Crashing during publish

I have a 165 slide powerpoint that I've been progressively building the past few weeks and within the last five days its started crashing when I attempt to publish. It gets to about 120-130 slides finished and suddenly powerpoint chokes. Are there any tips/solutions on this?

I was able to publish just fine previously; and the preview feature still works. I'm at a loss right now how to proceed.

42 Replies
Brian Batt

Hi Shawn,

If you are unable to publish large presentations on your computer, it is likely that your system is running low on resources, including one or more of the following:

*  Memory (RAM)

*  Hard drive space

*  Paging file

To address a memory issue, you would need to add more RAM to your computer or free up resources by closing other programs that are running.  If the hard drive is nearly full, you would need to delete or archive files to free up space.  To update your paging file, please use the following method, depending on your operating system:

WINDOWS 7 / VISTA:

1)  Go to the Start menu.

2)  Right-click "Computer," and select Properties.

3)  Click "Advanced system settings" in the left pane.

4)  The System Properties window should open to the Advanced tab.  In the Performance section, click the Settings button.

5)  When the Performance Options window appears, select the Advanced tab.

6)  In the Virtual Memory section, click the Change button.

7)  In the "Total paging file size for all drives" section at the bottom of the window, note the Recommended setting.

8)  Then select the C: drive from the Drive list at the top of the window, and type a number equal to or greater than the Recommended setting (from step 7 above) into the Initial Size text box and also the Maximum Size text box.

9)  Click the Set button.

10)  Click OK three times to save your changes, and reboot your computer when prompted.

11)  After your computer restarts, try to publish your presentation again.  If it still fails to publish, increase the page file size until you are able to publish the file.  If the issue persists, you will need to run some basic maintenance on your computer, including removing temporary files and defragging your hard drive.

WINDOWS XP:

1)  Go to the Start menu.

2)  Right-click "My Computer," and select Properties.

3)  When the System Properties window appears, select the Advanced tab.

4)  In the Performance section, click the Settings button.

5)  When the Performance Options window appears, select the Advanced tab.

6)  In the Virtual Memory section, click the Change button.

7)  In the "Total paging file size for all drives" section at the bottom of the window, note the Recommended setting.

8)  Then select the C: drive from the Drive list at the top of the window, and type a number equal to or greater than the Recommended setting (from step 7 above) into the Initial Size text box and also the Maximum Size text box.

9)  Click the Set button.

10)  Click OK three times to save your changes, and reboot your computer when prompted.

11)  After your computer restarts, try to publish your presentation again.  If it still fails to publish, increase the page file size until you are able to publish the file.  If the issue persists, you will need to run some basic maintenance on your computer, including removing temporary files and defragging your hard drive.

Shawn Cantu

I increased the page file to 12079 MB rebooted and tried again. It still crashed in roughly the same spot, this time with no other applications running on a fresh reboot.

This is a Windows 7 x64 laptop with 8 GB RAM. I'm a bit concerned that its not the memory because I was previously able to publish the presentation fine then I made a batch of changes to it and now it chokes.

Is there any way to see what slide the program is crashing on? Every time the powerpoint/AP crash occurs, the publishing window vanishes, the slide previews on the left side of the Powerpoint window become garbled, and I get a crash message from Powerpoint. It's nightmarishly boring to watch a 165 slide presentation publish only to try and catch what exact slide its crashing on, I keep getting distracted with other work and missing what's causing it to crash. Please help!

I am attempting to publish again. I will try to add an image of the crash, etc after this newest attempt at publishing fails.

Justin Wilcox
Please follow the steps below to generate for us a trace log of what's happening:

1) Download, extract, and double-click the below trace tool (keep the window open): 
http://www.articulate.com/support/downloads/APTrace.zip
2) Launch PowerPoint. PowerPoint should be launched only after the trace window is open.
3) Follow the steps you normally take to reproduce your issue.
4) When you are finished reproducing your issue, in the Trace window copy the text and paste it into Notepad.
5) Attach the log file to your reply to us for review.

I would also suggest you submit a case by following the steps below.

Please create an Articulate Presenter package, then upload the zip file to our server. You can review how to do this here: 

http://www.articulate.com/support/presenter09/?p=457

Upload the resulting zip file from your computer to our server using this upload form: 

http://upload.articulate.com/ 

Please be sure to include a description of your issue, your version of PowerPoint, version of Windows and version of Presenter '09 which you can find in Help and Support -> About Articulate Presenter. Please also include the URL for this thread so we can follow up with you in the forums.

Shawn Cantu

It appears to have crashed while processing object 11 in slide 132, the trace gave this as the last message:

artspconv:CopyShapeImage:Error#-2147417851.Method '~' of object '~' failed at line 0   

Full trace is attached, will submit a case momentarily.

Doug Willner

I had a similiar situation, it turned out that by watching the publishing and seeing exactly which slide crashed the Publish I was able to determine that the individual slide was corrupt (I do not know how or why).

I grabbed a screen shot of the problem slide, replaced the original and it worked.

Hope that helps

Shawn Cantu

:(

It is with much deliberation and hesitation that I write this message, I'm not hostile but I'm very frustrated and passionate about training. I am posting the contents of the feedback I received from the senior engineers, so that other AP users who search the Articulate support and forums might benefit without further cases, and because I'm dissatisfied with this answer (see below):

----

Normal 0 false false false oNotPromoteQF /> EN-US X-NONE X-NONE ontGrowAutofit /> ontVertAlignCellWithSp />

This issue is still being investigated to see if there may be another workaround.  I cannot guarantee that another option will be found. However, if another option is discovered, I will let you know.  I cannot say if a method for preventing PowerPoint from resetting its automation reference will be included in a future update.  We do not announce new features before they are released.  If you would like to receive notifications when new updates and products are released, we recommend subscribing to the Articulate Word of Mouth Blog:

http://www.articulate.com/blog/

Currently, the workaround is to reduce the number objects in the presentation.  As a general rule,it is recommended that you use PNG images in place of multiple individual objects on a slide.  This will reduce overhead, speed up publishing significantly, avoid the possibility that your computer will max out its memory or processing power and cause publishing to fail,and maintain placement of the individual objects, which could shift slightly when converted from PowerPoint vector information to Flash raster information.

----

I find this dissatisfying because it essentially says that I should take my presentation and take all the objects and convert entire slides to images. First this kills the ability to make any effective use of animations. Second, its extra work (I'm currently at 165 slides, that's a *LOT* of saving and replacing with images, on top of changing animations/flow); it hardly seems appropriate that a program designed to help deliver flash-based training more effectively now requires that I build everything once, save it as an image and then build it again. A deeper issue here is that by building entire slides as images, it becomes more difficult to make slides that build 'on top' of earlier content; due to various displacement issues between PP vector information (both regular and master slides) and also the object positioning from when I saved as an image.

It seems inappropriate that I should have to abide by a recommendation that I should use .png files on the basis of 'in place of multiple individual objects on a slide'. This comes off completely arbitrary and suggests that I'm risking my presentation any time I add a basic PowerPoint object to the presentation. Must I live in fear whenever I need to add a text box or a rounded rectangle? Whenever I need to revise a training in the future, what then? Do I maintain a repository of all images and PP objects, separate from the PowerPoint that I actually publish? How is this actually saving me time or making developing training easier? With no clear guidance on when and where to use .PNGs, I'm left feeling concerned that I'm potentially at risk any time I use regular PP objects, and with that in mind you start to wonder why you're using AP at all.

And a specific complaint about the workaround. I couldn't care less about publishing time and overhead if the publishing process worked in the first place. How do you think it makes the trainer and/or Articulate look when I tell my boss that I can't predict when the training will be done because I don't know if it will publish successfully?

In general I like Articulate products. I have figured out how to make most things work, lots of little tricks from various screenrs and so on. I've already spent tons of time learning how to get many facets of AP to work seamlessly with Powerpoint; published, reviewed, changed, rinse and repeat ad nauseum. But reasonably, how can I put much confidence in a product where when something that should work doesn't, the support response tells me 'well you shouldn't do that.'? Do people actually pay to get answers like this?

Sorry for sounding hostile, but I can't expect that any other customer would feel much different in the same circumstances.

EDIT: to fix quoted text.

EDIT2: I should also add that this would not nearly be as big of an issue if the AP preview could detect and discover this issue. As it so happens, I frequently use the preview and had no problems with the presentation; this issue was not encountered until I attempted a full publishing sequence.

Justin Wilcox

Hey Shawn,

I certainly understand your frustration. Articulate Presenter is dependent on PowerPoint and is not without limitations. Sometimes you will hit those limitations whether it's due to the number of objects, slides, etc... That being said, we are always looking at ways to improve the publishing process so hopefully there's something we can do in the future to limit this issue from happening in the first place.

I don't think the suggestion is to change all of your objects to PNG files. I think you just need to go through this particular presentation and begin reducing the number of objects so that the presentation will publish correctly.

I get that this isn't what you want to hear, but for right now I think that's your best option.

Shawn Cantu

Thanks for the reply Justin.

I'm glad you recognize that I really would like to see this kind of behavior disappear.

I am changing as much as I can to images right now and will see how that changes things. Hopefully things look better shortly.

I know that the engineer wasn't meaning to suggest I replace *everything*, but I am sorta left wondering how to gauge future presentations... i.e., to know when I'm pushing the limits.

Justin Wilcox

That's a tough one to gauge but the more slides, objects, etc... you add to a presentation then the more likely  you are going to have issues. I've seen slides with close to 100 objects layered on top of one another and really complicated animation sequences and guess what? The slide wouldn't publish. Sometimes it's better to spread complicated animation sequences or things that require many objects over multiple slides. Also, the more stuff you can put in the slide master, the better off you are going to be as well. Since a slide master is static, that can easily be converted to image which would reduce the chances of having an issue with publishing.

Sometimes a slide will crash, though, for other reasons like file corruption or if you are working on or publishing to a network drive.

I took a quick look at your course and there are a lot of slides that don't have any animation but have a lot of objects on them. I would guess that those would be the slides you would want to focus on converting to PNG images. How I would do that is I would group the objects, save them as a picture and then copy the grouped objects to a new presentation. That way you can still edit the slides if necessary.

Stephanie Harnett

Bingo!.II don't want to sound negative either but the points Shawn brought up are carefully considered. He has actual documented experience. I have also experienced the same issues. The program wasn't designed, I don't think, for advanced users - people who do animations to achieve a more professional and polished "non-slideshow" look. Those of us who venture beyond bump into all sorts of unpredictable behavior.

I particularly dislike the fact that preview doesn't accurately show you what the result will be. It gives you a ballpark but by no means is it accurate. When things get more complicated, preview really falls short.

If it takes 5 days to develop a course I allocate 3 days to publish it. Serious.

I keep the object count low and I use a lot of PNGs. I keep a separate elements file so that I have access to the source, however, I have learned that you can't keep another powerpoint file open at the same time and expect preview or publish to work correctly.

I too have a long list of tweaks and workarounds. It takes a lot of stamina to create a 20 minute module using PowerPoint as a blank canvas. I'm just finishing up another project in Articulate and it is always at the end where the problems begin. I'm going to have to get into the habit of publishing instead of previewing. If publishing wasn't such a huge memory/resource drain and time consuming I would do that more often. Everytime I publish I have to walk away for 20 minutes or more. I don't use the computer for fear that any usage will corrupt the publish and egad, I'll have to publish yet again.

My latest issue with PNGs (just some, not all, and nearing the end of the slide deck) publishing with blue instead of transparent  backgrounds is yet another example of unpredictable behavior. What should have been accomplished in a single publish has turned into about 5 hours of my time to figure out the logic of the problem. No logic. Reboot, clear memory, disable running processes and re-publish (each time) to produce the most predictable (but not guaranteed) results. It's frustrating when the results change from publish-to-publish as well.

Ok, enough. I think you can sense my frustration. Thanks for allowing me to vent. Use Articulate with caution if you are planning to develop more advanced elearning.

Alison Ersheid

I've been very disappointed with Articulate lately as well.  It really doesn't work for any serious module... Publish has failed consistently for me after I created the initial simple modules.

My latest issue is with a module consisting of 96 slides.  The publishing fails every time at slide 75 (while attempting to save it appears).  The machine resources are fine.  The time of the crash, CPU usage is 30-40% and Physical Memory utilization is below 50%.  I even installed Articulate on another machine and the same exact result!

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.  At this point, I'm ready to give up on Articulate as I don't feel like I should spend more time on debugging the software than developing the module...

Thanks,

Brian Batt

Alison Ersheid said:

I've been very disappointed with Articulate lately as well.  It really doesn't work for any serious module... Publish has failed consistently for me after I created the initial simple modules.

My latest issue is with a module consisting of 96 slides.  The publishing fails every time at slide 75 (while attempting to save it appears).  The machine resources are fine.  The time of the crash, CPU usage is 30-40% and Physical Memory utilization is below 50%.  I even installed Articulate on another machine and the same exact result!

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.  At this point, I'm ready to give up on Articulate as I don't feel like I should spend more time on debugging the software than developing the module...

Thanks,


Hi Alison,

I apologize for the issues that you're having.  Would you mind submitting a support case so that we can take a closer look at the issue?

http://www.articulate.com/support/contact/

Justin Wilcox

Alison Ersheid said:

I've been very disappointed with Articulate lately as well.  It really doesn't work for any serious module... Publish has failed consistently for me after I created the initial simple modules.

My latest issue is with a module consisting of 96 slides.  The publishing fails every time at slide 75 (while attempting to save it appears).  The machine resources are fine.  The time of the crash, CPU usage is 30-40% and Physical Memory utilization is below 50%.  I even installed Articulate on another machine and the same exact result!

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.  At this point, I'm ready to give up on Articulate as I don't feel like I should spend more time on debugging the software than developing the module...

Thanks,


I don't see that you have submitted a case yet regarding your issue with publishing. Here are instructions on how to send us your project files. We'll be happy to troubleshoot this issue for you:


Please create an Articulate Presenter package, then upload the zip file to our server. You can review how to do this here:

http://www.articulate.com/support/presenter09/?p=457

Upload the resulting zip file from your computer to our server using this upload form:

http://upload.articulate.com/

Please be sure to include a description of your issue, your version of PowerPoint, version of Windows and version of Presenter '09 which you can find in Help and Support -> About Articulate Presenter. Please also include the URL for this thread so we can follow up with you in the forums.

Jessica Trace

I stumbled upon this post in search of a new solution to crashing files. I just want to add that I too have been very disappointed by the responses I've gotten in submitting cases in the past with this same problem. I'm not trying to be rude in any way, but it's just very frustrated when you spend a lot of time developing a course and then it won't publish, or takes a few days to publish. 

Right now, I'm attempting to publish a course that is 110 slides. During publishing, it never crashes in the same place consistently so I do not believe it is a corrupt slide. I have changed my virtual memory, and I don't think that is the problem. My computer is large enough and runs great. Any other suggestions? The course must remain the same, and cannot split it up (as has been suggested to me in the past as the only solution, which is a bit frustrating). 

Thanks for any help

Stephanie Harnett

I have found publishing large courses, particularly those with lots of objecst per slide, is kind of like playing twister.You will have to bend and move around in odd ways to make it work. Some ideas for you from my experience:

- Reduce the number of objects per slide, inclduing master slides.

- Convert multiple, stagnant objects into single images.

- Leverage master slides for any slides more than 2 that share the same mostly the same elements. This will educe the overall object count.

- Remove animated effects of many objects in favour of grouping, converting to a single image, and animating the single image

- Unusual fonts have cuased problems for me. I convert words, phrases that are using un-common fonts like chalkboard fonts or Tom Kuhlman's handwritting fonts, into PNGs as well.

- Keep an elements file with all the original powepoint graphics/source graphics so that you can edit those combined imagse later if need be

- Publish often - all the way through as you build the course to catch problems earliy in development. you cannot rely on preview for this.

- Keep the file under 80 slides if possible. I have found going over 80 increases the likelihood of odd behaviour

- Don't work on 2 Powerpoint files at the same time - this can effect published results (or even prevent publishing) and I have also linked this with stripped out audio that sometimes happens where I have to go back into the import audio and re-import my narration.

- Keep narration as separate files on disk, one file per slide in WAV format for this reason. And turn off Articulate optimize audio feature.

- Objects with a shadow that is animated will unpredicably look weird - won't draw in fully, won't be placed correctly, etc. Convert these objects to PNG or remove shadows/glows.

When publishing becomes erratic - streamlining the PowerPoint file as best you can will likely allow the file to be published. It is not ideal but I have not yet been in a situation with Articulate that I couldn' work around to produce the results I wanted. It is at times counter-intuitive, clumsy and time-consuming but it will produce what you want.

If publishing problems continue and it's important to you that this get done, then I would take the extreme step of clearing out all content (but keeping the actual sldies in palce) for the last 1/2 of the file:

- take that last half of the slides and copy them into a new file and keep source formatting.

- If narration was on any of the slides, you will need to re-import those files but your sync timings, etc will remain intact so this is a relatively quick procedure.

- save and close that file then go back to the origianl and publish.

- assuming that worked, then publish the other file with the last 1/2 of the sldies into a different location.

- open the data/swf of that published output and rename the slide##.swf and tb##.swf files. Let's say your file has 80 slides in it, so you would rename slide1.swf to be slide 41.swf and so on.

- copy these files into the original published directory (with the first half) replacing the files.

Awkward and tedious but if nothing else is working you could conceivably spin for days without a solution. If it has to happen, sometimes brute force is the only solution - it will most likely get around the problem so that you can deliver and afford time until you can come up with a stable, more effective solution.

Stephanie

Shawn Cantu

Really good tips Stephanie. I've come to learn most of these myself.

I can't reiterate enough about shadows on animated objects have odd positioning, as well as just about any vector based elements (TTF font text) with shadows. This problem becomes even *WORSE* when you try to start leveraging master slides if object positioning between the slide and slide master are precise. Basically here is the rule:

If in doubt, save as PNG and re-import.

And also totally agree that you should OFTEN use the full publish even when its incomplete, to check that you're not passed the 'point of no return'.

Oh and don't try to change too many slide properties at once, that always seems to crash AP for me.

Stephanie Harnett

Ahh yes, I forgot the slide properties crash! That consistently happens too so yes, I'd add in no more than 15 slides changes at a time in slide properties.

Too bad there wasn't an option to publish a range of slides.

And for Jessica - also make sure that the publish path doesn't contain characters like - / etc and that it is no more than 120 characters in total publish path length. make sure slide 1 is not hidden, remove all animations for slide masters, re-boot, close all apps and don't copy/pasate or otherwise touch your computer while publishing (smile).

For all the wrokarounds I'm still using Aritculate because of the convenience and familiarity I have with PowerPoint and my clients too. Seems like Storyline is going the way of Captivate - a PowerPoint-like interface but not actually PowerPoint? Hmmm.In the future, perhaps I will be leaving PoerPoint 2010? Hmmm again.

Jessica Trace

Thanks for your responses! I've tried most of those things before, but there were some new ones in there that I'm trying out! It's just unfortunate that all these workarounds exist...I'm wasting so much time that I could be using on another project! One of the new ones I hadn't heard or used that you mentioned, Stephanie, was the one about turning off the optimized audio feature. I wasn't sure what to set it at when customizing, but I just tried whatever was on there as default for custom optimization. Is there anything you could recommend here? Am I making sense as far as indicating what I'm talking about? :/

Also I got Error Code 120 last time I tried to publish. This has happened to me before, but I can't remember what I did to fix it. I saw on the old forums that this usually happens when there are special characters in the publishing path or the path is too long (mine had neither), so I'm not sure why that occurred either. I renamed the file, and I'm going to try again.

If all else fails I'll try reusing the slides. I have the audio files saved separately, so it shouldn't be too much of a hassle. 

Thanks again!