PowerPoint isn't really a drawing program, but it's the closest thing to one
on a lot of computers. And really, it does come stocked with a pretty good selection
of drawing tools, so it should come as no surprise that people will often send
PowerPoint files when you ask them for a logo, article illustration or other
And once they do, what the heck are you supposed to DO with PPT files if your
ultimate need is an illustration in a magazine, newsletter or other professional-level
To begin with, you'll need PowerPoint and a PPT file to work with. It's a good
idea to work on a COPY of your original file, since some of these techniques
will alter the original in irreversible ways. From simplest to most sophisticated,
here are some of the directions you can go:
Copy/Paste a Single Graphic Element
Select the graphic you want to work with, then click the Draw icon at
the lower left of the PowerPoint screen. Click Ungroup, then immediately
click Regroup on the same menu. This breaks any OLE links (Object
Linking and Embedding) and converts the graphic to PowerPoint objects. It's
been my experience that if there are going to be any printing or import/export
problems, they'll become apparent when you ungroup and regroup. Better to learn
about it now rather than wait until your printer starts spewing reams
of garbage later.
Now select the graphic and copy it. Switch to the program where you intend
to use the graphic and choose Copy, Paste Special if that option
is available. Pick Metafile or Enhanced Metafile as the type of
picture to paste. If Paste Special isn't available, use Paste.
Export an Entire Presentation
You can export a single slide or all the slides in a presentation to individual
WMF or BMP/JPG/PNG/GIF files (and TIF
if you have PowerPoint 2000 or later).
Open your presentation and choose Save As from the File menu.
In the Save As Type dropdown listbox, choose the file type you want
Give the file a name and click OK.
PowerPoint will ask whether you want to export just the current slide or your
entire presentation. The question is worded a little oddly: Yes means
Export every slide in the presentation, while No means Just
this slide, thanks. If you export the entire presentation, PowerPoint appends
sequential file numbers to the name you provided.
When PowerPoint exports raster (bitmap) files, it sets the resolutionthe
number of pixels in the exported filebased on the Slide Page Size.
The exact formula varies with the version of PowerPoint:
Number of Image Pixels = Page Size X Magic DPI Number
- For PPT97, the Magic DPI (dots per inch) Number is 96 if your video is set
to Small Fonts, 120 if Large Fonts.
- For PPT 2000, 2002 and all Mac versions, the Magic DPI Number is 72.
- And The answer to Life, The Universe and Everything is, of course, 42.
For example, you open your PowerPoint file, choose File, Page Setup
(or Slide Setup, depending on version) and check the Width (and convert
it to inches if your copy of PPT displays centimeters). Let's say it's 10 inches.
The Magic DPI Number for your copy of PowerPoint 2000 is 72, so you know PowerPoint
will export images at:
10 inches X 72 or 720 pixels wide
That's nice to know in advance, but what if you now know in advance that it's
To get higher resolution exports, choose File, Page Setup and
increase the Height and Width of your Slides. Be sure to make
the new size proportional to the old or you'll distort your graphics, set text
boxes to wandering randomly around the page and so on. We don't want that. How
big is big enough?
Work the formula in reverse: Desired Resolution / Magic DPI Number = Page
If you'd rather not do all this calculator drill, don't want to bother resizing
presentations and want more control over which slides get exported, how they're
named and where they're saved, check out the inexpensive PPTools Image Exporter
add-in for PowerPoint at http://www.pptools.com/.
Once you've exported the slides, you'll discover that PowerPoint has made RGB
(3 colorRed, Green, Blue) images. If you're taking them to the web or
using them in a document bound for a desktop printer, that's fine. If you plan
to print the images on a four-color press, you'll need to convert them to CMYK
(4 colorCyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black), first.
These simple techniques will meet most PowerPoint export needs. If you have
a workflow that demands something different, shoot us an email,
care of TechTrax.