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I get a fair number of questions about how to convert PowerPoint ppt and pptx files to video. Over the years I keep trying different solutions, with some resulting in better output than others. For me, there are two greatly important factors - the software needs to be able to automatically translate all the effects you included in your presentation and it also needs to have great looking video in the final output. Most recently I tried out PPT2Video Pro and came away pleasantly surprised with the results.

"How do I convert PowerPoint pptx to ppt so that people with older versions of PowerPoint can read them? I have Office 2007 and I want people with older versions of Microsoft Office to be able to view my PowerPoint slides."

Converting pptx to ppt is actually pretty easy, you simply need to re-save the file. As long as you didn't do anything too wild in your PowerPoint presentation, it should just work. There is a second alternative that might allow you to keep the pptx extension, if you have features in your PowerPoint presentation that aren't supported by older versions.

"How can I add a YouTube video to my PowerPoint presentation?"

PowerPoint supports adding many different types of movies, including AVI, MPEG, and Windows Media. YouTube videos, which are Flash FLV files, aren't directly supported. There are a couple of ways you can add a YouTube video to your PowerPoint slides. One way involves download inga YouTube video and then converting the video to one of the formats supported by PowerPoint. If you know you'll be presenting somewhere with an Internet connection, you can embed the YouTube video in your PowerPoint slide following this slightly complicated series of steps.

The first thing you need to do is enable the Developer menu tab in PowerPoint by opening the PowerPoint options and turning it on. Click the Office icon in the top left corner followed by PowerPoint Options.

On the Popular tab, check the box next to Show Developer tab in the Ribbon and click OK.

Click on the Developer tab on the menu ribbon and click the More Controls button.

Choose Shockwave Flash Object from the list of controls and click OK.

Use your mouse to draw a box on the slide where you want the YouTube video to appear. Right-click the box and choose Properties.

Click on the square with the three dots next to Custom to open the Property Pages for the Shockwave Flash Object you just created in your slideshow.

On the YouTube page with the video you want to add to your slideshow, copy the URL from the sharing area.

Paste the YouTube URL in the box labeled Movie URL on the Property Pages box in PowerPoint.

Make changes to the URL you just pasted, replacing the = with a / and the ? with a / so that they URL looks like the one in the box below:

Preview your slideshow to verify these steps worked and you should see the YouTube video appear in the slide you pasted it in. The video will not appear in PowerPoint edit mode.

"How can I clear the list of recent documents in my PowerPoint 2007 and Excel 2007?"

The process for clearing recent documents in Word 2007, Excel 2007, and PowerPoint 2007 remains very similar to the way it was done in Microsoft Office 2003 - the location of the menu item is merely different. With PowerPoint 2007 open, click on the Office icon at the top left of the screen, and then click on PowerPoint Options.

Click on the Advanced tab on the left hand side of the options menu, then locate the Display section of the Advanced options. Change the box next to Show this number of Recent Documents to 0 and click OK.

You can repeat this process in both Excel 2007 and Word 2007 to clear the list. If you want to show recent documents at some point in the future, simply change the number to something more than 0.

Download Swiff Point Player

Adding a Flash movie to a PowerPoint presentation typically requires some custom VB scripting in order to successfully control playback during a slideshow. Swiff Point Player makes the process easier for SWF files, adding a custom button the Insert menu in PowerPoint to automatically add any SWF file to your PowerPoint presentation. Using Swiff Point Player, you get seamless Flash playback in your PowerPoint slides, similar to what you get with other standard video formats like AVI or WMV. If you need to playback an FLV file, like the ones served on YouTube, you'll still need to convert the file or get some custom programming done, but if you want to add some eye-popping SWF graphics or a SWF movie to a presentation, Swiff Point Player has you covered. It should go without saying that PowerPoint is required. [Windows 2k/XP $0.00]

Luke asks, "What is best software for converting PowerPoint presentations to AVI and other video formats? Best shareware?"

I partially covered this topic in a previous article on converting PowerPoint PPT slideshows to WMV. The two primary options for converting PPT slideshows to AVI or any video format are to either invest in software that connects to Microsoft PowerPoint or to use a screen recording application to record your slideshow as it plays on your screen. Using separate software gives you more control over the video file format including AVI and MP4, while screen recording software typically offers similar video format options.

Lisa writes, "I have a PowerPoint presentation with audio that I would like to stream from my Website. How do I convert the PowerPoint presentation to wmv format?"

There are two main approaches for converting PowerPoint slideshows to video. One option is to purchase software that acts as a plug-in for PowerPoint to automatically export the slideshow as a movie. A second option is to play the slideshow on your computer and use screen recording software to capture the slideshow as it plays, saving the finished file in the movie format of your choice.

In my own experiences converting PowerPoint presentations to video formats, using the software converters is never a perfect alternative. The ones designed as PowerPoint plug-ins rarely grab embedded video and frequently miss text and slide transitions. The best solution in this class is Presentations to Video Converter. The app is pricy at $199, but does the conversion with or without PowerPoint installed on your system. To get to WMV with Presentations to Video Converter requires multiple steps because the software outputs AVI or MP4. Saving in AVI, you can easily convert to WMV using Windows Movie Maker or Windows Media Encoder.

A better option may be to convert the PowerPoint slideshow by playing it onscreen and using screen capture software. If you don't have any embedded video clips in the slideshow, something like SnagIt or VoDMaker should deliver excellent results without the overhead of needing 30fps video. Both are capable of capturing audio and video, so any sounds in the presentation are also captured. In this case, video is saved as an AVI file, so flipping to WMV using Windows Media Encoder or Windows Movie Maker is necessary in this scenario as well.

On tip for doing a PowerPoint screen capture: Add a blank slide at the beginning and end of the presentation so that you have time to start the recording before the slideshow engages.

Joe asks, "Is there a way to save one slide out of many in a PowerPoint presentation?"

There are several ways to save an individual slide from a PowerPoint presentation, although the workflow in PowerPoint isn't quite as logical as it should be. Depending on whether you want the still PowerPoint image or the full functionality of the PowerPoint slide, you have some options. The first option is to export the individual slide as an image file. An alternative option is to create a new PowerPoint presentation containing only the individual slide.

PowerPoint supports exporting an entire presentation or individual slides as image files. Since you only want one slide, first highlight the slide you want to export in the Slide Sorter (the thumbnail view of the slides on the left hand side of the screen). If the Slide Sorter isn't visible onscreen, make it visible by choosing View > Slide Sorter from the menu. Next, choose File > Save As. Select a name for the file and change the Save as Type from .ppt to an image format like GIF, JPG or PNG. Click the Save button. After you click save, PowerPoint will display the option to export the entire slideshow as individual images or only the current slide with a dialog box that looks like this:

PowerPoint Export Options

If what you want is to keep all the features of the PowerPoint slide intact, select the slide; copy the slide; and paste the slide into a new presentation. Save this new presentation as a single slide presentation for reuse later.

If the slideshow is a compiled executable, you won't be able to open the file in PowerPoint. In this case, you need to use a screen capture application to take a screen grab of the slide you want to export using an application like SnagIt.

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