More Powerpoint Portability

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More tips and suggestions for taking your Powerpoint presentation on the road.

In a previous Office for Mere Mortals we talked about Powerpoint presentations and how to copy the entire presentation so you can show it elsewhere, even when Powerpoint isn’t installed check out

Now we’ll look at some of the other options for taking your presentation on the road.

Location, Location, Location

We’re obliged to Dave Paradi for some additions and amendments to the first part of this article.

“Most audio clips and all video clips are not embedded by default. In fact, video clips can never by embedded in a PowerPoint presentation (even the 2007 version) and the default audio file size for embedding is so small virtually no audio files ever get embedded. Not properly copying media files is probably the single biggest issue when people try to run a presentation on another computer. A surefire method is to first always have the content in the same directory as the PowerPoint file when you insert it in the presentation.”

Dave’s book ‘Guide to PowerPoint’ is available at the usual suspect online bookstores.

The important thing here is location – it’s best to keep all the presentation files in a single folder. The PPT / PPTX plus any linked files all in the one place.

You can have the linked files anywhere on your hard drive or network, but when you move the presentation to another computer those links will probably be lost. Even simple relative paths to a sub-folder can cause trouble. Aside from path problems, there can also be trouble if the linked file is deleted or moved. It’s far better for your blood pressure to put everything in the one folder.

Dave Paradi added the common tactic of bundling all the presentation files into a single ZIP file for transport. Even if there’s little size benefit (many media files are already compressed, as are the new Powerpoint 2007 file formats) the single file keeps everything together.

Powerpoint online

In Powerpoint 2003 and 2007 you can save your presentation to a series of web pages that can be opened in a web browser.

In Powerpoint 2007 this option isn’t in an obvious place, looking under the Publish menu is no good. Instead go to Save As and change the file type to ‘Web Page’ then the dialog will change to show other options. ( At this stage Microsoft’s dialogs start talking about ‘Publishing’ the presentation which is why people keep looking under the menu of that name.)

The Publish options let you choose the entire presentation or only some slides.

Click on ‘Web Options’ to change the browser compatibility, color scheme and slide navigation.

Viewing the presentation in a browser will probably generate a security warning because of the scripts used to make the web version work. Just allow scripts to run when prompted.

Publish to web page can be used to workaround the ‘Windows’ only nature of the ‘Package to CD’ option. Predicably, the web code created by Powerpoint is created with Microsoft’s own Internet Explorer browser in mind. However if you set the browser compatibility for IE 5 and above, the web site should display reasonably well on Macintosh or Linux browsers.

A web version of a presentation might work fine for in-house purposes but browser compatibility and security limitations make it messy for publicly available web sites. However you can save a presentation to a series of web pages then copy the HTML into your own web pages.

Package to CD as a backup or ‘fixed’ copy

As we noted in part 1 of this article, the ‘Package to CD’ option isn’t limited to CD disks. You can save to DVD disks, USB memory sticks or any location on your local or network drives.

Normally you’d use this option to bundle everything needed for a presentation, including the viewer so you can display on another computer.

In our Office Backup Handbook ebook we mention that you can use the Package to CD option as a type of backup – either deliberate or accidental. If you lose the original presentation, a version can be recovered from the saved package. In addition the package serves as archive storage – a copy of the presentation as it was shown at a certain date or time.

Google’s Powerpoint viewers

Powerpoint presentations (.ppt files) on public web sites are indexed by Google’s web search. If your search matches the words in a presentation a link to the ppt will be provided in the search results. You can click on the link to open or download the ppt file or click the ‘View as HTML’ to see a web browser rendering of the text.

Tip: if you only want to find Powerpoint files on web sites, add the search term ‘filetype:ppt’ (without quotes) to your keywords.

Now, Google has added a separate ppt file viewer to Gmail. A ppt file attachment has three action options:

  • View as HTML

  • View as slideshow

  • Download

‘View as HTML’ is much the same as the Google search feature.

‘View as slideshow’ launches a Flash viewer which lets you play the presentation in a browser window.

‘Download’ lets you save the email attachment to a local folder as usual.

You could use ‘View as slideshow’ as a emergency way to display a presentation to an audience – if you can’t get the Powerpoint viewer to work. Email the presentation to a Gmail account, open it up in the viewer then maximise the browser window. It’s not optimal but it’ll work in a pinch.

More details on this new feature here

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