Your company, WidgetWorld, just invented the hottest new gadget on the market, and now it's up to you to attract some rich investors. You've spent hours in Microsoft PowerPoint perfecting your sales presentation -- complete with fading transitions, captions, and narration -- and now you're ready to send your pitch off to potential moneybags across the country. Unfortunately, you don't know whether they actually have PowerPoint on their computers. Of course, you could save your work as a Web presentation that would display in their browsers, but this means losing attractive motion effects such as slide transitions and necessitates clicking from one slide to the next.
There is another option. The version of PowerPoint in Microsoft's Office 2001 suite lets you save your presentations as QuickTime movies. In contrast to the motionless slide show you'd get with a Web presentation, QuickTime movies can include a soundtrack and transitions such as fades, wipes, or scrolling. And since QuickTime movies run equally well on Macs and PCs, chances are everyone can enjoy the show. Here's how to transform your PowerPoint presentation into a fluid QuickTime movie.
STEVE SCHWARTZ ( www.mediacity.com/~sschwartz ) is a coauthor of the official guide to Office 2001, Running Microsoft Office 2001 for Macintosh (Microsoft Press, 2000).
1. Modify Your Presentation Although you can turn any PowerPoint presentation into a QuickTime movie, to get the best results, you'll want to design your movie keeping a few limitations in mind.
PowerPoint enables you to generate two types of movies: sprite-based (these support text animations, working hyperlinks, and PowerPoint transitions) and frame-based (these offer only QuickTime transitions). Which one you create depends on which features are higher priority for you. Since QuickTime transitions result in the smoothest playback, we'll focus on creating frame-based QuickTime movies. (Note that if your presentation already contains animations, you don't need to remove them for frame-based movies. They will appear as a static image.)
To set QuickTime transitions, select each slide, one at a time; open the Slide Show menu; and select Slide Transition.
In the Slide Transition window, choose Select QuickTime Transition from the pop-up menu A. A new window B appears, offering a choice of transitions and display options. Click on OK when you've finished making your choices.
Back in the Slide Transition window, set how long each slide will play by selecting the Automatically After option C and specifying the number of seconds D. Click on Apply E.
2. Set Movie Options Now you're ready to turn your presentation into a QuickTime movie. The settings you choose in the Movie Options dialog box determine the movie's output quality and features.
Open the File menu and select Make Movie. In the Save dialog box that appears, click on the Adjust Settings radio button; then click on Next. This opens the Movie Options window.
First choose the optimization level A. Optimizing for quality will result in smooth playback but a large file. If you plan to put your movie online, however, you'll want to optimize for size. You can increase Movie Dimensions B beyond the traditional 640 by 480 pixels, but you may get jumpy playback.
Since you specified your individual slide transitions in step 1, choose Follow Slide Show Settings C under Media Settings. (For a sprite-based movie with hyperlinks or text animations, you'll instead need to set Slide Transitions to None, and enable both the Show Hyperlinks and Show Animations check boxes.) For the Background Soundtrack D, choose any QuickTime-compatible audio file, such as an MP3, WAV, or AIFF file.
Click on the Credits button E to add identifying information, such as a cast list, that will appear when viewers choose Get Info in QuickTime Player.
3. Generate and Review the Movie Once you've chosen the export settings, you're ready to create your movie. (To see samples of finished movies, go to www.macworld.com/2001/01/howto/powerpoint_extra.html.)
When you click on OK in the Movie Options window, the Save dialog box reappears.
Before you click on Save, make sure you click on the Append File Extension check box A. Adding a .mov file extension not only ensures that Windows users will be able to play the movie, but also prevents you from overwriting the original presentation by mistake. Click on Save to generate the movie.
You can now view the movie in QuickTime Player B or another QuickTime video application. Since PowerPoint doesn't let you preview your presentation as a QuickTime movie before you export, you may need to return to PowerPoint to fully synchronize your slide transitions and soundtrack and then repeat the export process.