Best presentation software for a PDF?
March 20, 2018 7:42 AM   Subscribe

We've finally started building presentation decks in InDesign and presenting them as PDFs. The slides look waaaaaaaaay better—but everyone really misses PowerPoint's presenter mode.

Is there some way to achieve the same things (a timer, slide preview on the secondary screen, notes)?

Alternately, is there a good, FAST way to convert a PDF to PPT without getting all kinds of weird artifacts? It doesn't have to be editable. I can export each slide of the PDF as an image and drop the images into individually slides, but that gets unwieldy as the decks get long....
posted by you're a kitty! to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Well, Acrobat DC converts to Powerpoint.
posted by pipeski at 7:54 AM on March 20, 2018

It does.... but extremely sloppily, I'm afraid. Tons of image and text glitches.
posted by you're a kitty! at 9:03 AM on March 20, 2018

Academics commonly use LaTeX to make PDF slides. Here is a page listing many "presentation mode" solutions for their situation. Some are LaTeX specific but some would work for any PDF.

The top answer is something called pympress; you can find downloadable installers for Windows for the latest version here. It supports notes and a timer, and should work for any PDF although it seems to be mainly for LaTeX users.
posted by vogon_poet at 9:04 AM on March 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

Oh! and pdfpc looks even better, although it's not clear that they have built a Windows/Mac version (although in theory it seems like it should be cross platform).
posted by vogon_poet at 9:06 AM on March 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Unless I radically misunderstand something: import individual PDF pages into PPT slides. Alternatively, export them as a series of reasonably high-resolution JPG files, then import into PPT. Either way, bob's your uncle.
posted by conscious matter at 9:11 AM on March 20, 2018

import individual PDF pages into PPT slides.

This does work, you're right—but it takes a while, which is challenging when we're working quickly and presentations are 50+ slides long. It might end up being the best solution, though!

Thanks everyone!
posted by you're a kitty! at 10:27 AM on March 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Our president is a computer scientist by training, so he might actually groove on pdfpc.... :)
posted by you're a kitty! at 10:28 AM on March 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

You can use ImageMagick & GhostScript to convert a pdf to a folder of images:
convert presentation.pdf -density 300 output.png
Then use PowePoint's photo import to create slides.
posted by gregr at 10:54 AM on March 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

Acrobat can batch export each page to an image (File/Export to...) so that should be pretty fast. This page has suggestions for batch importing images to Powerpoint slides.

On preview, what gregr said for the second half.
posted by exogenous at 10:57 AM on March 20, 2018

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