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How (and why) to start Microsoft PowerPoint from the command prompt



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You can open PowerPoint from the Windows command prompt. Using this method, you can add additional parameters that allow you to, for example, start PowerPoint in Safe Mode to troubleshoot, or start with a specific template.

Run PowerPoint with a command

There are two ways to open PowerPoint from the command prompt. You need to know one of them to find out what folder the “powerpnt.exe”

; file is in. You can do this manually by searching File Explorer, or you can use Command Prompt to find it.

First, open a command prompt window. You can do this by typing “cmd” in the Windows search bar (on the taskbar next to the Windows icon). Press Enter or click the “Command Prompt” application in the search results.

When you first open the command prompt, start in your user account folder. From here, you can simply type this command and hit Enter to launch PowerPoint:

start powerpnt.exe

You can also open PowerPoint from the folder containing the powerpnt.exe file, but you need to know which folder it is in.

To find the exact location of the powerpnt.exe file, we need to navigate to the Program Files folder using the cd order. This command changes your current directory in the command prompt.

Type this command and hit Enter:

cd"program files"

You are now in the Program Files folder. The next step is to locate the folder where the powerpnt.exe file is located. Do this by typing the following command and pressing ‘Enter’.

dir powerpnt.exe /s

After entering this command, the command prompt will locate the folder for you.

Now that you know which directory the powerpnt.exe file is in, you can use the cd command to open the file path. In this example, you should enter the following command:

cd Microsoft OfficerootOffice16

Now you should be in the directory where powerpnt.exe is located.

All you have to do now is type powerpntthen press Enter. PowerPoint opens in the usual way.

However, the whole point of using the command is that you can use the various switches and parameters it offers.

PowerPoint command line switches and parameters

Here’s a list of the command switches you can use when starting PowerPoint, courtesy of the official Microsoft Office support site. Add this to the end of the “powerpnt” command on the command line, as shown in the examples below:

Switch and parameter Description
/safe Start PowerPoint in Safe Mode. Launches PowerPoint without additional add-ins, templates, and other customizations. It is useful in troubleshooting PowerPoint.
/ B Start PowerPoint with a blank presentation.
/ C Opens a specified PowerPoint file. If no file is specified, PowerPoint will start as normal.

Example:

"c:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficerootOffice16powerpnt.exe" /c FilePath/presentationname.pptx

/ M MACRO Runs a macro in a specified presentation.

Example: "c:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficerootOffice16powerpnt.exe" /M howtogeek.pptm "MacroName"

/ N Start PowerPoint and create a new presentation based on a specified template.

Example: "c:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficerootOffice16powerpnt.exe" /N "Pathtemplatename.potx"

If no template is specified, an empty template is used.

/THE Start PowerPoint and specify a list of files to open.

Example: "c:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficerootOffice16powerpnt.exe" /O Filename1.pptx, Filename2.pptx

/ P. Prints the specified presentation (with the default printer). When you use this switch, the Print dialog box in PowerPoint is displayed before printing.

Example: "c:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficerootOffice16powerpnt.exe" /P "filename.pptx"

/ PT Prints the specified presentation without opening PowerPoint.

Example: "c:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficerootOffice16powerpnt.exe" /PT "PrinterName" "" "" "filename.pptx"

Note that the empty quotes are needed.

/TO RECOVER Attempts to restore PowerPoint to previous session due to sudden crash.

Example: "c:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficerootOffice16powerpnt.exe" /RESTORE

/ S Opens a specified file in the slide show.

Example: "c:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficerootOffice16powerpnt.exe" /S "filename.pptx"

You can open PowerPoint any way you want with these commands.


PowerPoint isn’t the only Office product you can access this way; you can also open Word from the command prompt!

RELATED: How (and why) to start Microsoft Word from the command prompt




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