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Posted - 05/14/2006 :  18:59:43  Show Profile
At Saturday's Backups and Beyond Mini-Seminar, I made a promise to put a copy of the PowerPoint I used to accompany my presentation available online. My plan at that point was to just stick a link to the PowerPoint presentation online, along with a link to the free PowerPoint viewer. Upon reviewing the file, I realized that my basic outline was not going to be very helpful, especially if you missed the mini-seminar. So, I took some time to beef it up with notes (including a couple of points that others raised during the seminar) and links. Then, the fun began.

My plan to make it available to you via the free viewer was a dud, because with the viewer you can see the slides but not the notes. Plan B was to convert the PowerPoint file to html and post THAT on the web. After trying several permutations of that plan, I determined that it, too, was a dud, because the resulting pages were barely functional and not aesthetically pleasing at all.

Plan C was to convert the ppt file to Flash or FlashPaper. (Supposedly 98% of you have that plugin already installed.) But, there was no quick and easy way to do that either, and frankly, if you've looked at any of the office/electronic store ads in FlashPaper, I'm not that impressed with it.

Great. Off to try Plan D: convert the ppt file to a pdf file. Almost everyone has Adobe Reader, right? There's no way to do that easily from Microsoft's PowerPoint either, and I actually have a copy of Acrobat! Fine.

Time to Google for a solution. Guess what? OpenOffice's presentation program, which is called "Impress" will open a PowerPoint file AND then allow you to export it to pdf. How cool! However, when I used OO's "export to pdf" command, the pdf contained 52 pages, instead of 26, as I was expecting. The first 26 pages were just the slides, the second 26 were the slides with the notes. I couldn't find a way to change this, even after searching the OO forum.

Finally: Plan E (and this worked!) With the presentation open in Impress, I printed it to pdf (using the freeware pdf995). Result: 26 pages, just as I wanted, complete with the slide AND the notes. Then I saved the OO file as a ppt file (unlike Microsoft, OpenOffice is happy to provide you with ways to use their files in other applications), and just to check it, I opened this file in MS PowerPoint. PERFECT.

If viewing the resulting file in either Impress or Powerpoint, the links on the slides are perfectly clickable. The links in the notes are not, a disappointment, but consistent in both programs.

If viewing the resulting pdf file, the links on the slides are NOT clickable, nor are they clickable in the notes. According to the OpenOffice forum and other documentation, the links are supposed to come across and be clickable in the pdf, but they did NOT for me using either Plans D OR E. (If someone figures this out, let me know the answer). So, in the notes, I provided the long, unclickable versions of the urls.

Conclusion: I am REALLY impressed with Impress. The printing is not quite so intuitive as PowerPoint, but that is offset many times over by its ability to save and export in other popular, usable formats. If you don't already own PowerPoint, visit http://www.openoffice.org and download the latest version of OpenOffice. (If you are on dial-up, pick up an ICON Useful Utilities and Applications cd at the next ICON meeting--it has OpenOffice on it!)

By the way, if you still want the free PowerPoint viewer, here is the link to Microsoft's site where you can download it. Just be aware that you will NOT be able to read notes; you'll only be able to see the presentation slides.

If you want to view the results of my efforts, visit this thread.

Edited by - Sarah on 05/14/2006 19:06:05
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