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First of all, visit the PowerPoint FAQ's page at http://www.rdpslides.com/pptfaq/. Save it to your "Favorites" or "Bookmarks", because you'll want to revisit it repeatedly. On that first visit, though, do read the "Important Stuff". It got it's name because it's vitally important and will save you lots of heartaches!
There are usually about 10,000 messages and replies posted and viewable on this newsgroup. If you are not directly accessing the msnews.microsoft.com news server, we encourage you to do so. Or you can click on the following address and your news reader should set up the account for you: news://msnews.microsoft.com/microsoft.public.powerpoint .
Once you have done that, you will need to read in the headers for the existing posts. It's hard to tell you how to do that in your particular news reader, but if you are using Outlook Express you can go to Tools > Options > Read and set News > Get Next headers to the number of headers to be read (your choice). Set the number from 300 to 1,000 (or uncheck the box and all headers will be downloaded to you.)
Then go to Tools > Get Next XXX headers and click it. (XXX= the number you set above.) Keep doing this until you have as many headers as you want on your system. Or, if you unclick the box, the total number of available messages (10,000) will be downloaded. If you are on dial-up or an expensive connection, this might not be a suitable option for you.
In Outlook Express, you can use the "Edit > Find" facility to search for a keyword, a poster's name, etc. This is very helpful if you have a specific question and you want to see if someone else has asked a similar question and received some assistance that you too can benefit from.
In Netscape, the following will work. Settings: Edit > Preferences > Newsgroup Servers & Edit > Preferences Disk Space to set download and storage options. Right click on a newsgroup, Select NewsGroup Properties and set some more.
Search: Edit > Search Messages, use drop down lists to set parameters and type in the search string.
The key here is that tons of information exchange is stored on the msnews.microsoft.com news server, and this will help you take full advantage of that fact.
If you have a question, please post it. Include the version of PowerPoint that you are using and the version of Windows that you are running. Also include any additional details related to the problem and the processes that you used to get there. This stuff will help us respond with the most useful suggestions.
We hope that this will help you gain the maximum benefit from our little newsgroup. We warmly welcome you and hope that you will take full advantage of the information posted here, and also contribute your knowledge to other posters who are struggling with something you have already figured out and resolved. The water is warm and friendly, so just dive right in and have fun with us.
By the way, if anyone has a news reader not mentioned, please jump in and describe the set-up and "find/search" process for that news reader. I'll add the information to this message for the future.