Remove Notes from Powerpoint (PPTX)

PowerPoint lets you add notes to each slide that are not visible when you play your PowerPoint as a slide show. Let’s say you want to remove all of those notes — e.g. so you can distribute the PowerPoint file — and don’t want to manually remove this all by hand.

If you’re using one of the newer versions of PowerPoint on a PC, this is straight-forward enough. You just pull up the Document Inspector and tell it to remove notes, along with other possibly sensitive metadata. Here’s how to do it in PowerPoint 2007 and PowerPoint 2010.

But let’s say you’re using a Mac. As far as I can tell, there’s no way to remove notes in PowerPoint for Mac 2011 (if there’s a way to do it, please let me know in the comments). You may be able to use some VBScript macros, but explaining scripting to someone with little technical experience can be difficult.

So I took the liberty of packaging this as an Automator app for OS X, and as an .exe for Windows. If you’re interested, you can download my Python source code as well. It takes advantage of the fact that PPTX files are really nothing more than zip archives of XML files.

Just drag your PPTX file onto the app or .exe, and it’ll generate a “clean” version of the file in the same location as the original.
Some caveats:
  • These scripts only work with PPTX files. Don’t try it with PPT files.
  • If you have PowerPoint 2007 or 2010, use the Document Inspector instead of this script. It has the ability to remove other metadata in addition to notes.
  • I disclaim any warranty, liability, etc. in the event these scripts blow up your computer or delete your files. Back up your data.

Edit (2013-01-05): LZB found a bug which prevented PPTX notes from being subsequently entered after being cleared. I’ve since fixed the code. Let me know in the comments if any of you encounter said bug.

84 Replies to “Remove Notes from Powerpoint (PPTX)”

  1. A life saver! Thanks so much!

    BTW: I had to put this as the first line of the python file

    #!/usr/bin/python

    that way I could call it from the command line like

    ~/bin/rm_notes_from_PPTX.py *.pptx

  2. Thank you for this file–I am a professor and like to share slides with students, so they are not constantly writing. However, I have become quite dependent on the notes portion of PPT. This little program is a great time saver!

  3. This has been a lifesaver! It has worked for me in the past, but recently it stopped working. I am not able to drop the file into it. I tried downloading it again, but no luck. Is there something wrong with my system since everyone else is still finding that it works for them?

  4. I know I already posted a comment to this effect, but this app has been so incredibly useful to me that I felt compelled to comment again. I use it several times a week and every time I do, I send a mental thank you in your direction.

  5. Hi Andrew, just to be boring by adding to the previous thank yous above… seriously, cool tool, needed to strip out over 500 slides on different sets 🙂 what more can one say, ciao Ant

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I have been looking for a way to do this for over two years…it will be a huge time saver for me. So far, it works great.

  7. It appears that hyperlinks (YouTube videos) and audio files are removed once “cleaned”. Am I doing something wrong? I’m a music professor and my presentations use audio/video.

  8. WOW. I am amazed at how easy and fast that was. My 130 slide dissertation defense talk was converted perfectly in about 3 seconds. THANK YOU!!!

  9. HI!

    I’m eager to use this program. I’m using it on Windows for Mac, and have worked around the security issue. Now, however, when I click on it, something opens and closes so fast, I can’t even read the message.

    Any ideas of what this could be?

    Thanks in advance,
    Donna

    1. Does it work? If it does, then the message is probably just saying it was successful. If it doesn’t work, it’s an error message of some kind. Either way, if you’re using Windows on your Mac, you can probably use the Windows version of Microsoft Powerpoint to remove notes via the Document Inspector.

  10. Easier to create a macro… didn’t work for a while, but now seems to work in the latest version of PPT for mac.

    How to remove notes from PPT
    Open your presentation
    Click “Tools”, “Macro”, “Macros…” and type in removeNotes.
    Click “Create”.
    Paste the following into the window that appears, just before the text “End Sub”

    Dim objSlide As Slide
    Dim objShape As Shape

    For Each objSlide In ActivePresentation.Slides
    For Each objShape In objSlide.NotesPage.Shapes
    If objShape.TextFrame.HasText Then
    objShape.TextFrame.TextRange = “”
    End If
    Next
    Next

    Close the script window.
    Click “Tools”, “Macro”, “Macros…” and double click removeNotes.

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