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Distributing PowerPoint Presentations

Microsoft PowerPoint is an extremely powerful program that allows anyone to build and deliver effective presentations. The problems start when you want to copy your presentation and share it with others.

First of all, in order for someone to play your PPT presentation on their computer they will require a copy of PowerPoint or the PowerPoint Player. That means that PPT is not a "standalone" presentation technology. This is fine if you're sending a PPT presentation to users who you know have Microsoft Office, but not so good if you want to make an impression on a target audience you don't know. For standalone presentations that autostart, work for everyone and require no technical effort on the part of the end user, consider having us convert or rebuild your PPT presentation. These links will guide you further:

CD-ROM authoring
PowerPoint to CD
PowerPoint to DVD

While PowerPoint is clearly not as good at sharing as it is at playing, avoiding common mistakes from the beginning of your design and understanding the limitations of PowerPoint can save you frustration and help you to create a presentation with maximum compatibility and usefulness.

The following guide contains tips that can help.

Font Problems

PowerPoint Presentations rely on the system fonts of individual computers. In other words, the fonts you use in your PowerPoint presentation may not be present on the computer of someone you wish to share your presentation with. This is not a great concern if you only use your computer to display your presentation or you use fairly common fonts like Arial and Time Roman as most computers will have those fonts and the presentation will appear as you intended it. The problems start when you try to improve the creative level of your PPT show by incorporating fonts that only exist on your computer. This occurs most often when you download fonts from the internet or try to include fonts that came with programs that others don't share.

There are some very negative outcomes to distributing PPT presentations that includes fonts not found on the system of your target audience:

1. PPT will replace your fonts with default fonts and all your effort and hard work dedicated to improving the design will be lost.

2. The client you sent the presentation will likely think you designed it that way and make assumptions about you and your company that are incorrect.

3. Due to differences in font sizes your text content will spill off the screen and be hidden, distorted or obscured.


1. This is a tough one. You can minimize the issues mentioned by sticking with simple font families that everyone uses. Worse case scenario is that the default replacement fonts don't look exactly like you intended but chances are the fonts sizes will be close and at least your text will stay on the slide.

2. Newer versions of PPT actual allow you to package a PowerPoint show with all the fonts and necessary files for viewing on another computer.

3. You can embed fonts and preserve all the transitions and audio be creating a "movie" of your PPT show and distributing it in a popular video format like Windows Media Player. MPEG 1 or Quicktime. You could include your presentation of a CD or DVD for easy distribution. This will reduce the resolution of your presentation but it can be a good option if you have a lot of animation and other dynamic content.

The Macintosh version of Microsoft PowerPoint allows you to export a QuickTime (and any format supported by your version of QuickTime) video of your show. Unfortunately many transitions and other animations are not supported by the export option so you need to modify your presentation accordingly.

PC uses do not have a direct way to export their PPT show to video. We can help you convert your PowerPoint presentations to video regardless of the platform.

These links will explain further:

PowerPoint to CD
PowerPoint to DVD

Mac and PC Compatibility Problems

While you can share your PC designed PowerPoint Presentation with any Macintosh user who has Microsoft Office for Mac (and visa versa,) don't expect your transitions, animations and movies to play correctly. There are underlying differences between the two platforms that defeat many of the effects you work so hard to create.


The only option is too create a "dumbed down" version of your presentation that includes effects available on both platforms. Thorough testing on both systems is the only way to confirm that you have a truly cross platform presentation.

The only what to create really dynamic presentations for both platforms is to create two different PPT shows incorporating the best effects and transitions available from each version of PowerPoint.

Remember, PowerPoint may not be the best choice for distribution to others, especially others you don't know. We can assist you in creating a self launching, cross platform, standalone presentation that builds on the impact of your existing presentation.

Visit this link to learn more:

CD-ROM authoring

Design Problems - Safe Image Area

Another issue most PowerPoint users are not aware of is the concept of safe image area. Many designers place images and text close to the outer edge of the slide. This is fine if the presentation will only ever be viewed on a computer screen. There may however, be occasions when your presentation will be projected to a screen or worse, displayed on a television. While computers display every inch of your presentation, television screens obscure or hide approximately 20% of the outside image area.

Creator of broadcast content refer to this as the "safe image area." Keeping all important elements within the safe image area will ensure that your message doesn't get cut off. There is also an esthetic reason for keeping relevant content away from the edges — it just looks better. In fact it's a fundamental principal of good design to avoid overcrowding and create impact by making use of "white space."

You're presentation may never be displayed on anything other than your computer monitor but should you ever need to distribute it on DVD or directly to a television using a scan converter, you'll be good to go with little or no modification.