Automatic PowerPoint Formatting Approaches?
December 31, 2011 10:32 AM Subscribe
I need to automate the format of outline-based information into slide presentations, given some simple rules. I can code. I have some ideas. What options am I missing?
I have been asked to help streamline the process of creating a certain text-heavy deliverable. The client creates a text outline and enters it into a set of very specifically formatted PowerPoint slides in a currently-labor-intensive process. The client would like to have the slides generated automatically from the outline, subject to some relatively simple rules about when to split content onto a 2nd slide, what info to include in the heading of that 2nd slide, etc. PowerPoint is not an absolute requirement, PDF slide output using a fairly specific template is. A few ideas I'm considering:
- LaTeX + Beamer, with a preprocessor to convert an outline into proper TeX markup. Pro: simple-ish, no temptation to manually edit the output. Con: difficult to edit later if you have to, assuming your end user is PowerPoint fluent and doesn't want to bother with TeX.
- PowerPoint + Apache POI + a preprocessor. Pro: I already know the API; output would still be editable. Con: POI's functions for creating presentations are a bit buggy; capability to edit the output = temptation to edit the output.
Anything I'm missing? I'd rather avoid VBScript if I can, and I'm not a .net guy, so I'm worried about writing an Office plugin even though it's certainly one potential route. I know I'm kind of handwaving the format of the outline -- as long as it's usable and I can get data out of it, there's no specific requirement there.