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Gale Miller
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Converting PPT notes pages to enhanced PDF ebooks

Apr 25, 2012 7:16 AM

My company creates training materials in PowerPoint. The class presentation is in the slide portion and additional notes are in the notes page portion.  We then use Acrobat to convert the notes page view to PDF. We'd like to use these PDFs as the basis for enhanced ebooks, with application calls, hyperlinks to internal/external content, searchability (this has been a particular challenge to implement thoroughly, particularly in the slide portions of the PDF pages), a comprehensive TOC/bookmarks, comment enabled, and password-protected against changing or extracting content.  We've also noticed some glitchiness in the PDFs we generate from PPT notes pages, although hard copies print out crisply.


Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated!

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 25, 2012 9:05 AM   in reply to Gale Miller

    You can do most of that from within the PDFMaker plugin for Powerpoint (write bookmarks, include multimedia, etc.) but Reader-extending to allow commenting has to be done in Acrobat Pro once the PDF has been created, and there are some limits when creating links (web URL links can be added in the PPT and will convert across fine, but links to locally-stored files have to be created in the PDF afterwards). However to bring all these features across you cannot 'print' to PDF - you must use the Save As Adobe PDF option, which employs the PDFMaker plugin. This means you're unable to create the "notes" or "handout" views, only the slide deck itself. Speaker notes are applied to the slide as a text annotation (sticky note) on the top left corner - you can't control that but you can turn it off.


    PDFMaker will create bookmarks for each slide (using the title) and you can edit them afterwards if necessary. Full text search should work just fine, though it depends on what's on the slide (some 'text' in PPT isn't rendered as text in the final document). Text within the comments (speaker notes) is not included by default when searching, but you can turn it on via the dropdown menu on the search bar in Acrobat and Reader.


    If you want more control over the layout of the PDFs and access to more extensive features, then Powerpoint isn't really the way to start. I would advise using a proper DTP package - InDesign, Quark, etc. While PPT can be coaxed into making hardcopies it was never designed for that workflow.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 25, 2012 11:12 AM   in reply to Gale Miller

    Unfortunately that makes things very difficult. Microsoft doesn't expose the "notes view" page layout to the Save As workflow, it's only created via the print dialog (and if you "print" to PDF you lose everything interactive and  get an electronic sheet of paper). PDFMaker only operates via Save As, so it can't therefore include the notes on the bottom of the page, and reimposing the PDF to add them after the creation step is a nightmare of a job.



    Gale Miller wrote:

    we absolutely must be able to include the notes portion with the slide portion when we convert to PDF.

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