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HOW-TO: Put PowerPoint on your iPod Photo


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This week's How-To is a quick and simple one if you have an iPod Photo and use PowerPoint or Keynote and don't want to lug around a computer-you can just plug in to a projector or a TV. This will also work with a Portable Media Center, or any other photo playing device that can be a video source. Also included in this How-To are some other ways to play your favorite slides, like using a pair of VGA goggles (that one's for the geeks).


Some say power corrupts, others say PowerPoint corrupts absolutely. No matter what business you're in, at some point someone needs to do a presentation and PowerPoint is usually the tool. Some are even using PowerPoint as an art form, as odd as that sounds, but like any medium, PowerPoint can be used for more than just quarterly sales presentations.
powepoint ipod
David Byrne (Wired)

For years, your humble How-To'er made hundreds of PowerPoints for one thing or another, usually what would happen is that the files would sent over to some executive-like person who could double-click the file and be the talking head. For the longest time it seemed silly to lug around a laptop just to show some slides, but now with the new generation of devices that can display photos in a quick, simple way, you might just be able to leave that laptop behind.

When we started this article, we were chatting with a pal over Instant Messenger, and he said it best "that would be awesome, you roll into a business meeting all pimped out...pull out your little teeny iPod Photo and plug into in the projector and then rock out with a beautiful powerpoint presentation complete with templates from You would rule the boardroom."

Of course there are tons of PDA solutions with custom software, connectors and all sorts of things, but even for us they were often overly complicated and never worked out exactly the way we wanted them to.

So we're thinking if you pitch this to your boss in the right way you could expense an iPod Photo or Portable Media Center. For the hardcore geek, a lot of this might be pretty basic, but the hardcore geek rarely presents PowerPoints, so feel free to skip to the end for some geek tidbits.

Now, on with the show, er slide show.

Getting started
The main thing we're doing here is exporting slides as JPEGs, these images will then be placed in a folder where iPod photo can grab them and sync them up next time the iPod is plugged in your computer. For our example we're using PowerPoint 2003 on XP on a PC and Keynote on Mac OS X.

The iPod Photo and Portable Media Center
We're using an iPod photo 40 gb version and a Creative Zen.

powepoint ipod
powepoint ipod

Both can use video out as well as pump out any sound to a video / audio source.

For our PowerPoint, we're going to use one from Tom Peter's site, Tom has some cool slides about marketing, branding and shaking stuff up— since his slides are out there, we thought these would be good examples if you want to use the same ones to follow along.

The one we're using is:
TechLearn Conference & Expo, New York, NY from November 15 2004

Right Click / Control Click to download it.

Exporting slides from PowerPoint
Open up your PowerPoint (File > Open) or just double click it. Review the slides and make sure this is indeed what you wish to export, make edits, etc...

powepoint ipod

To export the slides choose File > Save As...

powepoint ipod

In the pull down list, scroll down and choose JPEG.

powepoint ipod

PowerPoint will ask if you want export all the slides, click "Every Slide".

powepoint ipod

All the images will exported, depending on how many slides you have it may take a minute or so.

powepoint ipod

Importing the images to iPod Photo

Now we need to get all the images that we just exported in to the iPod.

powepoint ipod

Once the images are exported, open up iTunes, select File > Preferences.


powepoint ipod

In iTunes > Preferences, choose the iPod tab, then the photos tab.

powepoint ipod

Choose the folder where you exported and click OK.

powepoint ipod

Once imported, click OK. iTunes will now optimize and send over the photos to the iPod photo.

powepoint ipod

If you have Portable Media Center, you can also drop the images in Windows Media (if you've set it up to sync) and the images will be sent over as well. You can also play videos, so depending how you like to present, or what you need to present a Portable Media Center might be a better choice.

Exporting slides from Keynote
If you use PowerPoint on a Mac the process is almost identical to the PC process, so we don't need to go over that. Open the PowerPoint in Keynote. So, grab the same file or use an existing Keynote file.

powepoint ipod

Open up the file (File > Open). Keynote will convert it.

powepoint ipod

Once open, export to QuickTime File > Export > QuickTime. Choose QuickTime and click Next..

powepoint ipod

Choose "Interactive Slideshow"

powepoint ipod

The slides will export.

Exporting from QuickTime
Open the file in QuickTime. Now we'll export the images to a folder, in our example the picture folder.

powepoint ipod

Choose File > Export. Choose "Movie to Image Sequence. Then click Options.

powepoint ipod

Choose JPEG and set the frames to 1, that way it exports one frame per second of video.

Importing to iTunes and sending to the iPod photo
Open iTunes, choose iTunes > Preferences.

powepoint ipod

Click Photos and choose the folder you exported the images to from QuickTime. Then click OK. iTunes will optimize and sync over the photos then you're all ready for slide-ville.

The results
Here are the slides on our TV which has video in, right from the iPod photo and a Portable Media Center, if you get creative you can have some songs play at the same time and really rock out the boardroom.

powepoint ipod
powepoint ipod

Some bad news, a few of the slides looked really compressed and blocky on both the iPod photo and Portable Media Center, which seems to the default setting that can't be changed from PowerPoint, at least we couldn't find an option to change it. So, we're going to investigate a bit and will update this article if we find anything. We found best results were when we imported the PowerPoint in to Keynote and exported to QuickTime and imported the JPEGS from that QuickTime on to the Photo iPod.

Some thoughts
It's still a bummer you can't use any type of remote for advancing photos, we talked about this a couple weeks ago, but basically right now, the iPod Photo doesn't allow any external remote to advance pictures. The Portable Media also cannot display slides on its screen as the same time as the TV or projector, and you can't use external remotes yet either.

Ideally new versions of PowerPoint would have a new menu for Porable Media Centers (File > Export to Portable Media Center or File > Sent to Portable Media Center).  Also, Keynote should have "Send to iPod Photo".

PowerPoint cyborg
Now, one last thing we want to try was to export our PowerPoint slides to the iPod photo and then use some VR goggle to watch the slides, it worked pretty well.

powepoint ipod

On our next flight, we might use this set up to rehearse our slides. Or maybe not.

Phillip Torrone can be reached via his personal site,

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