How (and why) do you start Microsoft PowerPoint from the command prompt?

You can open PowerPoint from the Windows command prompt. This method allows you to add additional parameters such as starting PowerPoint in Safe Mode to troubleshoot problems or starting with a specific template.

How to run PowerPoint with one command

There are two ways to open PowerPoint from the command prompt – you need to know one of them in order to find out which directory the “powerpnt.exe” file is in. You can do this manually by going to File Explorer, or you can use Command Prompt to find it.

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

The first time you open Command Prompt, start in your user account folder. From here you can just type that command and press Enter to start PowerPoint:

start powerpnt.exe

Start the PowerPoint command

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


To find the exact location of the powerpnt.exe file we need to go to the Programs directory by doing the cd Command. This command changes your current directory in the command prompt.

Enter this command, then press Enter:

cd"program files"

Command for changing directories in program files

You are now in the Program Files directory. The next step is to find the directory where the powerpnt.exe file is located. To do this, enter the following command and press “Enter. “

dir powerpnt.exe /s

As soon as you enter this command, the command prompt will find the directory for you.

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

cd Microsoft OfficerootOffice16

You should now be in the directory where powerpnt.exe is located.

Now all you have to do is type powerpnt, then press Enter. PowerPoint opens as usual.

powerpnt command


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

PowerPoint command line switches and parameters

Here is 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 following examples:

Switches and parametersdescription
/for sureStarts PowerPoint in Safe Mode. This starts PowerPoint without any additional add-ins, templates, or other customizations. This is helpful when troubleshooting problems in PowerPoint.
/ BStarts PowerPoint with a blank presentation.
/ COpens a specified PowerPoint file. If no file is specified, PowerPoint starts as usual.

Example:

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

/ M MACRORuns a macro on a specified presentation.

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

/ NStarts PowerPoint and creates a new presentation based on a specified template.

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

If no template is specified, a blank template is used.

/ ÖStarts PowerPoint and gives you a list of files to open.

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

/ PPrints the specified presentation (using the default printer). When you use this switch, the Print dialog box appears in PowerPoint before printing.

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

/ PTPrints the specified presentation without opening PowerPoint.

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

Note that the empty quotation marks are required.

/RESTORETried to restore the previous PowerPoint session due to a sudden crash.

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

/ SOpens a specified file in slideshow view.

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

You can use these commands to open PowerPoint in any way you want.

PowerPoint isn’t the only one Office Product you can open this way – you can open too Word from the command prompt!

How (and why) do you start Microsoft Word from the command prompt

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