Solving the Sorry PowerPoint can’t read ^0 error

So there I was opening a PowerPoint file from my OneDrive folder when I got this error message: Sorry, PowerPoint can’t read ^0.

What was happening? Well first some background.

My iMac’s fusion drive had failed, I had it replaced and then reinstalled OS X before using the migration assistant to restore my iMac files, applications and preferences.

Well there I was thinking everything had gone so well. I had virtually no data loss, so was pleased I had managed to get things sorted. However I was annoyed when opening a PowerPoint file from my OneDrive folder I got an error message.

I got this error message: PowerPoint found a problem with content in <file name>. PowerPoint can attempt to repair the presentation. If you trust the source of this presentation, click Repair.

The word trust made me think that this was a permissions issue rather than corruption.

I clicked Repair and then this message appeared: Sorry, PowerPoint can’t read ^0.

I wasn’t sure what was going on.

As part of my back up back in April I had backed up the files from the OneDrive folder onto my external hard drive. I hadn’t updated it since, as far as I was concerned I didn’t need to back up the OneDrive folder as it was already backed up in the cloud.

Going through the OneDrive files I realised that virtually all the files I had created or edited since the back up weren’t working and “needed repair”. I was as you might imagine rather annoyed. What was worse was the files had also synced across the cloud and my laptop.

I did some Google searching for a solution, and to be honest it wasn’t too much help. I did try and reset OneDrive but this didn’t work.

I was convinced that this was a permissions issue rather than file corruption or data loss. The file sizes looked fine for example.

In the end though I did come up with a solution.

In Finder right click the file and select Version History.

Note that this option is only available for files on OneDrive.

As you can see I had two versions of the file with the same date and timestamp.

This reinforced my opinion that this was a permissions issue.

Right click the three dots.

Then select Restore (or Download).

This then creates a new version, which will open.

The file can now be opened normally.

I’ve not worked out how to do this for multiple files, so am having to do it for each file that doesn’t open.

This process also works on Windows computers as well.

This has demonstrated that despite having an online cloud and a physical backup there was still the potential for data loss after a hard drive failure.


20 Replies to “Solving the Sorry PowerPoint can’t read ^0 error”

  1. I had a Onedrive folder shortcut in my dock. I removed it and put a fresh one in, and then I was able to open all files without this error. Very odd.

  2. I had a large number of files accidentally deleted off my hard drive last year, I had to use a data recovery tool (EaseUS) to get them back. Hooray, they all reappeared, however, virtually none of them will open because of this error. Have you found any solutions if you are not using OneDrive?

  3. I had the same error with all my PowerPoint files. Tried each of the suggestions above with no positive result.
    Closed PowerPoint on iMac and opened it again. Everything was fine once again. Might be a problem with the application.

  4. You can open the “broken” powerpoint files with Keynote, then export them to pptx files. Usually these exported files can again be opened with powerpoint.

  5. The opening in ‘Key Note’ solution worked out well for me. Thanks a zilliion for posting this. Was disheartened to see that i lost so much of work, but you this page came as a saviour.

  6. I’ve been having the same issue but I realised I was trying to open the file/s before logging back onto OneDrive. When I log onto OneDrive, I was able to open the file/s.
    Ideally, I’m logged in automatically but when the password expires and/or changes to a new one and I hadn’t entered the new password for OneDrive, this issue will occur.

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