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Optimizing Powerpoint Presentations

As much as we (Atrixware) would like you to only use our e-learning software exclusively, there is no denying that PowerPoint is extremely popular (hey – even we use it).

I come across a lot of projects that require integration of PowerPoint shows into either e-learning packages created with Test Pro Developer, or integration into Online e-learning courses.

It is especially important for online delivery to keep the size of the PowerPoint shows small (in filesize, not length). However, I notice some common things people put into their shows that add to the file size significantly.

If you are looking to trim off filesize from your PowerPoint shows, here are some tips to help you:

1. design for a smaller window size/delivery. For example, sometimes, a 600 x 400 delivery is adequate and will save quite a bit of file size from an 800 x 600 delivery.

2. Do you have lots of movement? Things sliding in and out? Fades? Mouse movements. Try to remove them unless they are absolutely essential to the subject (especially if you are converting your show into another format like Flash or AVI).

3. Do you have PowerPoint 2003? If so, Apply Service Pack 1 Immediately

4. Get rid of the Fast Saves option (Tools > Options > Save Tab)

5. After Step #2, perform a SAVE AS action and give your show a new name

6. Once you know you don’t need to edit the presentation any further, ungroup then immediately regroup any embedded graphics, spreadsheets, charts, etc, which converts them to PowerPoint objects & discards all data behind the object — it’s best to do this on a COPY of your original in case you have to edit it again later.

7. HOT TIP: If you’re creating a presentation that’ll be viewed as a screen show, your images should be sized to match the resolution of the computer where you’ll play the show. In other words, if you’ll play the show on a laptop running at 800×600, your full-screen images should be 800×600 pixels. Anything bigger than that will make your files needlessly large, will slow down the screenshow, and won’t add a thing to image quality.

8. If you Save As to any format that includes PowerPoint 95 or 4 in the name, your file sizes will get very large if they include images (so, DON’T do it).

9. When you embed a font in your presentation, the presentation may grow by as much as the size of the font file. Before you decide to embed, check the size of the font file. Double-byte and Unicode fonts can be enormous, 10 megabytes or more!

Resources:

1. Free PowerPoint Viewers (where to download them)

2. Cool Tool: I found this -> Bill Dilworth’s Size Me add-in. At the time of this writing, it’s in Beta, but apparently, it will give you a report on what’s making your shows so large (so you can perhaps fix them) on a slide-by-slide basis.

3. We use Camtasia to convert our PowerPoint shows into flash videos. There are others like it, but Camtasia is reasonably priced, and easy to use for the non-techies. Highly recommended -

4. Did you know? You can wrap PowerPoint shows and Flash Videos into e-Learning modules that can be wrapped into e-Learning packages with Test Pro Developer? It’s actually really easy. From the New Test wizard, choose the Presentations tab for the options.

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