Disappearing or blank thumbnails in task panes
PowerPoint 2003 doesn't display images in one or more task panes. For example, it may not display thumbnail images for available template designs or slide layouts. You can still click on the area where the template or layout should be and apply it, but without being able to see what you're applying, this isn't very useful.
There isn't one. But here are some things to try, things that've worked for others.
Quit PowerPoint before performing each step, then restart it and test. If you find that your thumbnails come back, let us know which step "made the magic".
- If you use Outlook, close it and restart PowerPoint. If that solves the problem, start Outlook again and set it not to use Word as its mail editor. When Outlook starts Word, Word loads any installed add-ins. Some of these add-ins can cause problems for PowerPoint, unlikely as that may sound. It's not Word or Outlook that causes the problem, so if you uninstall the Word add-in, you can probably go back to using Word as your Outlook email editor.
- Power down the computer and restart it.
- Do the usual Windows maintenance drills: defragment your hard drive, delete files from your TEMP directory, clean out your browser cache, etc.
- Check with your video card manufacturer for driver updates. One user reports that "what really fixed my problem was installing the latest set of ATI Radon Drivers. (he has the 9600 card)"
- Make sure your copy of PowerPoint has all the latest updates (choose Help, Check for Updates)
- Set hardware acceleration back.
- Start Windows in Safe Mode and check the thumbnails in PPT. Try quitting and restarting PowerPoint while in Safe Mode.
- Start PowerPoint in Safe Mode: Hold down the Ctrl key while you click the PowerPoint icon (Start, Programs, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003). Keep the Ctrl key down until PowerPoint displays a dialog asking whether you want to start in Safe Mode. Click Yes.
- Log in as administrator if you don't normally do so, or get an administrator to log in and test for you.
- Disable all of the add-ins that you found in the steps above. Usually it's enough to locate the add-in's .PPA file and rename it to e.g. .PPB (quit PowerPoint first). COM add-ins might take an uninstall or registry surgery to disable. We don't recommend doing this unless you're comfortable working in the registry. Some add-ins that have been implicated in Task Pane problems:
- File, Print FedEx Kinko's
- The Creative Commons Add-in for Microsoft Office
- Search for any *.PCB files on the computer and rename them to *.PXX files temporarily.
- Create a new user on the computer, log in as that user and start PowerPoint.
And another ... disable unnecessary startup programs. Here's how:
- Go to Start, Run, type msconfig and click OK.
- Select the Startup tab and click the button to Disable All.
- Restart your computer.
- When you reboot, you'll see the System Configuration Utility message box. It will say something like "You have used the System Configuration Utility to make changes to the way Windows starts. The System Configuration Utility is currently in Diagnostic or Selective Startup mode, causing this message to be displayed and the utility to run every time Windows starts. Choose the normal startup mode on the General tab to start Windows normally and undo the changes you made using the System Configuration Utility.
- Do not check the box where it says "Don't show this message or launch the System Confirguration Utility when Windows starts:" Instead, just click the OK button, and the System Configuration Utility will open. You can ignore it for now.
- Start PowerPoint and see if the thumbnails are visible. If they are, go back to the System Configuration Utility, select the Startup tab, and check the first item on the list to re-enable it. (If you closed the System Configuration Utility, just go to Start, Run and type msconfig again.) Restart your computer and check to see if the thumbnails are still visible in PowerPoint. Repeat this sequence until you isolate the problem application running in the background on startup and causing the thumbnails not to show in PowerPoint.
And another ... is something hogging the processor or memory?
Use Task Manager to determine this:
- Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete
- See what the CPU usage says at the bottom of that dialog box. If it's sitting steadily at close to 100%, try shutting down some applications.
- Is the machine running out of memory? Memory is listed on the Performance tab of Task Manager.
Stuff to keep an eye on:
Does the problem always occur or does it sometimes appear and sometimes not?
Does it seem to occur after you've run other programs?
If none of these suggestions helps, we need your help. We're trying to collect information that'll help Microsoft reproduce the problem so they can track it down and eliminate it.
Please copy/paste the following into Notepad, answer the questions, then paste the results into a post or reply on
The PowerPoint Newsgroup
Windows version and service pack level (right-click My Computer, choose Properties, then click the General tab)
Computer (from the same dialog as above). Please mention whether this is a laptop, desktop, tablet or other.
Video info (click the Hardware tab in above dialog then click Device Manager. In Device Manager, open Display Adapters. Doubleclick the display adapter, go to the Driver tab and give us the name that appears at the top of the dialog box plus the Provider, Date and Version info)
PowerPoint version and SP level (start PowerPoint, choose Help, About Microsoft PowerPoint; the version, build and SP number if any appear on the first line of the About Microsoft PowerPoint dialog box)
Log-in privileges (user, guest, administrator, other)
What add-ins are loaded? Don't trust what you see in Tools, Add-ins.
First off, what's on the menu? If there's something other than File, Edit, View, Insert, Forrmat, Tools, Slide Show, Window, Help, you probably have an add-in loaded.
See What add-ins are loaded?
Once you see the messagebox that lists installed add-ins, press Ctrl+Shift+C to copy the info then in your Notepad document use Ctrl+V to paste the info in.
Also check for add-ins listed in the registry. Close PPT. Go to Start|Run and type
and click OK.
In the registry, look in
Another way to gather most, if not all of this information is to start PowerPoint 97-2003, choose Help, About Microsoft PowerPoint, then click "System Info...". Or start PowerPoint 2007, click the Office button, choose PowerPoint Options, click Resources, click About, click System Information. Then:
- If you use Windows XP, choose File, Save As and save an NFO file.
- If you use Windows 20000, click "System Information" at the top of the Tree list on the left, then choose Action, Save as and choose System Info File.
- Either way, save the file to a convenient location. Be patient ... it may take a while, since it's generating a very thorough system report.
This will store all of your system information in one file that you can doubleclick at any time to view. No need to start PowerPoint or wait for endless refreshes.