4 Replies
Brian Batt

Hi Bartlomiej,

Presenter creates a backup PPTA file whose name will be -old.ppta if the PPTA file becomes locked by another user or computer service or if it becomes temporarily inaccessible for any reason.  Some scenarios, though not all possibilities, where this can occur are described below.  (Note that this -old.ppta file should contain your missing audio.  To restore your missing audio, see “Restoring the connection…” below.)

  1. If the PPTA file becomes locked by another service: If another computer service (for example:  a backup service) accesses the PPTA file while you are working with it, Presenter may not be able to update the file with new information.  In this scenario, Presenter will rename the PPTA file to -old.ppta, and a new PPTA file will be generated.
  2. If a user does a “Save as” and saves over an existing PowerPoint file with a PPTA file: Whenever a user does a Save as, Presenter will also copy the PPTA file to the Save as Location. This can cause a conflict if there is already a PPTA file in that location. Rather than overwriting the file, Presenter renames the file to -old.ppta.
  3. If Presenter upgrades a project from Presenter 5 and a PPTA file already exists in that location: If a PPTA file already exists, Presenter will change the name of the file to -old.ppta and create a new one.
  4. If you have a PPT (2003 or earlier) and PPTX (2007) file in the same folder with the same name: If you have a PPT and PPTX file in the same folder withe the same name, Presenter will want to name the PPTA file the same regardless of which file you are working on. If there already is a PPTA file in the folder that is not associated with the PowerPoint file you open, Presenter will change the name of the file to -old.ppta and create a new one for the opened PowerPoint file.
  5. A user moves a file outside of PowerPoint, and there is a PPTA with the same name as the PowerPoint file in the target directory: If Presenter detects a project is moved outside of PowerPoint, it will copy over the PPTA to the current directory (provided you have write permissions to that directory). If there is an existing PPTA file in that location, Presenter will change the name of the file to -old.ppta and create a new one.

Restoring the connection between the original PPTA file and your PowerPoint file

In the event that a -old.ppta file is created or if you have renamed or relocated your PowerPoint file (thus breaking the link to the PPTA file), you can easily reconnect the original PPTA file with your PowerPoint file, which will restore your missing audio resources. Here’s how:

Ensure that the PowerPoint file and the original (or “-old”) PPTA file are located in the same folder.

Remove “-old” from the PPTA file (if applicable), or rename the PPTA file so that it has the same file name as the corresponding PowerPoint file.

Jeff ("JP") Redman

Brian expertly addressed one of your problems "it get's "-old" [added] to it's name", but it seems to me he did not address the other one "replaced with a new one (empty)" and I'm pretty sure that is a different problem.

I have found that the solution to the empty ppta file problem is to "slow down".

Based on my own experience and observation I am about 85% sure of this stuff, but I have yet to see it confirmed by anyone else on the forums or by support. I've been trying to do a ScreenR to demonstrate the problem and my solution, but so far I've had no luck making it happen on command.

In my experience too, the empty ppta file problem occurred most often when the presentation on which I was working had gotten large (so the SAVE process takes a while) and, particularly, when I was rushing toward a deadline and trying to work very fast.

A reminder of the obvious - Articulate is a "plug-in" running on top of Powerpoint.
That means procedurally that when we save a presentation Powerpoint saves the .ppt type file first, then (after the hourglass icon disappears) some fraction of a second later, in a separate operation, Articulate saves the ppta file.

In my experience the EMPTY ppta file gets created if and when I start working on the presentation AFTER the pptx file is created and BEFORE the ppta file is completely written.

My solution is to keep a Windows Explorer window open when I save so I can visually confirm that a ppta file with content has been written, before I continue working on the presentation. Since I had this little insight and started using this technique I have not had the empty ppta file problem. 

So... if we just wait a couple of seconds after Powerpoint has finished saving to begin working the problem just goes away.

Hope this helps, JP