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Cross Platform PowerPoint - Windows, Macintosh

Author: Geetesh Bajaj

Date Created: February 10th 2006
Last Updated: June 14th 2012






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7. Movies
8. Movie Export
9. ActiveX and Flash Export
10. Other Issues

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7. Movies

PowerPoint on the Mac works smoothly with QuickTime movie files. You can insert both QuickTime (MOV) movies and Quicktime Virtual Reality (QTVR) files natively. Not surprisingly, QuickTime files (even sound) don’t work in the Windows versions of PowerPoint. In fact, PowerPoint on Windows has all but non-existent support for QuickTime.

You can insert old QuickTime files (versions 1, 2 and 2.5) into PowerPoint and have some cross-platform success, but rarely does this include content created in the last five years. For more details regarding PowerPoint and QuickTime, visit this link..

Just as you would avoid using a QuickTime file when moving a presentation from a Mac to a Windows machine, avoid using the Windows Media Video (WMV) and Windows Media Audio (WMA) formats if you are moving a presentation from a Windows to a Mac platform.

If you want movies to play in both the Windows and Mac versions of PowerPoint, use AVI or MPEG, rather the MPEG-1 file format.

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8. Movie Export

PowerPoint on the Mac can export an entire presentation as a QuickTime movie. If you have visited the PowerPoint for Windows newsgroups anytime in the last few years, you’ll know that this single feature makes them more jealous of the Mac users of PowerPoint than anything else. The reasons are not difficult to ascertain. Once you create a movie from a presentation, you can do anything with it — stream it on the Web or create a DVD that can be viewed on a television screen. These movies can be seen by Windows users if they have a QuickTime plug-in and player installed on their computer. More information can be found at www.apple.com/quicktime.

While there is no similar export-as-movie feature within Windows PowerPoint, it is rumored this may change with the introduction of Longhorn, Microsoft’s next version of the Windows OS, due out in 2006. In the meantime, Windows users have two options. The first is to open the presentation in PowerPoint for Mac and export it as a QuickTime movie and then transfer the file back to the Windows machine. The second option is to use a screen video-capture application, such as TechSmith’s Camtasia, to record the entire presentation in a multitude of video formats. Camtasia even has a PowerPoint plug-in that places the recording toolbar inside PowerPoint.

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9. ActiveX and Flash Export

ActiveX was a Microsoft technology that was given to the open source movement back in 1996, many years before it became fashionable to espouse the virtues of open source. ActiveX is the same technology that allows you to play Macromedia Flash and Director movies inside Internet Explorer and other applications, including PowerPoint. ActiveX is a Microsoft technology and is not available on the Mac platform. What this means is if you insert Flash movies into a presentation using PowerPoint for Windows, the Flash files will not play on the Mac.

Active X is also the technology PowerPoint for Windows uses for Control toolbox items such as Action and Radio buttons. These items will not work within PowerPoint for Mac, and if used, will cause a warning or error message.

You can insert Flash movies inside PowerPoint for Mac presentations using the Insert | Movie option. But again, these files will not play when using PowerPoint for Windows.

The only way to rectify the Flash file issue is to manually reinsert the file once a presentation has been transferred to a crossplatform machine.

You can learn more about inserting Flash movies in a Windows version of PowerPoint here.

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10. Other Issues

The Send to Word feature found in PowerPoint for Mac (all versions) copies and extracts all text found in a presentation and places the text into a Microsoft Word document. This differs from the “Send to Word” function in Windows PowerPoint versions, which allows additional formatting choices such as transferring pictures on the slides into Word along with the text.

Visual Basic (VBA) remains the best programming solution for cross-platform PowerPoint developers. But for those who like to play with PowerPoint’s programming options using Visual Basic, the Mac versions are a big disappointment. PowerPoint 2004 for Mac has VBA 5, and some programming features that exist in the newest versions for Windows are missing from the Mac version.

PowerPoint 2004 for Mac users can take advantage of the new AppleScript implementation, which provides a new method of automating PowerPoint for Mac. However, AppleScripts do not work within PowerPoint for Windows. Be aware that color gamma differences between both platforms mean presentation colors created on a Windows machine appear lighter on a Mac. This is not an issue that can be solved within PowerPoint; it is a platform issue.

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