show presentation.
3 Using powerpoint, save one of your presentations as "Show01.ppt". This is the presentation that will call up all the other presentations.
4 Make a common screen as the first slide in this presentation.
It's important that any background images are actually on this page and not on the "slide master".

example common page
It's also important that this slide is using the layout called "blank", as this helps powerpoint from re-formatting your common slide when you paste it into other presentations
choose the blank layout
5 Now for the clever stuff!
Choose the Insert Menu, Click on Object and the following will appear
click object change from create new...
6 Click on Create from file and the following will appear
to create from file
7 Click on the "Browse" button and navigate to your first presentation that you want displayed when you run the show.
8 Click on your first presentation (in this case Linked01.ppt) and click OK.
browse window
9 Click on "Link" and you should see the following
tick the link box
Note: The option to "link" is not available on the mac version of powerpoint. However, it is still possible to chain presentations together.
10 Click on "Display as icon" and then click the "OK" button
tick display as icon
11 The following powerpoint icon will appear
here the icon for powerpoint 97
12 Click and drag the icon off to the edge of your page
drag it off the page area
13 You've successfully linked a presentation into your show presentation.
Now to tell powerpoint to display the linked presentation automatically.
Right click the icon and select "Custom Animation"
custom animation   powerpoint animation window
14 Change the "Entry animation and sound" from "No Effect" to "Appear"
appear effect
15 Click on the "Play Settings" tab, change the "Object action" from "Don't Play" to "Show"
play = show
16 Click on the "Timing" tab, make sure that the "Start animation" is set to "Automatically" and "0" seconds after previous event. This way powerpoint will automatically load your linked presentation without any user intervention.
17 As an extra step you could add a note to yourself, again off the edge of the screen, just above the powerpoint icon. For example:
add some notes for yourself
18 To link in the rest of your presentations. Copy this slide by choosing the "Insert" menu, and select "Duplicate Slide". Delete the powerpoint icon at the edge of the screen.
Repeat steps 5-17
19 For each linked presentation you must add the "common" slide as the first and last slide. So powerpoint will display the same slide when it jumps from each linked presentation and back to the "show01.ppt" presentation.
common slide on the first and last slide
20 Save It

That's it!

To display the actual show, all you need to do is load the file called "show01.ppt" and display it. Please note when you load the presentation powerpoint will display "this presentation contains links - Do you want to update them"...Always choose "Yes" to this question. Powerpoint will do the rest.

Just use the mouse button or the right cursor key to move forward through the presentation. Remember that to move from a linked presentation to the next presentation you will have to click 3 times for powerpoint to display the next presentation.

The first click will move back to the "show01.ppt" presentation
The second click will move to the next slide in "show01.ppt", powerpoint will then automatically load the next presentation. So you may want to wait half a second before pressing for the 3rd click.
The third click will move from the "common" slide in the linked presentation to the first real slide.


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The following assumptions were made for this tutorial:

  • You are using powerpoint 97 or powerpoint 2000. Powerpoint versions 2002 XP 2003 linking tutorial
  • All your presentations should have the page size set to "on-screen".
  • You have your presentations already made.
  • You can put your presentations in any folder you like, but to be on the safe side it's best if you replicate the directory structure on any computer you transfer the presentations to.
  • You can use filenames longer than the 8.3 convention

To download the files used in this tutorial right click the image below, then choose "Save target as" (IE), or "Save Link As" (Netscape).

Right click here to download the tutorial files
  • The file downloaded is a Zipped file which will need unzipping.
  • It contains all three files used in this tutorial. Filesize 0.4mb
  • It's important that you place the unzipped files in C:\Tutorials\Linking as this is where powerpoint will be looking for the files.
Have Fun!
Please Note: Although we have made every effort to check the files against viruses at all stages of production. It is always wise to run a virus checker on any software before running it. By Default! cannot accept responsibility for any loss, disruption or damage to your data or computer system which may occur while using either either the CD-Rom or downloaded files. It is assumed that by downloading the files you accept these conditions. Otherwise do not use the awesome backgrounds for powerpoint.

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