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Slide Conversion

Version 2.5.6

The NEW whiteboard (WBD) requires each presentation slide to be in a single pdf or jpg file in order to be displayed during a presentation. Users can have NEW produce this needed format automatically using the "Convert Slides" button.

NOTE: In the following, "directory" means "folder" on Windows systems.

    File formats that can be automatically converted by WBD:
  • ps files: a single PostScript file containing one slide per page
  • pdf files: a single pdf file containing one slide per page
  • Microsoft PowerPoint file (requires user's computer to have one of OpenOffice or Microsoft PowerPoint installed)
  • LaTeX files: the user must provide both the LaTeX source file and a postscript version (e.g., latex slides -> dvips -> ps file).

The CONVERT directory is the default location in which to put files containing presentation slides for automatic conversion by NEW. The ps, pdf, LaTeX or PowerPoint file(s) to be converted should be placed in this directory.

By clicking on "Convert Slides" the user is given a file browser from which to pick the file to convert. In the case of a LaTeX presentation, select the .tex file.

Conversion of slides is better done prior to the live NEW session; users can use the PLAY-STANDALONE configuration to good advantage (on Windows click on C:\Program Files\NEW\PLAY-STANDALONE.nwc).

The conversion process can produce the pdf slides needed by WBD, as well as:
    • handout versions of the slides printed 1, 2, 3, or 6 per page, provided as pdf files
    • zip file archive of the generated pdf slide files

Once the user has selected which option(s) to use and clicked OK, the conversion process begins. NOTE that this process can take several minutes.

The pdf slides generated for presentation will be placed in a directory of the same name as the slides source file provided, and placed in the SLIDES directory. Thus, a slides from a PowerPoint file titled "Uber.ppt" will be placed in a directory named "Uber" within the SLIDES directory. The source file(s) are unaffected by the conversion. The individual pdf files will be named starting with the slide number. Conversion will try to append, immediately after the slide number, the first few characters of the slide's title (with omitting certain problematic characters). This step may not succeed, in which case the slide names are left as a two or three digit number corresponding to the slide number.

NOTE that the WBD places a limit on the size of file an individual slide file can be: the default value is 64 kilobytes. If a slide's pdf version exceeds this size, the converter will replace the pdf version with a jpeg version. The converter is aggressive in its compression to ensure slide will fit under the 64 Kbyte limit; this may adversely affect legibility of the slide. You can set the value of the limiting size in the .nwc file that configures WBD, by providing an XML line under <newClient> with tag <whiteboardPage>, for example to set the limit to 250000 bytes:
    <whiteboardPage>-P 250000</whiteboardPage>

If a zip archive of the presentation was requested, the zip file is written in the SLIDES directory. Note that WBD's "Import Slide" can be used directly on the zip file, so that the user need not expand (unzip) the archive before use; WBD will unzip the file if necessary.

To convert Microsoft PowerPoint slides, WBD first tries to use OpenOffice: if this is unavailable, and the user is using a Microsoft Windows platform, WBD will try to use PowerPoint as a fall back. If neither is available, or if the user is using a non-Microsoft platform and OpenOffice is unavailable, WBD will be unable to convert the PowerPoint slides automatically; in this case see note on manual conversion, below.

Users are strongly cautioned against using the graphical property of "transparency" in any image appearing in a presentation. This feature will result in *extremely* slow conversion, and very large presentation files that will not be usable. A single instance of a graphic with transparency will cause *all* slides in the presentation, not just the one on which it appears, to be affected in this way.

For Windows PowerPoint users

In order for conversion to produce correctly formatted slides using PowerPoint, the Windows system must be set to print on an "HP Color LaserJet 8500 PS" printer. Further, the settings for this printer must be manually set to a paper size of "Tabloid" or "11X17" (make this persistent by selecting this printer in Start -> Settings -> Printers, right-click on "Properties" and adjust paper size under heading "Device Settings").

This step is not necessary if OpenOffice is used to perform the conversion.

Manual Slide Conversion of PowerPoint Files

    Using OpenOffice:
  • open the presentation in OpenOffice
  • click on the export as pdf button (or invoke via File pull-down menu)
  • place the pdf file in the CONVERT directory
  • use WBD's "Convert Slides" button directly on the pdf file

    Using PowerPoint:
  • set the default printer to the HP Color Laserjet 8500 PS
  • print the presentation, selecting 'Print to File'
  • place the generated ps file in the CONVERT directory
  • from the File pull-down menu, choose "Save As" and choose Rich Text Format (rtf).
  • place the generated rtf file in the CONVERT directory
  • use WBD's "Convert Slides" button directly on the ps file

It is also possible to generate labelled slides from either a:
  --.pdf file of all slides produced from PowerPoint, using for example Adobe Acrobat, with a .rtf saved from the same .ppt file and located in the same directory as the .pdf. file generated from LaTeX, with the .tex file used by LaTeX to produce those slides and located in the same directory as the .ps.

Finally, it is possible to produce numbered (but not labeled) slides from any multipage .ps or .pdf file.

The slides will be generated in a subdirectory of NEW/SLIDES having the same name as the slidefile. If you choose to generate a zipfile, it also will be have the same name as the slides file, with extension .zip, and will be located in the SLIDES directory. If you afterward select the Import Slide button and click on the zipfile, the WBD will automatically unzip the slides. This makes it easy to generate a slidefile using one computer and send it as an email attachment or web upload to another computer.

Handout PDF Files

Handout files are generated in the CONVERT directory and will be named as "source_filename-n.pdf" where 'n' is 1, 2, 3, or 6 depending upon which option(s) are selected at convert time.