December 21, 2004

Quick and easy slide shows for the Web

Author: Rob Reilly

Putting your PowerPoint or OpenOffice.org Impress

slide show on the Web provides

many benefits for your audience and your company. Here are some of them:

  • You can invite your audience to review your site as they review your slides
  • You can conveniently provide the slides for download or collaboration
  • During conference calls, associates can use their browsers to follow your presentation
  • In large venues, sight impaired audience members can follow your talk on

    their wireless Web-connected laptops

Putting your PowerPoint or OpenOffice.org Impress

slide show on the Web provides

many benefits for your audience and your company. Here are some of them:

  • You can invite your audience to review your site as they review your slides
  • You can conveniently provide the slides for download or collaboration
  • During conference calls, associates can use their browsers to follow your presentation
  • In large venues, sight impaired audience members can follow your talk on

    their wireless Web-connected laptops

It's easy to crank out a slide show, using OpenOffice.org Impress, that can be

uploaded to your Web site. Impress also builds a basic start page, with a slide

index, summary, and navigation buttons. Best of all, it's quick and there's no

HTML programming needed.

So let's put your slide show on your Web site.

PowerPoint, Impress, and importing

Start out by either importing a Powerpoint presentation or creating your own

slide show with Impress.

Importing a Powerpoint presentation is easy. Start OpenOffice.org, go to File ->

Open, choose the file type "presentation," and select the .ppt file. Impress

will open the file directly in the display window. Figure 1 shows the first page of

a Powerpoint formatted file that I'll use as an example.

Fig. 1 Presentation in OOo Impress

Creating a new presentation is easy, too. Start OpenOffice.org, go to Use File

-> New, choose the file type "presentation," and go through the various menus to

get to the first slide. Add your own content and graphics to create your slide

show.

Note that unless you have the TrueType fonts set up correctly on your machine

(Windows or Linux), some of the fonts on the imported Powerpoint file may not

appear correctly. Usually this shows up when you've used non-standard fonts in

your Windows .ppt file and have then moved the file to your Linux machine. It's

a good idea to change the fonts to common ones anyway (such as Times New

Roman or Helvetica), so your text will display correctly when exported for Web use.

Also, when viewed in a browser, links that are referenced on your slides won't

work because the slide has been converted to a .jpg graphic. The problem is easy

to fix by inserting links on the "notes view" tab in Impress. When the slide is

exported, the link will show up in the Notes: section at the bottom of the slide

page. Users can then click on that link to go to those pages.

Send your slide show to the Web

After you have your slide show in Impress, you can then export it for use on

your Web site. Follow these steps:

  • File -> Export, then select file type "HTML" and enter the name of

    the file. Click the "Export" button to go to the HTML export screens.

  • On the "Assign Design" screen select "New Design" and click |Next| to go to

    the next screen or |Create| to just finish the process and export.

  • On the "Publication type" screen, select the standard HTML format. You'll

    want to check the create title page and show notes boxes. Click |Next| or

    |Create|.

  • The "Save graphics as" screen will let you select the graphics format (jpg

    or gif) and set the graphics quality. You can also choose the finished

    resolution. Use Low for a compact slide show suitable for all browsers or

    High for 1024x768, full screen resolution.

  • Fill in the "Info for title page" form with the slide show author's name, email

    address, home page, and any additional information. You'll probably want

    to check the "link to original" box, so readers can download your slide show.

  • Pick out an appropriate button style on the "Select the button style" screen.

  • On the "Select color scheme" screen you can simply apply the colors from

    the document. Options will let you customize colors for the text,

    hyperlinks, background, and etc.

  • When you are all done, click the |Create| button to do the export to HTML.

    You see an HTML name select box, but can just click the |Do Not Save| button.

Fig. 2 Starting a slide show in a browser

Your Web slide show masterpiece will be located in the same directory as the

original .ppt or .sxi file. The package will consist of the start HTML

page (named after the original slide show file), the button .gif files, slide

show .jpg files, and the individual slide HTML files.

Point your browser at the start page file and you can click through your slides

using the navigation buttons at the top of each slide. Figure 2 and 3 show the resultant

start and first slide, respectively.

When you move the slide show to your Web server, you can simply upload the whole

directory, including the original Powerpoint or Impress file. It might be a good

idea to rename the starting page file to something that would be meaningful to

the reader.

Tweaking your Web slide show

Unlike other HTML documents produced by OpenOffice.org, the code created

by the Impress export function is amazingly clean. The start page consists of

the HTML and head tags, some meta tags, a title, and a one column table listing

of the slides. That's it, no extra unnecessary fluff.

Having clean code makes for easy modification.

For example, if you want to add a little more flair to your title page, start

your favorite HTML editor and add your company logo at the top or some links to

your product page on the side. And don't forget to add your contact information at

the bottom.

You can easily add subtitles or extra commentary to each of the individual

slide files, because they also use very basic HTML, as well.

Use your imagination. The slide show files are just begging to be tweaked and

customized.

If you are going to regularly come up with new slide shows, it might be a good

idea to put a process in place and some standard company HTML code that can be

inserted into all of your presentations. No sense in re-creating everything each

time from scratch.

Fig. 3 Your slide show in Mozilla

Put on your show

Putting your Powerpoint or Impress slide shows on a Web site doesn't have to be

a major ordeal, as we've seen.

With a tiny bit of work you can offer your audience that extra attention to

detail and set your presentation apart from all the rest. As they review your

slides, on your site, you can also make it easy for them to get familiar with

your company and its products.

Now, seize the opportunity and go make a Web based slide show using

OpenOffice.org Impress.

Rob Reilly is a consultant who

specializes in helping clients communicate effectively. Many of his published

articles explain the use of Linux, portable computing, and presentation

technology, especially as how it relates to communication in business. His

stories appear in various high-end Linux and business media outlets.

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