What Should I Do If PowerPoint Designer Is Not Working?

What Should I Do If PowerPoint Designer Is Not Working

Are you having trouble using Designer in PowerPoint? Here’s what to try if you’re having problems with PowerPoint Designer not working.

PowerPoint Designer is a useful tool that allows you to apply stylish and professional designs to your slides in just a click or two. The tool will create suggested designs based on the contents of a PowerPoint slide, and you can select one of the suggestions to have the design immediately applied to your slide. This makes creating impressive presentations much quicker and easier. Sometimes, however, you may find that PowerPoint Designer isn’t offering you suggestions or is completely grayed out. Here’s what to try if you’re having issues with the feature not working.

Check Your Internet Connection

Microsoft Designer does not generate ideas locally. Instead, the ideas are generated online and then sent back to the PowerPoint app. If you’re having trouble with your internet connection, PowerPoint won’t be able to generate any design ideas and you won’t see any suggestions in the pane.

You can check your internet connection by performing a quick browser search. If you can generate web search results, your internet connection is fine, and the issue lies elsewhere. If you can’t perform a web search, however, you’ll need to fix the problem with your network connection before you can use PowerPoint Designer.

Check Your Microsoft 365 Subscription

On the desktop, PowerPoint Designer is only available with a Microsoft 365 subscription. PowerPoint Designer is also not included in the German version of Office 365, even if you have a subscription. You can use PowerPoint Designer in the online version of PowerPoint; this doesn’t require a subscription.

If you don’t have a subscription, you’ll need to buy one to use PowerPoint Designer in the desktop app. If you believe you have a subscription, you should check that your subscription is up to date, as this may be the cause of your issues.

Restart PowerPoint

Some users have found that the first time they open PowerPoint after installing Microsoft 365, they can’t use PowerPoint Designer. If you’re using PowerPoint for the first time after installing Microsoft 365, try closing the app completely, and then opening it again to see if the Designer button is now available. If it still doesn’t appear, you’ll need to try one of the other options.

Turn On Office Connected Experiences

Microsoft allows you to grant or refuse permission for its apps and services to analyze your content, download online content, and save content in the cloud. If you have refused this permission, you won’t be able to use PowerPoint Designer, since for it to work, it must be able to both analyze your content and download design suggestions from its servers. If PowerPoint Designer isn’t working, you should check that connected experiences are enabled.

  1. Click the PowerPoint File menu.
    powerpoint file menu
  2. At the bottom of the left-hand menu, click Account.
    powerpoint account
  3. Under Account Privacy, click the Manage Settings button.
    powerpoint manage settings
  4. Scroll down to the All Connected Experiences section and ensure that Turn On All Connected Experiences is checked.
    powerpoint turn on all connected experiences
  5. Try using PowerPoint Designer again.

Show Design Suggestions Automatically

PowerPoint Designer can automatically display design suggestions while you’re working on your slideshow. If these automatic suggestions are turned off, you’ll only see design suggestions for your slides if you click the Designer button in the Home ribbon. You can turn automatic suggestions on in the PowerPoint settings.

  1. Click the File menu.
    powerpoint file menu
  2. Select Options at the bottom of the left-hand menu.
    powerpoint account
  3. Select General in the left-hand menu if it’s not already selected.
    powerpoint general options
  4. Scroll down to the PowerPoint Designer section.
  5. Check Automatically Show Me Design Ideas and Automatically Show Me Suggestions When I Create a New Presentation.
    enabling powerpoint designer
  6. You should now see PowerPoint Designer suggestions as you work.

Ensure a Single Slide is Selected

PowerPoint Designer works by analyzing your slide to see what it contains and then sending that information to Microsoft’s servers. Suggestions for design ideas are then sent back and appear in the pane to the right of the screen. PowerPoint can only analyze one slide at a time, however.

If you select more than one slide, even if these are duplicate slides, PowerPoint is unable to do its analysis, so you won’t see any design suggestions. The same applies if you haven’t selected any slides at all, as PowerPoint doesn’t know which one to analyze. Ensure that you have only selected one slide in the left-hand thumbnail pain. Any selected slides should show a thicker border.
powerpoint one slide selected

Try a Different Slide Layout

PowerPoint offers several different slide layouts for you to choose from, which you can then edit to suit your needs. The slide layouts include options such as Title Slide, Title and Content, Section Header, Two Content, and more. PowerPoint Designer can offer suggestions for some of these slide layouts, but not for all of them. For example, you will see design suggestions for Title and Content slides, but not for Comparison slides.

If you find that you’re not seeing any design suggestions, you can try selecting a different slide layout type to see if this fixes the problem.

  1. Right-click your slide in the left-hand thumbnail pane.
  2. Click Layout.
    powerpoint layout
  3. Select one of the layout types and see if you are now offered design suggestions.
    powerpoint layout options suggested by designer
  4. If you’re not repeat the process and select a different option.

Switch Away From Third-Party Themes

If you’re using any third-party themes in PowerPoint, you may not be able to generate any design ideas in PowerPoint Designer. Make sure you’re using one of the standard PowerPoint themes.

  1. Click the Design menu.
    powerpoint design menu
  2. Select one of the standard PowerPoint themes.
    powerpoint themes
  3. See if PowerPoint Designer will work again.

Reduce the Number of Images, Icons, and Other Graphics

PowerPoint Designer has many design options for slides that include things such as images and other graphics. However, these design options are only for slides with a limited number of graphics. If you add in too many graphic objects, you will stop seeing any design suggestions.

For example, I was able to get design suggestions for slides with up to six images in them, but when I added a seventh, no more suggestions were provided. If your slides include several graphic objects, try removing some of them to see if your design suggestions return.

Remove Unsupported Objects

PowerPoint Designer is also unable to generate design ideas if your slides include unsupported objects. For example, if you insert a shape into one of your slides, PowerPoint will not offer any design suggestions as it is not able to generate designs that include shapes. If your slides contain shapes, lines, or objects created with the Drawing tools, then you won’t see any design suggestions.

However, it is possible to add these types of objects once you’ve chosen a design. Try deleting any unsupported objects until the design options reappear. You can then select a design that will be applied to your slides. Once the design has been applied, you can add objects such as shapes or drawings to your slide.

Save Your File in PPTX Format

PowerPoint Designer will only work in files saved in the old PPT format. It also won’t work with macro-enabled presentations saved in PPTM format. If your file is saved in one of these formats, you can save it in PPTX format as this should allow you to use PowerPoint Designer.

  1. Click the File menu.
    powerpoint file menu
  2. Select Save As in the left-hand menu.
    powerpoint save as
  3. Click the File Type drop-down.
    powerpoint format dropdown
  4. Select PowerPoint Presentation (*.pptx).
    powerpoint select pptx format
  5. Click the Save button to save your file in the new format.
  6. You should now be able to use PowerPoint Designer.

Fixing Designer Not Working in PowerPoint

If you’re having trouble with PowerPoint Designer not working, hopefully, one of the fixes above has helped. If you find any other useful solutions, please let us know in the comments. Remember that PowerPoint Designer is an online feature, so if you’re not connected to the internet, you won’t be able to use it. You’ll also need to have an active Microsoft 365 subscription unless you’re using the web version of PowerPoint.

PowerPoint Designer can help you create impressive-looking slideshows much more quickly and easily, so if you are having issues with PowerPoint Designer not working, it’s definitely worth taking a while to get to the root of the issue, as you should still be able to save more time in the long-term.

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