Resources > Freaking Microsoft Bugs

Mac-Windows Image Incompatibility in PowerPoint (and probably for the entire Office suite)


PowerPoint files created on MacOS X using PowerPoint 2004 may contain images that cannot be displayed on Windows using PowerPoint (2001, 2007) with the following message displayed for the image:

"Quicktime(TM) and a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture"

Installing QuickTime on Windows would not work, and you don't have time to do that anyway if your presentation has started.

This symptom is shown as captured from MacOS X and Windows screens. An example PowerPoint file demonstrating this problem may be downloaded via the link below.

MacOS X PowerPoint
Windows PowerPoint
PPT File
PPT file illusrating the problem (created on MacOS X by PowerPoint 2004)



This happens when image data are directly pasted into PowerPoint slides on a Mac via clipboard from other applications such as,, etc.

Somehow, data copied directory into PowerPoint slide via pasteboard (clipboard) is tagged with unnessary flag to point to QuickTime TIFF decompressor.

Drag-and-dropping an image from Safari Version 2.0.4 (419.3) into PowerPoint page, causes the same error condition. Safari probably uses clipboard for drag-and-dropping image data.

On the other hand, FireFox is different. Drag-and-dropping an image from FireFox (Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X; en-US; rv: Gecko/20070309 Firefox/ into PowerPoint page produces a file that displays correctly on Windows as well.
FireFox probably drag-and-drops the path to the temporary file somewhere for the image. Notice that the image data are not placed on the clipboard in this case.

Whatever it is, this should be a totally unncessary bug, since TIFF or TIF files saved via are imported correctly into Mac PowerPoint, and displayed correctly on Windows PowerPoint. Mac PowerPoint can interpret and display the TIFF data from clipboard just fine. It doesn't have to tag it as QuickTime data. Just save it in whatever format your Windows PowerPoint can read. Microsoft, fix it. It's not an Apple problem. Even if you might cut corners and rely on QuickTime for TIFF rendering on MacOS X, there is no reason that Windows PowerPoint cannot decode embedded image data on its own. TIFF is a well-documented standard for which there is even a royalty-free open-source library with a long history. The bug is in either of your PowerPoint applications, and fix both versions for robustness. I mean how hard is it to interpret TIFF data. Still having this problem with Windows PowerPoint 2007 is inexecusable. I am beginning to suspect that Microsoft may want to keep it this way intentionally to limit compatibility at 95% to frustrate users, or nobody cares as long as the Office suite is selling regardless.

Avoiding the Problem - a workaround:

Do not copy-and-paste images directly from other applications (such as Preview, Adobe Reader, Grab).
Do not drag-and-drop images directly from Safari (and possibly from other applications).
Drag-and-dropping image FILES from Finder is OK.

Instead, first creat a file from pasteboard data using (File > New From Clipboard, and save image to file in a desired format), and then drag the image file into into PowerPoint from Finder (or use menu: Insert > Image > From File ...). Images from Safari should be dragged into a folder in Finder, and then drag-and-drop that file into PowerPoint.

Note that some guidelines on the net incorrectly advise to avoid all drag-and-drops. This is not so. Drag-and-dropping an image FILE from Finder is OK. The thing to avoid is drag-and-dropping an image directly from other applications into PowerPoint. The difference, I believe, lies in what is actually transferred to PowerPoint by the drag-and-drop action. The problem occurs when the image data itself is transferred. If the pathname to a FILE (temporary or otherwise) is transferred by the action, then PowerPoint opens the file and inserts its content. This will have the same effect as "Insert > Image > From File ..."via the menu, and will produce a good slide that will display correctly on Windows.

Summary in Japanese /日本語サマリー:

MacOS X上では、他のアプリケーションからPowerPointに画像を直接コピー・ペーストしてはいけない。(ただし、PowerPoint内で画像をcopy-and-pasteすることは問題ない。)そのようにして貼付けた画像は、WindowsのPowerPointでは表示できない画像となり、「QuickTimeとTIFFの解凍モジュールが必要です」(英語)のメッセージが画像の代わりに表示される症状になる。QuickTimeをインストールしても解決されないし、そんなことをするヒマはないはず。

1. Preview, AdobeReader, Grab等から画像データをクリップボードを介して直接PowerPointに貼付けてはいけない.
 代わりに、クリップボードデータを先ずPreviewでファイルにしてから、そのファイルをFinderからPowerPointにdrag-and-dropすること。Previewのメニューからファイル > クリップボードから新規作成とし、Saveする時に画像フォーマットを選択する。

2. Safariに表示されている画像をそのままDrag-and-dropでPowerPointに貼付けてはいけない.

また、「会場にWindowsマシンを準備してある(しか準備してない)ので CD-RかUSBメモリーでPowerPointファイルを持ってきてください」というOffer/要請はできる限り断ることを勧めます。自分のマシンを持っていくか、MacOS Xマシンを準備してもらうかでしょう(バックアップとして、もちろんこれらを当然持っていくべきですが)。どうしてもそれが無理な場合は、Micorsoftソフトウエアは信用できないものと考え、よほど事前のテストしてからでないと痛い目にあう。

良い値段のソフトなのに、こんな状態が何年も続いていて、なぜ誰も怒らないのだろう。Office 2007のPowerPointでも未だに同じ表示が出る。クリップボードに由来するTIFFデータをQiuckTime依存で表示しなければならない理由は全くないはずだ。意図的にこうした非互換性を残しているか、よほどテストがおざなりかのどちらかであるとしか私には考えられない。

Resources > Freaking Microsoft Bugs






© Copyright 2004-2005 Ohzawa Lab. All Rights Reserved.