How To Convert PowerPoint to Word (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 8, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

PowerPoint and Word are both popular tools that many business professionals use every day. While these tools are similar and belong to the same suite of programs, they each have unique functions and serve their own purpose. If you use Microsoft Office programs at work, then you may benefit from learning how to convert a PowerPoint presentation into a Word document. In this article, we explore some of the most common reasons people convert PowerPoint presentations into Word documents, provide step-by-step instructions to help you accomplish this task and share some tips to make working with these programs easy.

Related: 20 Tips for Making a Good PowerPoint Presentation

Why convert a PowerPoint presentation into a Word document?

One of the most common reasons people choose to convert PowerPoint presentations into Word documents is because it allows them to edit their handouts and speaker notes in Word. While converting a PowerPoint presentation into a Word document doesn't convert the slides themselves, it does provide thumbnails of each slide. There are several ways you can create your converted Word document, depending on whether you would like to include the thumbnails. You can create a handout with:

  • Notes next to the slide thumbnails

  • Blank lines next to each slide thumbnail

  • Notes below each slide thumbnail

  • Blank lines below each slide thumbnail

  • Outline only without slide thumbnails

Related: 5 Methods for Compressing a PowerPoint File (Plus Tips)

How to convert a PowerPoint presentation into a Word document

The steps to convert a PowerPoint presentation into a Word document vary slightly depending on the operating system of the device you're using. The following sections contain step-by-step instructions to help you convert a PowerPoint presentation into a Word document on Windows and Mac OS devices:

1. Instructions to convert a PowerPoint presentation into a Word document on Windows

Here are some steps you can follow to convert a PowerPoint presentation into a Word document if you're using a Windows device:

  1. Open the PowerPoint presentation you want to convert to a Word document.

  2. Click on the "File" button in the upper left corner of your screen.

  3. Select "Export" from the menu on the left side of your screen.

  4. Click on the "Create Handouts" button in the menu.

  5. Then click on the "Create Handouts" button again in the "Create Handouts in Microsoft Word" page that appears.

  6. Select which type of page layout you would like to use for your handout.

  7. Check the box next to "Paste Link" if you want your Word document to automatically update when you make changes to your PowerPoint presentation and vice versa. You can select "Paste" instead if you don't want to link your PowerPoint presentation and your Word document.

  8. Click on the "OK" button to export your PowerPoint presentation as a Word document on your Windows device.

Related: How To Insert a PDF Into PowerPoint: Step-by-Step Instructions

2. Instructions to convert a PowerPoint presentation into a Word document on Mac OS

Here are some steps you can follow to convert a PowerPoint presentation into a Word document if you're using a Mac OS device:

  1. Open the PowerPoint presentation you want to convert to a Word document.

  2. Click on the "File" button in your menu bar.

  3. Select "Export" from the menu on the left side of your screen.

  4. Name your file and select where you would like to store it on your Mac OS device.

  5. Choose "Rich Text Format (.rtf)" from the "File Format" drop-down menu that appears.

  6. Click "OK" to save your new .rtf document.

  7. Find the new .rtf document in your files and right-click on it.

  8. Select "Open with Microsoft Word" from the drop-down menu that appears to finish converting your PowerPoint presentation into a Word document.

Related: How To Outline Text in PowerPoint in 5 Steps

How to update a linked PowerPoint slide in Word

If you're editing your PowerPoint presentation in Word, you may want to make sure any changes you make apply to both files. The following sections include instructions to help you update a linked PowerPoint slide in Word in two different ways:

1. How to update a linked PowerPoint by right-clicking on slides in Word

If you only want to update one PowerPoint slide, this method may be the best option for you. Here are some steps you can take to update a linked PowerPoint slide by right-clicking on it in Word:

  1. Open the document you want to edit in Word.

  2. Locate the slide you want to update.

  3. Use your computer mouse to right-click on the thumbnail of the slide in Word.

  4. Select "Update Link" from the menu that appears to update your Word document and linked PowerPoint presentation at the same time.

2. How to update linked PowerPoint slides in the edit links dialog box

If you want to update all of your lined PowerPoint slides, this method can help you make your changes quickly. Here are some steps you can take to update linked PowerPoint slides by using the edit links dialog box:

  1. Open the document you want to edit in Word.

  2. Click on the "File" tab in the upper left corner of your screen.

  3. Select "Info" from the menu on the left side of your screen.

  4. Click on the "Edit Links to Files" button in the lower-right corner of your screen.

  5. Choose the PowerPoint slide you want to update by clicking on it in the "Links" dialogue box that appears.

  6. Click on the "Update Now" button.

  7. Repeat steps five and six for each slide you want to update.

  8. When you're finished updating your PowerPoint slides, click on the "OK" button to finalize your changes.

Related: Improving Your Computer Literacy: Everything You Need To Know

How to unlink PowerPoint slides in Word

There may be some situations where it's necessary to unlink your PowerPoint slides so the original presentation remains intact while you make edits in Word. Here are some step-by-step instructions to help you break linked PowerPoint slides in Word:

  1. Open the document you want to edit in word.

  2. Click on the "File" tab in the upper left corner of your screen.

  3. Select "Info" from the menu on the left side of your screen.

  4. Click on the "Edit Links to Files" button in the lower-right corner of your screen.

  5. Choose the PowerPoint slide you want to update by clicking on it in the "Links" dialogue box that appears.

  6. Click on the "Break Link" button.

  7. Repeat steps five and six for each slide you want to unlink.

  8. Click "OK" to close the "Links" dialogue box and finish unlinking your slides.

How to embed PowerPoint slides into a Word document as a presentation

If you're trying to insert a PowerPoint presentation into a Word document instead of creating a handout with speaker notes, you can do this by embedding the slides into Word. Here are some steps you can take to create an embedded PowerPoint presentation in Word:

  1. Open the Word document you want to embed your PowerPoint presentation into to get started.

  2. Click on the "Insert" tab in the upper left corner of your screen. This tab appears between the "Home" and "Draw" tabs.

  3. Locate the "Text" group of tools from the "Insert" tab ribbon. This group appears between the "Header & Footer" and "Symbols" groups of tools.

  4. Click on the arrow next to the "Object" button to open a drop-down menu and select "Object" from it.

  5. Select the "Create from file" tab in the "Object" dialogue box that opens.

  6. Click on the "Browse" button.

  7. Locate the PowerPoint file you want to embed into your work document.

  8. Check the box next to "Link to File" to make sure any changes you make to the presentation in word to automatically update in PowerPoint.

  9. Click on the "OK" button to close the "Object" dialogue box and finish embedding your PowerPoint presentation into your Word document.

Related: How To Share a PowerPoint in 5 Methods (Plus Tips)

Tips for converting PowerPoint presentations into Word documents

Here are some additional tips to help you convert a PowerPoint presentation into a Word document successfully:

  • Close other programs before exporting your PowerPoint presentation. Depending on how much memory your computer has available, you may encounter an error message when you try to export your PowerPoint presentation to a Word document that says "PowerPoint couldn't write to Microsoft Word." If this happens, save your presentation, close your programs, restart your computer and open only PowerPoint to conserve enough memory to perform this operation.

  • Turn on automatic updates. If you want every change you make to your Word document to appear in the linked PowerPoint presentation, turn on automatic updates. This can save you time.

  • Consider exporting your PowerPoint presentation as an HTML file. If you want to share your presentation with other people online, converting it to an HTML file may be a better option than converting it to a Word document. This is because people can access HTML files from anywhere using a standard web browser.

  • Learn how to export PowerPoint presentations as PDFs. While exporting PowerPoint presentations as Word documents is a great option, there are some situations when you may want to create a PDF instead. This is because PDFs allow anyone you share the presentation with to view and print it using their computer, smartphone or tablet.

Please note that none of the products or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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