Struggling presenting PowerPoint (without buying PowerPoint)


Thanks for providing OpenLP - we've used it at both our churches for a number of years now.  However we've always struggled with PowerPoint - to the extent that some folks are thinking of looking for an alternative to OpenLP. 

Our new Minister and also visiting guests, provide us with PowerPoint presentations on a Memory Stick.  We do not wish to pay for a full PowerPoint license on the presentation PCs.  We've never got either of the alternatives to work well ...

1) We have installed PowerPoint viewer.  The FAQ says that PowerPoint viewer 2010 does not work well.  I have tried PowerPoint Viewer 2007.  While this works stand-alone, when loading the PPTX file into OpenLP it always fails - giving a red X in the Presentation list.  Yes we have PowerPoint viewer ticked in the presentations set-up.

Question 1) Do later versions of PowerPoint Viewer work better ?  Any other ideas ?

2) We have installed the latest version of OpenOffice Impress.  While it 'kinda' works, the rending of even simple slides is poor, not matching the designers intention.

Question 2) Can we use LibreOffice Impress instead ?  Is this better ?  Any other ideas ?

We have had the same issues on the laptops at both Churches.

My current work-around is to take the presentation to a third machine which has full PowerPoint installed (my own at home), and converting the slides to images and using those.  However this means we need the presentation a while before the service, which is inconvenient, especially for visiting guests.  We also loose imbedded audio & video as well as transitions and animations.

Can anyone offer any help ?

Many Thanks,
          Stuart Poore
          from Reading, England.


  • Hi Stuart

    PowerPoint Viewer integration into OpenLP is very much a freak, and it works best with the 2007 version. Moreover the PowerPoint Viewer has been announced to be retired in April 2018 and cannot be downloaded anymore. Therefore the next version of OpenLP will not support PowerPoint Viewer.

    That leaves you with one option: LibreOffice! And yes, you should always prefer LibreOffice over OpenOffice. LibreOffice is actively developed and has better support for MS office formats. It might still not load everything perfectly, bit it should be better.
  • Stuart, the unfortunate reality is that if your minister and visiting guests want to use PowerPoint slides, your church needs to buy PowerPoint. LibreOffice does a fairly good job of loading and presenting PowerPoint presentations, but ultimately PowerPoint will always do better at it.

    Really, this is not OpenLP's fault. If you decided to move away from OpenLP, you'd still be in the same boat. There are very few other worship presentation systems out there that support PowerPoint, and those that do require PowerPoint to be installed.

    So, to get your presentations working would cost you PowerPoint plus whatever money you're spending on an alternative to OpenLP, because it all hangs on PowerPoint, not OpenLP.
  • Thank you both for your prompt replies. 

    I hadn't realised that most of the Office Viewers were retired - and a quick experiment shows that PowerPoint online is bad at displaying non-trivial PowerPoint, so even Microsoft can't display their own stuff correctly !

    I guess the OpenLP FAQs and online help will need updating when V3 comes out, and maybe could do with some updating now  - at least to mention that LibreOffice will work as well (or better) as OpenOffice.  I guess it isn't in a Wiki that I could update myself.
  • Depending on where you're from have a look at microsoft software donation. TechSoup in the US or TT exchange in the UK will get you legal, cheap licences for Office.  
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