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Monday, August 20, 2007

Converting Beamer/PDF Presentations to Powerpoint

Beamer is a wonderful set of macros for preparing presentations using Latex. (Check out one of my presentations here if you don't believe me) Beamer's advantages over Powerpoint include the beautiful rendering of mathematical formulae, the separation of content from layout (using \section, \subsection, etc), the ability to use a Bibtex database for references, and the ability to use text-based version control systems (such as CVS) to manage edits.

However, it is sometime necessary to provide a Powerpoint presentation, and Beamer will only produce .ps or .pdf files. To convert a PDF presentation to Powerpoint you need Ghostscript, a recent version of Powerpoint, and perhaps the Powerpoint Photo Album Ad-in Program (for Powerpoint version 2000). Once these programs are installed, follow these simple instructions: (supposing your presentation is called 'my_presentation.pdf', and Ghostscript is installed in 'c:\Program Files\gs\gs8.53\bin\gswin32c.exe')

At the command line, execute:

"c:\Program Files\gs\gs8.53\bin\gswin32c.exe" -dNOPAUSE -g1024x768 -r205 -sDEVICE=pngalpha -sOutputFile=slide_%d.png -dBATCH my_presentation.pdf

This will produce one high-resolution image per slide.

Next, simply open Powerpoint and (for Powerpoint 2000 users) select File->New->General->PhotoAlbum. For users of other versions of Powerpoint, the menus may appear in different places, but I am told the PhotoAlbum options are available by default.

Import all images that were generated at the command line.

Configure the various options as necessary, sort the images, and then click "done". You will probably want to delete the first slide, which is the title page generated by Poweroint.

You're done! Of course, the presentation will be huge, and may take a little longer loading slides, but at least you don't have to use Powerpoint for more than a few seconds to produce your presentation!

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