When your PowerPoint file is just too big

PowerPoint can be a flexible, user-friendly way of supporting your lectures. But when the slides are a cornucopia of wonderful art images, as in the case of my colleague from History of Art, it can become a problem even opening the file - especially when trying to upload to a VLE (Virtual Learning Environment, for example, Moodle, Blackboard or WebCT). Microsoft offer some advice to reduce the size of your powerpoint files - but when that doesn't work either, it's time to look for other solutions. Here's one.

Step 1 - Save your PowerPoint slides as images

  1. Open your Powerpoint file.

  2. From the 'File' menu, choose 'Save As'.

  3. Click on the drop-down menu 'Save As Type' (it's at the bottom of the 'Save As' dialogue box)

  4. Scroll down the drop-down menu and choose 'PNG Portable Network Graphics Format'

  5. Click on the 'Save' button

  6. You will be asked 'Do you want to export every slide in the presentation or only the current slide?' - choose 'Every Slide'

  7. PowerPoint will then tell you where your new images are stored (it has created a new folder for them).

Step 2 - Showing your Images of PowerPoint Slides in Picasa

  1. Download Picasa here, following the instructions in the box at the right of the page.

  2. Open Picasa.

  3. From the 'File' menu, choose 'Add Folder to Picasa' (and add your folder containing the images of your PowerPoint files from 7 above)

  4. Select the same folder in Picasa's 'Folders' window on the left.

  5. Click on the big 'Slideshow' button at the top of the screen and your slideshow begins

  6. Note that the slideshow controls are slightly different to those in PowerPoint itself:

    • You can increase the time each slide shows by simply moving your mouse around and a console shows at the bottom of the screen - click the plus or minus sign below the words 'display time'

    • You can also left click your mouse or hit the space bar to stop and start the show

Additionally, you can share your slides 24/7 with students by signing up (free) to the very user-friendly Picasa Web Albums, which promises 1GB (lots!) of storage space. You can find more Picasa help here and Picasa Web Albums help here.