Mass convert PowerPoint metafile data

If you use PowerPoint and receive many presentations from coworkers who use PowerPoint on PCs, you’re probably familiar with the (sometimes agonizingly slow) process of “graphic metafile conversion.” This is something that PowerPoint on the Mac must do to allow you to view and use any graphics embedded by PC users. The problem is that if you do the natural thing—open the presentation and start looking through it slide by slide—this conversion process happens every time you advance to the next slide.

Here are a couple of handy timesavers to spare yourself the annoyance of waiting for the conversion on every slide. Note that these won’t make the process any shorter (the conversion still has to take place), but they will make it much less annoying.

The first, and simplest, thing to do is to just save the presentation. When you save it, PowerPoint will convert all the graphic metafile at once, during the save operation. Opening the newly-saved presentation will allow you to breeze through all the slides, as the conversion has been done.

The second option is to switch to the slide sorter view (View -> Slide Sorter), which also forces an all-at-once conversion of the graphics metafiles.

The third method is to hit File -> Print after opening the presentation. Again, the metafile data will all be converted, and you can cancel out of the Print dialog box when it’s done.

If you use the second two options, remember to save the presentation when you’re done, so you won’t have to wait through the conversion again.

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