Capture part of a PDF document for use on your PowerPoint slide; Issue #135 May 29, 2007

PowerPoint Tip – Use PDF Capture Tool

I’ve worked with two clients recently who produce a lot of material in Adobe’s PDF format for marketing purposes. This is quite common today as more companies switch from printed materials to online versions that can be printed as needed, downloaded from a web site or e-mailed. Marketing departments spend a lot of time creating these materials and you should take advantage of their work in your presentations.

While you could ask for the source file so that you have all the graphics, charts, tables, etc., that’s not usually the easiest approach. Since most of the pages will have been created in high end page layout software, you will be getting files that you likely would have a hard time using.

The easier approach is to use the PDF version of the document. With a PDF version, you always get it looking the way the designer intended it to look and don’t have to worry about having a fancy graphics program to read it. And most of the time it is easy for the designer to create a PDF version if it is not already available.

Don’t be tempted to use a web page version of the document. If you have tried to copy items from a web site you have probably run into the problem of the low resolution of the web. Once you get the image into your slide and try to scale it up to a reasonable size, it looks all chunky and many times any text is hard to read. A PDF file has higher resolution than a screen version since it is intended to be printed.

Once you open the PDF file in your Acrobat Reader program, you need to find the item you want to copy into your slide. Make sure it is large enough on your screen that the copied size will pretty much fill your slide. You can use the zoom feature to make the elements in the PDF file larger on your screen. Then use the capture tool in the Acrobat Reader to capture the selected item to the Windows clipboard. Once it is on the clipboard, you simply paste it into your slide.

Use this technique for product brochures, documentation, CAD drawings or any other complex graphics that would be useful in your presentation. If you are using material from another organization, always make sure you have their permission first.

If you want to link to a PDF document in the middle of your presentation so you can tour the document with the audience, you will want to check out the video here .