Geek Boy's blog
Monday, December 06, 2004
  QuickTime and a TIFF (LZW) decompressor are needed to see this picture.
Fun with powerpoint.

I'm doing up some slides on Mac OS/X, using Office 2004. I'm including some window grabs from, and for many of the slides, instead of the picture, I see "QuickTime&trade and a TIFF (LZW) decompressor are needed to see this picture."

Nice. The 'Compatibility Report' for reading this file back to Office 2003 on windows says that it's just fine, thank you very much.

However, some of the images did work, and the ones that worked were the ones that I'd edited before pasting into PowerPoint, either in PowerPoint itself or in Photoshop Elements.

So, if you've got access to both platforms and need to fix this, the easiest way to fix it is to go through each image on the mac, and use the redeye remover or scratch remover tool inside Powerpoint to force the image to be converted to something usable on Win32.



Thanks for your article on this. I'm a tech support guy for a living and we ran into this problem and were really scratching our heads on it. I'll try the things you mentioned here.

Much appreciated,
I see this all the time, oddly enough if you use Keynote and export to PPT all of the images work, even on images that PPT for Mac didn't show in window PPT.
So don't use PPT. use Keynote if you have it. or export to either PDF or QuickTime. and make certain that either of those players exists on the Windows box you will be presenting on. Keynote exports an interactive quictime that advances the slide or animation on the click of a mouse. And when I am going to present I make a cd with my quicktime mov file and the quicktime install software, and a pdf as a backup.

@#$%@#%^& M$
Brilliant . This one had us racing around like a.b.a.f. Your scratch tool method worked well.

On 48 slides it saved us alot of time.
Thanks for the brain wave.

And thanks from me, too. The scratch remover and red eye tool both worked well, and I saved the ppt presentation again and was able to see all the images on the PC.
saved my life on a manuscript submission. opened the file on mac, clicked on it with the scratch remover and then opened on pc.

thank God for people like you and Google who finds you!!
thank you!!!!! saved my butt at a spine surgery conference.
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! You saved my life too! I was writing instructions for a DVD Menu that I had made on a Mac and of course...couldn't get the printscreen image onto my PC...Once again...THANK YOU!
You saved my tail at work too. I have to put these slides into Microsoft Producer, a stupid proprietary piece for developing streaming stuff . . .
Hi and huh?? Does this mean this problem can only be fixed from the Mac side? I am a PC guy who works with mostly MAC people and always run into some incompatibilities but this one was new to me. The document is an excel file, and I can read the text but get no pics and just the tiff (LZW) message. I'm using Windows XP, Office XP, have Quicktime and the latest Adobe .pdf reader installed. Since I cannot save the excel file as a .pdf is there a solution for a non-tech guy? Thanks
I encountered this particular annoyance not in PowerPoint, but in trying to insert Mac screenshots into a Word file to be printed on a Windows machine. So, of course, I did what any geek would do and Googled for the text of the error message, which sent me here... and your tip worked. Thanks!
(And for what it's worth, I don't understand either why the Compatibility Report doesn't check for this particular annoyance...)
Note to vman:
Yeah, this has to get fixed on the mac side. I haven't been able to find a way to fix this problem on the PC side once the images are there. You could maybe do it by taking the images out of the word/ppt/excel file and saving them to a file, opening it in photoshop or some other image editing program that knows how to read the specific image format that the mac is outputting, and then re-insert them in the file. However, that seems like a lot of work. Fixing it when the file is on the mac is much simpler, and doesn't require rebuilding the document.
Here is the info from the Microsoft KB :;en-us;198204&Product=ppt

Anyway, if it's not your PPT file, it doesn't work because you haven't got the original images... Bad, too bad...
THANK YOU so much for the tip. I thought I would have to take all the pix out and reformat them to make the darned Windows machine happy with them!

You don't need to do ANY image modifications in any programs. You also can use any image FROM any program and it will work on the windows side.

The problem is in HOW the image is inserted into Powerpoint. Any image that is inserted using the menu option "Insert - Picture - From File" will work on BOTH platforms. If you copy from the Mac OS X app "Preview", for example, and then paste into Powerpoint, the image will appear in Powerpoint, but will NOT be viewable on PC's. I think the Preview application uses the TIFF LZW decompressor, and while Powerpoint on Mac must be able to display this, it cannot on PCs.

It is unfortunately a "behavioral issue" in that Mac users use the efficient cut and paste path commonly and don't like to use the 3 step menu path to insert the picture.

I have not had ANY problems with ANY image using the insert -picture-from file path. And I use a LOT of images in a cross-platform setting all of the time.
thanks for the insert file info. I have several folks on macs and this has come up a few times. That definately works - having them insert the pic from file, rather than copy paste from preview. THANKS!
Thank you for the solution. You saved my wifes Derm lecture the night before the presentation.
Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

My IT Help desk told me to Google the error message, and there you were!

Deux Ex Machina, BABY!
I understand why I am receiving this error message when trying to open a Word file. The problem is that I was emailed this report from a business contact and cannot obtain a copy with the necessary formatting changes from his MAC side of it. Is there anything I can do to open the file on a PC?
I still have this problem in Filemaker, in container fields. Any suggestions ?
I've never used filemaker, so I can't comment on how to fix this there...
To the anonymous person who wrote:

> It is unfortunately a
> "behavioral issue" in that
> Mac users use the efficient
> cut and paste path

I guess I'd have to disagree - it's not a behavioral problem that mac users (or anyone) uses an efficient method- microsoft can convert stuff coming in from the pasteboard to a PC-capable format as easily as they can with doing "insert->picture->from file".

Efficiency is the whole point of using a mac after all - the platform doesn't get in your way.
I encountered this page through a Google search as I'm trying to help a fellow Mac user send off a usable PPT file to a Windows user. Today is July 31, 2006 and it has been over a year and a half since this article was first posted. Yet, despite using the current version of Office 2004 (11.2.5), it's still a problem! Why is it that Microsoft has issued numerous updates to Office 2004 but hasn't fixed obvious bugs like this? I guess the answer is in looking at the update notices: almost completely devoted to "security" issues. They have no time to update the usability or fix bugs like this.

I'm trying to get more people to use Keynote to save everyone's sanity.
Why is it Microsoft's fault. 99% of the know universe uses WINDOWS!!!!!!
This problem for me appeared on microsoft words, and it appeared on a letter sent to me by e-mail. The picture is suppose to be the letterhead, but it just won't work, help!!
A Solution on the Windows-Side without need of a Mac:
1) Save PPT as Webpage
2) Search for pcz-Files
3) unpack pcz-Files (for instance with Total Commander)
4) extract PICT-Files from pcz
5) convert PICT-Files into JPG or something else (For instance with IrfanView)
6) reinsert into PPT

Not very convenient, but it works!
Actually, I get this problem on a Mac when trying to grag and drop a good shot from the internet into Illustrator. The solution, if that is your problem, is to open the shot in safari, save as to your desktop and then open the image through photoshop.
I don't know how to change the file extension using redeye or scratch in PowerPoint (MAC). Hope someone explain how to do that. Thanks.
Here's the simple solution if you are on a PC and have no access to a macintosh. The solutions mentioned above aren't really complete and therefore don't work.

download GZIP from

save the document (word, powerpoint etc - whatever it is) as a webpage (htm/html). Go to the subdirectory created along with that web file and find the .pcz file - this contains the picture. Rename it as .gz (eg. REN *.PCZ *.GZ). Next if you don't actually want to install GZIP then just copy GZIP.EXE into the same directory as the picture file. Then use the command GZIP -d *.gz
Then look in the directory and you'll find a file without a file extension. Rename the file and give it the extension .PICT
Now you'll be able to open the picture, assuming you have quicktime installed, by simply double clicking on it.
It appears that this is not a Microsoft problem but an Apple problem.

If I create the PPT on a PC it will work fine on both a PC and a MAC. If I create the PPT on a MAC it will work fine on MAC's but not on PC's.

This tells me that the MAC is doing something to the pictures that the PC is not.

After some investigation into this I found out that the problem is when you copy the picture into the clipboard on a MAC the MAC converts the image from whatever file format it was into a Quicktime TIFF.

This would be fine if Quicktime for the PC included the ability to decompress a Quicktime TIFF but it doesn't.

So, on a MAC, this is why saving the picture to the hard drive then inserting them into the PPT works. Since the pictures are not going into the clipboard they are not changing file format.

When I copy an image into the clipboard on a PC the PC doesn't change the file format. Therefore, everything still works.

The solution would be for Apple to either include the Quicktime TIFF decompressor in the PC version of Quicktime or, even better, not change the file format when copied into the clipboard in the first place.
Another thank you. Sent the ppt to a Mac user, she saved the picture as a .jpg and sent it to me. I opened it in Photoshop and cropped it and saved it. Went back to ppt and inserted the .jpg file into the slide and now it shows on the PC. Many thanks!
"The solution would be for Apple to either include the Quicktime TIFF decompressor in the PC version of Quicktime"

EXACTLY. When do u all think they'll come out with that?
Wow - you just saved my life. The scratch removal tip worked great! Thanks so much.
thanx! that was a lifesaver

RE:download GZIP from

save the document (word, powerpoint etc - whatever it is) as a webpage (htm/html).......
same problem from Mac Word 2004 to Office XP word on XP. Scratch and redeye removal does not fix the problem on graphics showing up. Graphics were pasted into Mac Word document from jpg screen one would think they would remain .jpg. But no.

Solution: Highlight graphic, save as picture in jpg format. Reinsert pix using insert picture command.
Some guys did an analysis on this back in 2004; conclusion seems to be that both Apple and MS are responsible.

Basically, Mac OS X programs are built using one of two frameworks, Cocoa and Carbon. Carbon allowed for easy porting of older "Mac Classic" apps, while Cocoa was (theoretically) if you wanted to design a new one from scratch. Office is done in Carbon. Safari and Preview are Cocoa.

Unfortunately, Carbon and Cocoa copy graphics to the clipboard differently. Tests done by "Tarken" in the thread showed that copying *from* a Carbon program to an Office app allowed it to open in Windows fine, but copying from, say Preview or Safari, did not.

The tests are in this post here: (links to Google Groups)

However, this does not excuse Microsoft for not doing an automatic conversion when pasting graphics from Cocoa apps into Office applications, and definitely doesn't excuse them for not showing some warning in the "compatibility checker."

Consider NeoOffice, a free "Mac-ified" implementation of the open-source Open Office: it has no problems saving Office files with pasted graphics. A *FREE* replacement to MS Office, which relies significantly on volunteer developers, can save MS Office documents with pasted graphics from a Mac just fine. Microsoft, with its billions of dollars, and supposedly the largest Mac development team in the world outside of Apple, can't figure out how!?

I await the release of Office Mac 2008 to see if MS has done anything to resolve this serious issue.
Thank you so much to the anonymous user who submitted that gzip information - it was so helpful! I think I'll join all you neckbeards in shaking my fist and extolling hatred of apple and microsoft for not getting along quite so well.
Also you can just make to whole process easier and just save it as a Power Point Package. (Media Studies Major)
Here it is summer 07 and still this problem exists. I googled it to solve a problem a professor had, and my boss fell over himself thanking me!

BTW, winrar should be able to extract the pcz files and I used ACDSEE's batch rename to add .pict to all of the ones that were bad. But I only did this as a test AFTER I had fixed the problem using the remove scratches method. Thanks.
The gzip program saved the day. I recommend this solution!
A simple quickfix i found was to export the Powerpoint document as a webpage. The images are then converted into a useable format and stored in a folder. They can then be used without displaying the 'decompressor needed' message.
gzip plan was genius, many thanks!!
I have had trouble inserting from any method a simple .jpg picture into Word on a Mac and come up with the same message of "Quicktime and a TIFF uncompressor..." It doesn't do it with all my photos from iPhoto but many of them! Argggh! My only work around is to convert them using Graphic Converter. It WORKED! But what a pain. I guess I'll have to do a batch conversion to save time.
Wow - it's October 23, 2007 and your original tip is still saving lives. I just avoided re-doing ALL the images in a 120 slide presentation by using your redeye remover tip. It still took a little time, but not nearly what it would have taken to re-insert everything using the proper method. Esp. since I originally used Photoshop on the fly to size, re-touch and then just copied to the clipboard and pasted into PowerPoint (wrong!). I couldn't have even remembered all the steps. Your original tip is the ONLY one that truly saves time once you're stuck with such a high volume of images already in place. Thanks!!!!!
AMAZING...ridiculously innovative tip, i desparately tried to google for an answer and this is what i found!!! thanks for saving me 20 hours or so of my life with this quick and simple solution...
Very helpfull!!! Thanks
As soon as someone gets to try this on Office 2008, let us all know! Is this problem solved?
Thank You... This has been driving me crazy!!!! You have save me so much re-work...
here is a list of steps to un-compress and then open the embedded Macintosh PICT images:

1 open the word or powerpoint file on your pc
2 "save as HTML" or web page, image files will be saved to a separate folder
3 find one of the *.pcz files
4 change the *.pcz extension to *.gz
5 open the file with a zip program like 7-zip
6 save the uncompressed file to your hard drive (there will be no extension)
7 add the *.pic extension to the file
8 open the file with quicktime

If you have MAC then the best solution is to "save as" whole presentation in PNG format with huge resolution (like 300 or 600 DPI). That will preserve layout as well.

For windows users: InfranView is perfect for batch conversion of PIC pictures. You need quicktime plug in from InfranView webpage.
ouch, office 2008 still has this problem :-(
If you're encountering this problem on Windows with a PowerPoint presentation giving you the error about needing a TIFF (LZW) decompressor, you can follow the Total Commander process described above, locate the graphics files, and rename them with a .tiff extension. As long as you have Quicktime installed, you can then double-click the files to open them. Even if you don't have QT Pro, you can screengrab from the image sitting in the QT window and then crop the grab down to the image. Not an elegant or quick process but the graphics are fine and it is not intolerable for a slide or two.
Dan's solution (4 posts above this one) works perfectly if you are trying to "fix" the files on a PC (WinXP). I used WinZip to open the zipped ".gz" file, but otherwise it's pure magic!
Thanks so much!!! Saved me a lot of time on my graduation project.
Three years later and the fix works like a charm. It did for me, and this is not an April Fool's trick at all!
All glory to Geek Boy, for the "red eye solution" worked again on 04/07/08. All glory to the web for being a 24-hr cesspool of pointless bloggage.
If you have a bunch of images already in powerpoint or word and need to swap them out quickly so that Windows users can see, try the following:

1) In Mac Word or Powerpoint, select the image that isn't showing up in Windows.
2) Cut the image
3) Paste Special - select the PDF option.

The exact same image you just cut will be pasted into the same spot, but as a different format (pdf) that should show up on windows versions of Office.

Repeat for each image in the doc and resave the doc. This is the fastest way to convert the images to something that can be read in Windows and does not require reimporting images or any file operations.

The resulting image will be viewable in Windows.

Hope this helps someone.
I followed the steps outlined above (a few posts up) to decompress the graphics (saved document as HTML, found .PCZ files and converted them to .GZ, opened file with 7-zip, saved uncompressed file, added .PIC extension, and then tried to open graphic with QuickTime. QuickTime had to shut down. Tried same steps a couple times with same result. Any ideas why QuickTime won't open the graphic? It seems like the steps all work the way they are supposed to. (I don't have access to the original file on the Mac. In fact, that file has since been deleted, having been conferred to me and my PC.)
Many thanks for the workaround. I am so disgusted that Microsoft have not fixed this in three and a half years and one major software release that I am this very moment downloading iWork 08.

Lets see if Apple does a better job of producing Office compatible documents than Office does... if I had any Microsoft stock, this would be the last straw: it'd be gone.
I have followed the steps to fix the issues on a PC (no access to Mac), but there are no pcz files in the folder that results from saving as HTML. Does this mean that the pictures got lost in translating somewhere, and the data doesn't actually exist in the file? Or is there something else I should look at?
Countless thanks, the zip extraction/gz advice worked perfectly. Very pleased to have gotten that advice.
You totally rule. How random is this fix? I emailed to my wife on the mac at home, she clicks on the images using the scratch tool, saves as ppt presentation and emails it back. Bingo! Worked like a charm! Thank you very much!
Just wanted to say thanks! Works like a charm!
Thanks a million. I used the scratch remover, made just a tiny little line, just enough to make it "work" and the problem was solved.

You saved me a lot of time and effort.

There are other solutions out there, but this is the easiest and fastest!

Thanks again for your help!
I have run into this a lot. I just find the images I want to use for the ppt then open and save them in photoshop, then insert them into the ppt. Worked for me.
Looks like the .docx default format for Office 2008 is being nicely "converted" even by Office 2003 (provided that you have installed the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats - FileFormatConverters.exe) without editing any picture in the Mac original.
Thanks so much for your scratch hint when doing powerpoint presentations on macs for use on pcs.

My dad and I had heaps of photos in ours (all pasted in of course) and we'd animated them all too! So re-inserting them all would have been an absolute nightmare. Yours was the only other alternative google gave me and we were both REALLY appreciative!!!

Thanks so much!

Fran and Bill
Thanks soooooooooo much, for whoever showed how to fix the problem on a pc, because i don't have a mac at home, and i needed to print some pictures for school the next day. Althought I didn't use gzip, I already had winrar, its free too. You are a life saver!!!! =)
Like others have already said, this tip was so so so helpful.

But is there any certain trick for fonts too?
I have racked my brains about this for ages and while I am a Mac user and produce things like Organisational Policy type Manuals which are heavily formatted and cross-referenced on the Mac, some of my Windows using Clients complained about this.
I also run XP on my Mac and have an old copy of Word 97 for Windows.
How I got around it was two-fold. Either save the image, drag it to Parallels and open it in Paint - use the brush tool to ad a white dot somewhere (on the white area where it can't be seen). Save the file. Import it into Word via the menu method.
In fact, I just started saving all my files to disc first, whereas previously I had dragged them from other documents or files across straight into Word 2004 Mac. Before I send something off, I just open the Word document in Word 97, clean up any cross-referencing and re-import any visuals that have the problem. The file after that opens fine in Word Mac and Word Windows.
I have noticed however that the problem doesn't seem to exist at all in Word 2007 for Windows for files created in Word 2004 for Mac.
I have posted the URL of this blog to my local Mac Discussion List so it can help others also.
@Dan: You are a lifesaver. Thanks for the clear steps.
Hi everyone,

Please help me. I am trying to view a picture that I have inserted into a word document (Windows for Mac08). When I print the document the image prints, but I cannot see it in the document on my screen??? I have used File, Insert, Picture, from file; I have used the Formatting palette - object - camera - and I have saved the image into 'my pictures' in a directory and used the 'drag and drop' option. No matter what I try, I cannot see the image in my document> Can anyone please help me.
Thank you! I'm using Mac Snow Leopard and Windows MS Office 2007. The red-eye tool made the image a little fuzzy, so I chose the scratch tool ... just add a small scratch to a white area on your image. Works like a charm!!
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