Fixing a Flickering PowerPoint

Picture of an audio icon in PowerPoint

This quick tip is for a very spe­cif­ic sit­u­a­tion, but I want to make it avail­able since lengthy Googling didn’t turn up an answer for me. I had to solve it the hard way: by actu­al­ly pay­ing atten­tion. I’m not used to doing that. Google has made me weak.

The Problem

When I ran a par­tic­u­lar Pow­er­Point in pre­sen­ta­tion mode near­ly all of the slides blinked (on, black, on) at least once. Many blinked two or even three times before set­tling down. This also made advanc­ing through the slideshow ago­niz­ing­ly slow.

The Futile Search

Search­ing turned up lots of solu­tions to a sim­i­lar but unre­lat­ed prob­lem. I’m not going to describe that Oth­er Prob­lem here because if I did, I’d need to add some key­words that would lead peo­ple to this page who had the Oth­er Prob­lem. But if you’re curi­ous about The Prob­lem Which Shall Not Be Named, you can read about it here and here.

The Cause

Then I noticed this lit­tle speak­er icon in the low­er right cor­ner of most slides:

Flashing Powerpoing Culprit

Flash­ing Pow­er­po­ing Cul­prit

It’s there for a rea­son: I record­ed nar­ra­tion for the slides sev­er­al months ago, though I no longer use the nar­ra­tion. The audio files were long gone.

But, curi­ous­ly, the slides that flick­ered were the ones before slides with lit­tle speak­ers.

Then it clicked: when you’re on a giv­en slide, Pow­er­Point pre-loads the next slide so it can show it quick­ly when you advance the pre­sen­ta­tion. The screen was flick­er­ing when Pow­er­Point tried to access the miss­ing audio files. I assume this flick­er­ing will hap­pen for any miss­ing audio file, whether it’s relat­ed to nar­ra­tion or not.

The Solution

I delet­ed the speak­er icon, remov­ing the audio from the slide:

Culprit Removed

Cul­prit Removed

Poof. Prob­lem solved.

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