Friday, December 10, 2010

Using Acrobat instead of Powerpoint?

From one of our fan favorites, Ernie Svenson and his PDF for Lawyers blog, comes another winner. Using Acrobat for presentations rather than Powerpoint. Here is what Ernie writes:

Most people would never imagine that they could use Acrobat to do presentations like the ones created in Powerpoint. And many of the few who could imagine such a thing might ask "Why would I want to?" Let me address both questions, starting with the second one first.

Obviously, those of you who are adept at creating elaborate Powerpoint presentations with internal builds and clever transitions aren't going to switch to Acrobat to do a presentation. But if all you want to do is show a series of slides in sequence, with simple transitions, then listen up.

The first step is to create a PDF document with the things you want to display in order, page-by-page. Once you have your display pages sequenced inside of one PDF, the next part is easy. If you want to set transitions between the pages, select the following menu choices ADVANCED > DOCUMENT PROCESSING > PAGE TRANSITIONS (depicted in the screenshot below).

SnagIT 1

You have choices for how quickly each transition will take (slow, medium, or fast). You can also set it up so that the pages transition automatically after a set number of seconds, and that the slideshow will only apply to a certain range of pages (see the dialogue box below).

Set Transitions

Once you've got the transitions set to your liking, you just open the PDF and then select VIEW > FULL SCREEN MODE (or choose the shortcut: CONTROL + L on a PC, or COMMAND + L on a Mac). That's it. Dead simple to set up and use.

So, now other than simplicity why would you do this? First of all, there are less compatibility problems if you're going to be showing the slides on a computer that's not yours. Many seminar organizers will require attendees to send in their slides beforehand, and then load them into the computer being used to project so that the speakers can just walk up and do their thing. More than once I've seen speakers aghast that their carefully crafted Powerpoint slides were somehow mangled, and the fonts changed into garish text. This wouldn't happen if you used a PDF file.

Ah, but you say "What if the seminar presenters don't have Acrobat on their computer?" Well, that would be a problem. But if they have Adobe Reader then you could use that. Since the Reader program is free to download, just make it a point to tell them to load that on the computer and you'll be good to go.
And, lastly, I should point out that while you can't do builds within a slide, you can embed a movie file if you want (see example below).

Long Boring Contract - TEST.pdf

You have to use the "multimedia" tool in Acrobat which will take the movie file, convert to Flash, and then embed it. When you get to that slide you just have to click on the "Play" icon and the movie will play. You can then proceed on to the next slide.

I've even been able to use wireless remotes to advance slides on my Mac computer; but I can't vouch for how this works on Windows computers so test it before your talk and see if that works for you.

Please click here for the original article.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I liked it. Did you know? In case you use PowerPoint instead of Acrobat, you can download free templates from here: but I guess you can also use these backgrounds in acrobat as well. Hope this helps.

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