How to shrink my presentation?
January 14, 2008 7:29 PM   Subscribe

What is the most elegant solution (.ppt, .key, other) for shrinking my presentations to less than 5 mb on a mac?

I am using Leopard. I have PowerPoint 2004, Keynote 08, and neooffice installed. My presentations are photo-heavy and the last chapter came in at 22 MB. Every single photo doubled in size simply by being put on a slide. I resized all photos with a combination of resizr and snipshot (firefox plugins) and managed to get it down to *just* under my school's per-file upload limit of 5MB but it took another two hours of work. I did save as low quality but it only saved me about half a MB. MacOffice doesn't have the option to right-click and resize a photo the way Office for Windows does.

Here are my constraints:

Image heavy, but the images don't need to be poster quality. I'm taking images off web pages (not hot-linked) and from textbooks.
Students need to be able to download and print presentations - school limit is 5mb.
I've been spending 6-8 hours writing each chapter's presentation but this is untenable. The solution needs not to be time consuming.
Converting to pdf or html is not working because that doesn't give students the option to print multiple slides to a page. They have printing limits and printing six slides to a page keeps them safe.
I don't need special fonts, animations, or templates.

The problem as I see it are the OLEs. I'm not a computer person, so here's the stupid question - is there any presentation software that doesn't make oles?

Failing that, I see these solutions. Please help me figure out what is the most simple solution. I'm willing to spend a little money but not more than $150 or so.

1) Buy Mac Office 2008 (to be released tomorrow). Perhaps it will have a better image compression system than mac office 2004.

2) Download image resizing software and run every image through it. I'm running 80+ images per presentation, so would prefer not to do that.

3) Not use images. The whole point of this thing was to show maps and pictures of the things we talk about. It's a requirement to look at cute fuzzy animals in my field.

4) Split ppts into multiple pieces. The last chapter would have been uploaded in 6 chunks.

5) Upload to personal (no quota) webspace, give students the link. Some of them may still run on dialup, so this might be unreasonable.

6) Put Impatica on office (windows) computer. This requires me to go into the office to resize before uploading. It messes up my workflow and I still have to figure out how to get 20mb from the mac to the office computer.

6) None of the above...(fill in the blank)

Thanks in advance.
posted by arabelladragon to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I should clarify - I'm an instructor who's going to be doing this on a constant ongoing basis for years. The presentations are used in class - they serve as lecture notes and to organize discussions.
posted by arabelladragon at 7:31 PM on January 14, 2008

Print it as a compressed PDF in leopard.
posted by wflanagan at 7:40 PM on January 14, 2008

Best answer: I use keynote for lecturing and I export my lectures to pdf so the students can print them out. They can easily print multiple slides per page if they have a printing quota -- this is done in the print dialog box when they print. If that's the only reason that you think exporting to pdf is not an option then I strongly suggest just writing your own instructions for how to print multiple slides per page with Adobe or whatever reader the school standardly uses and prove them with the pdf files. Keynote exports quite nicely to pdf.

Also I think it's probably not a good idea to make your presentations available as presentations, if you're at all worried about someone "borrowing" your work. A pdf file can't be plagiarized as easily.
posted by tractorfeed at 7:41 PM on January 14, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks Tractorfeed - I've been using preview instead of Adobe and didn't know that Adobe would do multiple slides per page. I was sure there had to be a simple answer.

Thanks for the tip on plagiarism. I'm not too worried about it but I'll keep an eye out. There's nothing special in my notes that isn't available anywhere else (intro classes) and the notes are only published-by-me on blackboard. The discussions we've had since I quit making them take notes have been *so* good that I'm willing to take on a little risk in that regard.
posted by arabelladragon at 7:47 PM on January 14, 2008

One think thats help somewhat is to make sure that the very first slide of your presentation is a straight black one. For some reason office saves a snapshot of the first slide in the file and a black one takes less space.
posted by DJWeezy at 7:52 PM on January 14, 2008

Best answer: If you do use PDF, Apple has a tip on their website about reducing file size for PDFs. Go here and click below the video where it says "When a pdf is too big".
posted by smackfu at 7:53 PM on January 14, 2008

A PDF will do everything you need for a fraction of the file size. If 6 slides per page is preferred, then create a PDF based on that (Print > Show options arrow > Handouts > PDF>> PDF). I wish my instructors would do this instead of printing a 50pg, single-sided presentation each day!
posted by fleeba at 7:57 PM on January 14, 2008

Whoops, a little too slow!
posted by fleeba at 7:58 PM on January 14, 2008

Just to make sure this is crystal clear, you can print/export to PDF right from Keynote. So you can use a combination of things to

- export full size slides as PDF
- export like 4 slides per page as PDF

just like fleaba says. If you do this right you can just upload them someplace or link them someplace and students can choose the print version that is okay. For you, making two PDFs takes about five minutes longer than making one so students don't have to mess with the multiple pge thing.
posted by jessamyn at 8:31 PM on January 14, 2008

Best answer: In general, if you're distributing things that are designed to be printed, PDF is the right format to do that in. Most laser printer drivers will easily handle printing multiple pages per sheet, so PDF files formatted with one slide per page are fine. Most decent laser printers will also do two-sided printing and booklet mode. Finding out how your college printers do that and writing up a cheat sheet is a good idea.

If your presentations contain animation you'd like to preserve, you should be able to open them in NeoOffice Impress and export them in Flash format. The resulting Flash files should contain only screen-scaled versions of the images, and should therefore be relatively small.

If you do actually want your students to get fully working presentations, try building them using Impress instead of PowerPoint. NeoOffice's native file format is actually just a structured Zip archive, and the image files you paste into your presentation are simply stored inside the archive in their original formats (PNG, JPEG or whatever). That gives you pretty good control over the bloat to detail tradeoff.

The doubling in size thing with PowerPoint is because PowerPoint actually embeds two photos in the .ppt for each image you add: the original, plus a version scaled for the screen. Even if your originals are already scaled for the screen, it still stores both. If I recall correctly, Impress doesn't do this.
posted by flabdablet at 3:47 PM on January 15, 2008

Best answer: I just whipped up a simple one-slide presentation in Impress to check whether I actually did know what I was on about with these file sizes, and looked inside the resulting .odp file with an archive manager.

The .odp came out to 1.8MB. The vast bulk of that is the Pictures folder inside it, which contains a 467KB .png for the background I chose, plus the original 1.3MB unscaled straight-from-the-camera .jpeg that I put on the slide. There is also a Thumbnails folder containing a thumbnail of the whole slide, but it's only 64KB.

I did three trial exports to .pdf, with image resolution set to 300dpi, 150dpi and 75dpi. These came in at 860KB, 494KB and 345KB respectively. The photos in the 300 and 150dpi versions look good on screen, while the 75dpi one is noticeably poor.

Exporting to Flash made a 230KB .swf that looks good on screen.

I didn't try printing any of these, but I imagine the PDF with 300dpi images would look the best of all the exports.

It seems to me that because your students can install OpenOffice for free on any kind of computer, and because its file formats are open standards and very easy to work with, using OpenOffice/NeoOffice to generate your handouts would be doing them a favour.
posted by flabdablet at 2:05 PM on January 16, 2008

Often making a pdf from PowerPoint will shrink your file size dramatically. Choose a lower resolution pdf, not something " to print". Failing that, the reason that you are having a file size problem is that you have a large number of high resolution photos. It is most likely that you can get away with lower resolution photos. You will need to resample your photos to a lower resolution with an image editing program. Resizing is not resampling!

Many people think they need 300 dpi photos- not true! A 100 dpi photo is 1/9 as big as a 300 dpi photo, and probably looks as good. We tell our poster customers that a photo of 72 dpi in the size it will be printed will work. A table that might help is available in our FAQ area, item 6, at
posted by Jay3Mega at 11:28 AM on July 9, 2008

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