Opening password-protected PowerPoint presentations

PowerPoint presentations can arrive in different file formats:

  • PPT is the default file extension for saving presentations in PowerPoint 2003 and earlier versions.
  • PPTX is the default file extension for saving presentations in PowerPoint 2007 and later versions.
  • PPS is the the show mode extension in PowerPoint 2003 and earlier — these files run in “play-presentation” mode when double-clicked.
  • PPSX does the same thing in PowerPoint 2007 and later — it runs in “play-presentation” mode when double-clicked.

For editing a PPSX file, instead of double clicking on it, as it would start the “play-presentation” mode, open PowerPoint and then open the file:

PPSXpowerpointopen

Still, if the PPSX file is password-protected, you have to enter the correct password to unlock it and be able to alter the contents and paste them in other presentations:

PPSXopenfile

Or not?

Actually we can open password-protected PowerPoint PPSX presentations without knowing the password. In explorer, rename the presentation, changing the file extension from PPSX to ZIP:

PPSXrename

Then open the ZIP file, and search for the presentation.xml file in the ppt folder:

PPSXopenzipfile

Extract the presentation.xml file from the ZIP file, then open it in a text editor (here is Notepad++, but plain Notepad will do just as well)

PPSXeditxml

Close to the end of the file, find the tag highlighted, starting with

<p:modifyVerifier cryptProviderType=”rsaAES”

mark it and then delete it, like this:

PPSXeditedxml

Save the file, then put it back into the ZIP file in the same position, replacing the unedited one:

PPSXreplacefile

Finally, rename the ZIP file back to the PPSX extension:

PPSXrenametoppsx

Done! Now open PowerPoint, and open the Pres.ppsx file:

PPSXunprotected

Mission accomplished! All the contents of the presentation are now at your disposal.

DISCLAIMER: if there was a password, then probably there is a good reason for blocking access to editing and/or copying contents of a presentation. By following this technique, you assume all the responsibilities for an action that could infringe laws and could be legally prosecuted. I accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.

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