Managing Powerpoint Presentation File Sizes

Lots of people have to do this all the time. You want to send your slides, or maybe even slide notes to a class or group, but when you look at the file size it is just to large. There is one other confounding variable here, often you want to convert your slides to pdfs, but even with that first step done, you end up with a pdf file that is as large (or sometimes larger) than the original slides.

Let’s look at the steps involved, there are not really that many, but I am going to make some assumptions about the software you have and the platforms that you might be using. There are lots of ways to do this, but I will only cover two. Generally the steps ar the same no mater what OS platform you are on:

  1. Generate the pdf file that you want
  2. shrink that file size down to something more manageable.

Lets start with the file. I made a simple pptx file, that weighs in at 8.3 MB. To do this I just loaded up on the graphics files, which are always the killers. You can grab a copy of that file here: Large PowerPoint.

Using the printer dialog in Mac OS X or PDFMaker under Windows you can quickly create high quality (read large file size) pdf files from your presentations. You may want a high quality version, but you also want a smaller version for sharing with colleagues or students. The smaller version will speed up printing as well. I did that, and here is my same pptx converted to a pdf notes file: PowerPoint_Size_Big.

Mac OS X:

Open your pdf up in the Preview application and using “Export As…” option under file, Save the PDF using the “Reduce File Size”option.

Save the PDF using the "Reduce File Size" option

Windows or Mac OS X:

Adobe Acrobat has a similar function that can be used to reduce pdf file size. Chose the “Reduce File Size…” option under the Document Menu.

Using Adobe Acrobat to reduce a pdf file size

In both cases the file sizes were under 400KB, just using the presets, 342KB and 184KB using the and Adobe Acrobat respectively. There are lots of other ways to do this, from within the printing menus and also from within the adobe acrobat application itself. But just using the preset “shrinking” options will often get you exactly what you want.

20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web



I may have written about this before, but here it is again anyway. One of the things that electronic books just cannot do is compete with the look and feel of a real book. That said, this site comes as close as I have seen. It has a simple unobtrusive interface that lets the user comfortably scroll (turn pages). I wish there was a publishing format, and there may well be, for something like this. It would be great to combine this framework to let users put up their own books, focusing on content instead of technology. And who knows, maybe there is.

20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web.

Share A SNiPiTRON Project With An Entire Group

We have been use SNiPiTRON for project sharing. It has a few quirks, here is one of them.

MG 11/20/08 9:55:52 AM

1) Click on “My Homepage”

2) Click on “My Projects”

3) Click On your Project names to select it.

4) Click on “FILE”

5) Select “Project Permissions”

6) Under “Access List”

7) Choose your network (in this case “VMI”)

8) Select “All [network name] members” (in this case “All VMI members”)

9) Choose “Add”

10) Choose “Save”

openSUSE filling in for Mac OS X Leopard

openSUSE logo

I have always been a Red Hat guy, and then subsequently a Fedora Core guy. So when my MacBook broke down and I needed a replacement machine I got to thinking what I could use. St. John’s is a windows environment and it is a very integrated windows world. We have a number of machines that are integrated into our Mac OS Server environement as well as the Universities environment, and when we needed a unix machine to handle a number of server side things we had reformatted a T60 ThinkPad for this task. Now I grabbed this ThinkPad and decided to try something different.


So far so good. The install was smooth, despite a reliance on the DVD for installation of extras (only because it is annoying to constanly have to run down that DVD and stick it back in) all has been very, very smooth.

I haven’t sorted out the windows integration, Open Directory binding is beyond me for the moment.

More to follow.

Create a “private” wiki using mediawiki

Using mediawiki one can create an elegant collection of resources for a user community. These pages can be open to all, or only available to those logged in, but there is not an easy road to take if you want something in between.

The short solution is to split a wiki with private internal parts and public parts into two wikis. If you are currently creating a wiki that will house pages only for internal use that outside users should not see it would be best to set up two interlinked wikis now, before content gets added.

To create a private wiki that only allows anonymous users to see the main page and login pages add the following to your LocalSettings.php file.

#do not allow anonymous users create an account
$wgGroupPermissions[‘*’][‘createaccount’] = false;

# require that users log in to edit
$wgGroupPermissions[‘*’][‘edit’] = false;

# allow these pages for anonymous users (Main Page and login)
$wgWhitelistRead = array( “Main Page”, “Special:Userlogin”, “-”, “MediaWiki:Monobook.css” );

# remove the link to the talk page for non-logged in users
$wgShowIPinHeader = false;

# require that users log in to read
$wgGroupPermissions[‘*’][‘read’] = false;

Weather in the menu

One of my favorite Gnome features was the weather menu item. When I started using Macs and PCs I was baffled that such an item was not included on all computers. As I worked away, in some dusty, fluorescent tinged office I longed to know the weather outside, if only to be mildly connected to nature by a thin stream of electrons. For a number of years now the simplest solution to this has been the Meteorologist program.

Freely downloadable, available here.

And voila! Weather in the menu…

Set-up your email on 2.0 iPhone/iTouch to take advantage of VPN and older Cisco concentrators

Okay, so once VPN is set-up you go to settings throw on VPN and poof!

Nothing happens. Mail cannot connect, internal web sites are not available… What gives?

Well you can read more about this here:

We are not alone.

But a fix is not far off. The problems seems to sit with the interface between the VPn concentrator and the DNS servers. This problem can be alliviated by using the IP address of the servers.

Look at your mail application settings and find out the name of your mail server. Do a IP lookup for your server name and find out what IP address corresponds to your mail server name. There are lots of applications out there, if you have a Mac use Applications -> Utilities -> Network Utility.

Once done with this task you will have an IP number that corresponds to your mail server and SMTP server (these are the same for some environments, but not always). Again go back to Settings and this time select:

Mail, Contacts, Calendars

Once inside find your email account, mine is set-up as an IMAP, as I had problems with exchange.

Select the account that will be used over the VPN connection.

Replace the Host Name and SMTP server information with the IP numbers you looked up. Save.

From now on Mail should be good to go over VPN. In fact web browsing will also work, provided you know the IP address for the internal servers that you want to access.

Good luck. Let me know how it works for you.