.doc to .ppt - why so hard?
May 16, 2007 7:43 AM   Subscribe

How does one convert a Word document into a Powerpoint presentation?

I want to do a presentation on a document that currently exists in Word. It seems like that should be a pretty common need, and it doesn't seem like it should be that hard to figure out an easy way to do it, for example, deleting most of the text but leaving section headings and a few selected blocks of text, and putting in manual page breaks so that each page is a new slide.

But the only method I've been able to find makes very clunky use of Word's outlining function, and several efforts to make it work have failed miserably, i.e. most of the entire 30 page document ends up on one slide.

Am I missing something? Is this just another annoying Bill Gates blindspot? I see that you can buy software that does this, but $49.95 seems a little steep. Is there a good freeware option? Perhaps it is possible to "launder" through another program, like going from Word to PDF to PPT?

PS: not helpful here are suggestions to use a Mac (though I'm curious if its possible) or comments on the advisability of a text-heavy powerpoint.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
deleting most of the text but leaving section headings and a few selected blocks of text, and putting in manual page breaks so that each page is a new slide

Instead of adding page breaks to your Word document, why not edit the text down and then cut and paste it into separate PowerPoint slides?
posted by danb at 7:57 AM on May 16, 2007

I don't think you are missing anything. This pains me greatly. FWIW, I have not tried method #2 here.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 8:06 AM on May 16, 2007

Here are two links I found that explain how to create a PowerPoint deck from Word:

"Creating PowerPoint Presentations from Word Outlines"

Microsoft Knowledge Base article on the same topic:

It doesn't appear to be all that straightforward. I agree with you that that's silly.
posted by zooropa at 8:07 AM on May 16, 2007

Yes, you're missing something. OLE: Object Linking and Embedding. In short, the placing of one document inside another. It's on the Edit menu, I think—Insert -> Object.
posted by humblepigeon at 8:11 AM on May 16, 2007

I can't stand how hard it is to convert things properly from word to other formats (linked pdf, for example). Anyway, can you add a "word" or "conversion" tag to this entry?
posted by cashman at 8:21 AM on May 16, 2007

this may work:

posted by jmccw at 8:35 AM on May 16, 2007

The inserting of the file as an object is the trivial aspect. The hard part is making a 30-page document break into new slides. It's like PP needs an option, "Break excess text into new slides." I've had no such luck though.
posted by jmd82 at 9:38 AM on May 16, 2007

This is an opportunity for a potential gold-mine, if you asked me. Some brilliant metafilterites should be able to write a program for this. Get to it.
posted by misha at 10:06 AM on May 16, 2007

Sorry, that last was not very helpful. Disregard.
posted by misha at 10:06 AM on May 16, 2007

This seems so hard because you are using a "dirty" source to convert from - Microsoft Word. Word just wasn't made to handle multiple format conversion.

When you're creating documents destined for multiple formats, you usually want to start out writing source material in an authoring tool like Adobe FrameMaker - and then use that to create your Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, PDFs, etc.

However, if you don't do much of this type of thing, buying and learning how to use something like FrameMaker isn't really worth it. It is definitely not going to be a quick solution to your current problem. I would suggest you open a new PowerPoint presentation, click the Insert menu, and choose Slides from Files. Browse for your document, and the select Insert All. The text should break into new slides. If all the text is not being imported, it is probably set to a default style such as "Normal" and being disregarded by PowerPoint. You will have to clean the slides up a little depending on your style settings.
posted by tjvis at 11:39 AM on May 16, 2007

To send from Word to PowerPoint (File > Send To > Microsoft Office PowerPoint), all your text needs to be in a heading style.

Every time Word detects a Heading 1, it starts a new slide.

As tjvis notes, normal text is ignored.

Images etc. don't get imported, if I recall correctly.
posted by Yogurt at 2:29 PM on May 16, 2007

I shudder at the thought of sitting at a presentation made automatically by any program converting a Word file to a PP presentation.

Even if you delete most of the text, the presentation may not be good. If you are making a presentation, you ideally want your audience to pay attention. Why not make your PP a good one? Here is a good thread about this. I followed some of this advice for a presentation I did last year, and most of the audience enjoyed it.
posted by Monday at 3:47 PM on May 16, 2007

Just to close this out -

- Thanks for advice on how to make presentation better, i wouldn't think of just dumping in text, i just didn't want to have to do 20-30 pages of cut & paste.

- CHanging everything to a heading style and then sending is the best method - its what I was talking about in the question as the clunky use of outlining - but takes a lot of manipulation.

- I still think this is an obvious feature that should be standard and agree with Misha: someone should figure out a way to do this better.

posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 12:20 PM on May 17, 2007

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