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Message on startup: "PowerPoint couldn't open the Visual Basic for Applications project ...."

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Message when starting PPT: "[Add-in Name] must be installed ... " (WebEx / Click To Run)

You start PowerPoint and see a message like this:

[Add-in name] must be installed using the installer program 
available at

Installing it using PowerPoint's Add-ins dialog box or by 
double-clicking the PPA file won't work.

PowerPoint upgrades, other add-ins or the Click-To-Run 
version of PowerPoint may also cause this message 
to appear.

First and most important

Don't worry. This isn't a huge problem, nothing's badly broken and it's almost always simple to fix.

Why it happens

Normally you only see this if you try to install one of our PPTools add-ins by using the Add-ins dialog box in PowerPoint or by double-clicking the add-in's PPA file. Please don't do either of those things. Use the installer we provide instead.

Other things can cause this message to appear:

Office updates, some other problems

Re-installing your PPTools add-ins almost always fixes the problem.

Consider this a great opportunity to visit the PPTools Download Page to get the latest version of your PPTools add-ins.

Quit Powerpoint, run the installer for each PPTools add-in you want to install, re-start PowerPoint and you should be good to go.

If that doesn't solve the problem, follow the instructions here: How to uninstall ALL PPTools and then re-install using the new installers.

Office Click-To-Run versions

When you download Office 2010 or the trial version, Microsoft encourages you to install what they call a "Click-to-Run" (CTR) version of Office. Unfortunately, it's intended more for home users and in some respects it's not an appropriate choice for business users. Our best suggestion is to uninstall it and install a full version of Office (you can request a DVD when you purchase Office online and you should ALWAYS do this; it only costs a few dollars extra and it'll save you hours or days of trouble if your hard drive fails.).

How can you tell if you have the CTR version? Click File | Help. In the version information at the right side of the screen it will say something about Click-to-Run.

If you must use the CTR version of PowerPoint, PPTools add-ins will probably function correctly, but you'll see this annoying message at startup. We're waiting for Microsoft to provide adequate documentation for the CTR version so that we can solve the problem. Until they do, you may have to suffer this message at every PowerPoint startup. We apologize for the trouble.


The conflict with Webex' software occurs when you share a PPT presentation during a meeting. You may see this error message from PowerPoint either then or the next time you start PowerPoint.

We've worked directly with WebEx and have identified the cause of problem. It's up to WebEx to solve it. If it occurs, please contact Webex tech support and ask about an upgrade to version 26 or higher of their software.

If the updated software isn't available yet or you can't install it for other reasons, here are two simple workarounds:

TechSmith's Camtasia Office Add-in

If you run into conflicts between TechSmith's add-ins and PPTools, check the TechSmith site for an updated version of your software. To the best of our knowledge, TechSmith has solved the problem.

ScanSoft PaperPort

Several PPTools users who've installed ScanSoft's PaperPort software have reported problems. In all cases so far, uninstalling PaperPort's addin and reinstalling the PPTools add-in(s) has solved the problem.

As far as we know, it's not possible to have both the PaperPort PowerPoint add-in and PPTools add-ins installed at the same time. We've attempted to contact ScanSoft about this but so far have received no reply. We apologize for any inconvenience.

We haven't heard from a customer with this problem in years, though. It seems likely that ScanSoft has corrected it.

Check the registry

If you're comfortable working with the Windows registry:

If that didn't make perfect sense, don't mess with the registry. Click the Contact link on this page and get in touch with us. We'll help you sort it out from here.

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