Issue #160 May 27, 2008

PowerPoint Tip: Distributing your presentation in PDF format

More and more presentations or handouts are being distributed in PDF format so that they can be viewed on any system and look the same. I always provide my clients with a PDF handout so that when they print it, I know it will look the same as when I created it. Those who receive the PDF file can then easily e-mail it to others who did not attend the presentation. Today's tip gives you four ideas on how you can make a PDF copy of your presentation be more than a simple printout of your slides. Note that these ideas require you to have a full copy of Adobe Acrobat, not just the free Reader application. But if you are going to create PDF documents, you probably have the full Acrobat already. If you want to have your audience (and I use the term audience to mean anyone who is opening the PDF file to review it) look at more information on a web site, add a hyperlink to a slide. There are two steps to this. First, on your slide, incorporate a hyperlink to a shape or text and add text that gives an indication that a hyperlink is there. Second, in Acrobat, use the Link tool to add a rectangular hyperlink area to the shape or text on that slide. Now, when the audience wants to use the hyperlink, they can see that the slide indicates that there is a hyperlink and they can click on it in Acrobat to be taken to the web page with more information. One great advantage to creating a distributable version of your presentation in PDF format is that you can combine a printout of your slides with other documents that are in PDF format. These documents could be detailed spec sheets, performance data or financial information. Multiple PDF documents can be combined using the Insert Pages feature to create a single presentation package that you can e-mail out. If you do decide to create a combined document PDF file, one concern is that the page numbering won't be consistent, since each printout will number its own pages starting at page 1. You can solve this problem by not adding page numbers in each source document. Then, in Acrobat, use the Add Headers and Footers feature to add page numbers, copyright information and any other text you want to each and every page. The page numbers start at 1 and flow throughout the document regardless of the source document. The final idea is to attach reference files to the PDF document that you think people might want to use or refer to. You can use the Attach a File feature in Acrobat to attach pretty much any type of file as part of the PDF file. If you have a spreadsheet that you want them to fill out in order to see the magnitude of an issue, attach it and create an instructions page so they know how to find the attachment and use it. This increases the usefulness of the presentation for each person who opens the PDF file. When you have to distribute your presentation, use these ideas to create a PDF version of your presentation that is much more than just a slide printout. It can be a consistently branded document that links to relevant information on the web and contains interactive components that make it more valuable. If you want to explore the idea of hyperlinking in your presentations, there are two resources you should be aware of. The first is the "Guide to Advanced PowerPoint Techniques" which contains information on linking to external files during your presentation as well as other advanced techniques. Details are at http://www.ThinkOutsideTheSlide.com/guidetoadvppt.htm . If you just need to know how to create a hyperlink in PowerPoint, check out the video at http://www.thinkoutsidetheslide.com/ppthowtovideos.htm .