SideShare is in Danger! You Can Help Save It!

Like thousands of others around the world, I am a big fan of SlideShare. Like many educators, trainers, and presenters, I have made it a key part of my communication strategy. Unfortunately, some recent changes have put SlideShare in danger. If these changes are not reversed, SlideShare may die as a tool for serious professionals and ordinary users alike.

The two changes that are the biggest concern are loss of the reupload feature, and loss of the ability to download slideshows in their original ppt format. Here is why those features are important.


Until recently, the “reupload” feature let users upload a new version of their slideshows without changing the url. Now, the only option is to delete the slideshow and upload a new version with a new url. This causes two problems.

First, you can’t correct mistakes. We are all human. Suppose you upload a long, complex slideshow with lots of numbers and charts. You publicize it — big success. Hundreds of people read it, bookmark it, and share the link. But, Oops! The next day you discover a mistake. Used to be, you just reuploaded a fixed version and life went on. Now you face a hard choice. Leave the mistake uncorrected? Your users will think you are unprofessional. Delete and upload a fixed version? All the people who bookmarked it or are following a shared link will not find your new version. If you leave up both the old and new version, the people who stumble on the old one will never know the corrected version exists.

Second, if your show is still being used after some time has passed, you can’t update. I’ve often done this with some of my most popular slideshows. For example, suppose the show is about how climate change is affecting price of chocolate. A year later, people are still reading it, so I upload new charts to update the price information. Again, without reupload, I will lose all the readers who are following the old link, perhaps a link that their econ prof posted in a reading list at the beginning of the semester.

Download ppt

They call it “SlideShare,” which sort of implies that it is a place where you can “share” “slides”. Yep. It used to be that way. You could post your slides and people could download them and use as they wanted.

For example, teachers could download slideshows for classroom use, and could customize them to fit their curriculum, or they could add materials that applied the general approach of the slideshow to their particular company or country. They could also update slideshows on their own, in case the author had not got around to doing that yet. Great!

No more. Now you can only download pdf images of the slides, which cannot easily be customized.

I can understand, I guess, that some people might not want people messing with their slideshows. Maybe they are worried about theft of intellectual property, or they just think their shows are perfect as is, without customization. Fine. But if that is the problem, there would be an easy fix.

When you post a slideshow, SlideShare already gives you an option of either making the slideshow “private,” in which case no one can find it unless you give them the exact link, or “public,” in which case anyone can find it by searching or browsing. It ought to be easy to add another pair of options, “download pdf only” or “allow download of original ppt.” I’m sure SlideShare’s coders could do that. It would make everyone happy.

You can help

If you are a SlideShare user and miss these features, you can help. In the course of my own correspondence about this problem with SlideShare’s support staff, I received this hopeful communication:

When many of our members ask for the same improvement, we try our best to get it done.

Let’s hold them to that. Please, if you care about SlideShare, contact them and ask to bring back “reupload” and “download as ppt.” Here is how you can contact their support team:

  • Go to the SlideShare home page:
  • Scroll down to the very bottom and click on “Support”
  • Type “Reupload” in the search box at the top of the main support page
  • Next, you will get a page that says, “Sorry, we couldn’t find any information about ‘Reupload’ (unless, by the time you do this, they have added some information).
  • Go to the bottom of that page and click on the “Contact us” link
  • That will take you to a page where you can send a message to SlideShare help. Ask them to bring back “reupload” and “download as ppt,” and tell them why you care.

On behalf of all SlideShare users, thank you for your help!

Written by

Economist, Senior Fellow at Niskanen Center, Yale Ph.D. Interests include environment, health care policy, social safety net, economic freedom.

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