While we have covered the worst of the printing problems you are likely to run into, there are a few other things to keep in mind when creating PowerPoint files to be printed.
When sending a presentation to the printer, it will grow in size. Since PowerPoint compresses its files when it saves, the file expand back to full size as it is spooled.
Further, any graphics linked to the presentation will be sent to the printer with the file. This also will affect the size of the spooled file.
Another cause of huge print files is the use of gradients as fills and backgrounds. Because gradients are complex to print, they swell the spool file.
Finally, if using fonts in a presentation not native to the printer (or if using a printer that doesn't store fonts), PowerPoint will put the font information in the spool file. This too will affect the final spool size.
PowerPoint files can be huge, especially when compared to Word or Excel documents. This means the printer has to work harder to print PowerPoint documents. Some printers don't have enough memory to print PowerPoint files. If this is happening, there are a few things to try.
Print the presentation a few slides at a time. This will slow you down, but should let the file print.
Print the slides without the background graphic. This will lessen the load on the printer.
If neither of those suggestions work, try another printer. Some printers just aren't able to handle the load involved when printing graphic- intensive files.
Check to see if there is a newer driver available for the printer. Install it.
Finally, try upgrading the printer or the memory in the printer. The printer may not have the power to print what you want it to.
If the file consistently causes print errors on a specific slide, try deleting and re-creating that slide. The slide may have a corrupted element on it. If this is the case, be sure to create an extra backup of the presentation. Sometimes this is an indication the presentation is on its way to being corrupted.
In PowerPoint 2000 and earlier, there is a nifty feature which prints each animation step of each slide. This feature was removed in PowerPoint 2002.
To access the feature in PowerPoint 2000 and earlier, bring up the print dialog box. Under Print what, select slides with animations.
To get this functionality in PowerPoint 2002 and later, use a free add-in, Capture Show, from PowerPoint MVP Shyam Pillai. http://www.mvps.org/skp/cshow.htm
Few printers print edge to edge. So, when printing PowerPoint files, the slides, notes, handouts, etc., print only within the area the printer can use. To make matters worse , most printers that don't print edge-to-edge also have a larger non-printable area on one side of the page than on the other.
A printer has to grab the paper from the tray, so it leaves a wider margin on that side. You don't notice this effect with most other documents, because most other documents have margins. When printing a PowerPoint file, you haven't set up margins since you want the slides to fill the whole screen.
Printing notes pages will generally work better than printing slides. The best way to avoid this problem is to send the document to Word. There, set up the margins to be equal so the problems won't be quite as noticeable.
To print a full slide per page, with the slide printed on the page, you will also be better off sending the slides to Word. Just as with the notes pages, you can set up the margins in Word to compensate for the unequal margins the printer may cause when printing slides.
A problem with a single slide generally means there is something on that slide the printer doesn't like. The most common cause is having something run off the edge of the slide. If you can, crop the item to remove the parts located outside the boundaries of the slide. (By the way, some printers are fussier about this than others are. Try printing to another printer.)
Another cause of pages not printing is a file on its way to corruption. Before doing anything else with the file, save it under a new name , just in case.