PowerPoint 2002-2003 Web Options
By: Geetesh Bajaj
Last Updated: March 2nd 2009
The new PowerPoint 2002 confers the title of 'presentation browser' on Internet Explorer. Yet, to effect a faithful PowerPoint HTML incarnation, one needs to closely understand and apply various configurations hidden within the Web Options dialog box of PowerPoint 2002.
Access to these configurations is not as easy or obvious as expected - choose Tools -> Options. This opens the Options dialog box with its various tabs. Choose the General tab, where you'll click a button called Web Options. The same options are also available from the Options button in the Save As HTML dialog box.
The Web Options box opens with its own slew of six tabs - General, Browsers, Files, Pictures, Encoding and Fonts. Let's take a closer look at the specific configurations that underly each option.
The first tab is the 'General' tab, consisting of options pertaining to the appearance of finished HTML presentations. The first option is to enable slide navigation controls and choose a specific colour combination like white on black. You can opt to show slide animations while browsing - you may need to have the Office Animation Runtime component installed for this to work. You can download Office Animation Runtime from:
Finally, you can choose to resize graphics to fit a browser window. It goes without saying that all the three options in the 'General' tab should be ticked to allow a faithful PowerPoint HTML conversion.
The 'Browser' tab contains the most significant yet simple options related to PowerPoint's web use. There are basically two ways to configure your PowerPoint HTML output here - either you can opt for one of the preset browser profiles or choose to create your own profile from the four options below the browser drop down box. First let's look at the browser profiles. These include:
- Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0, Netscape Navigator 3.0, or later
- Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0, Netscape Navigator 4.0, or later
- Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 or later
- Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 or later
- Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or later
You'll find Netscape 6.0 conspicious by its absence! Coming back to our subject of browser profiles, you'll find that a few of the four options below get automatically selected or deselected depending upon the browser profile you choose. Let's take a closer look at these four options
- Allow PNG as a graphic format: PNG is a not-so-new graphic
format which has not yet replaced Compuserve's GIF format at
the browser level. Yet, newer browsers do support PNG at a basic
level. Only the Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 profile auto-enables
this option. If you are fairly confident that your intended audience
can view PNG, you can choose this option - otherwise leave it
You can learn more about the PNG format at the PNG Home Site, maintained by Greg Roelofs.
- Rely on VML for displaying graphics in browsers: Let's
first try and understand the VML concept - VML stands for Vector
Markup Language, an upcoming vector graphic standard for the
internet. Here's an excerpt from PowerPoint's help file:
Vector Markup Language, or VML, is a system of marking up, or tagging, two-dimensional vector graphics for publishing on the World Wide Web. Graphics that are prepared in VML usually take less time to download and require less disk space. VML graphics are scalable and editable, and you can adjust the size, position, and visual appearance of a VML graphic by using a text or visual editor.
Unfortunately, VML support does not extend beyond's Microsoft's frontiers - other options like Flash and SVG are more omnipresent in the real world. That did not stop Microsoft from pursuing it and making it available as a viewing technology in Internet Explorer 5 and later. Predictably, there's no support for VML in both Netscape and Opera. Nevertheless, if your intended audience is composed exclusively of Internet Explorer users, you might want to enable this option.
- Save an additional version of the presentation for older
browsers: Browser technology is at the cutting edge all
the time - today's new developments could soon become yesterday's
defaults. Yet, one cannot expect audiences to change over rapidly
- that's why many users still work with older version of browsers
like Internet Explorer, Netscape and Opera. This option allows
you to make your PowerPoint HTML output more compatible by
saving an additional copy of the presentation more geared towards
users of earliers versions of browsers.
- Save new web pages as web archives: Saving a presentation as a web page does come with its share of problems - imagine transporting every single linked file and component, taking care of folder structures and maintaining them all the time. Keeping track of web presentations can easily become a nightmare. Enter MHT - or its simple explanation as a web archive. MHT is a new format introduced with Internet Explorer 5 which allows you to save any HTML content embedding all the graphics and links on that page. Thus your entire 30 slide PowerPoint web presentation with its linked pictures can be saved as a single MHT file. However, MHT ignores all sound and video components - so don't use this option if your presentation contains those elements. Also, MHT again is an Internet Explorer 5 and above feature - thus useless for viewing on any other browser.
The 'Files' tab has simple options - you could choose to organize supporting files in a folder as opposed to storing them within the presentation folder itself. You can also opt to use long file names as opposed to the earlier 8:3 Microsoft DOS convention. The 'Update links on save' option is again self-explanatory.
Finally, you can select an option to check if the Microsoft Office XP components are default editors for web pages created witin the suite. Choosing this option will enable you to edit a PowerPoint HTML presentation in PowerPoint itself rather than the default web editor. Anyway, this option is checked by default - don't change it unless you're a professional and sure about the consequences.
Amazingly, the 'Pictures' tab doesn't pertain to visuals - it actually allows you to configure your intended screen size or resolution. The default choice is set to 800 x 600 pixels, the most widely used resolution these days. Again, use your discretion to choose a resolution you require.
This is among the least used configuration options - since this should be preconfigured as per your system's actual language encoding options. Nevertheless, if you're certain about your results, go ahead and change the encoding - you can also change the default encoding here.
Again, the 'Fonts' tab allows you to use the default font character set as well as a default proportional and fixed-width typestyle along with their point sizes.
We've just examined each web option available within PowerPoint 2002 - and yet, this is hardly an attainment of any sort. Rather, it's more of a beginning - and the best way to learn to make these options work for you is through trial and error.
It goes without saying that we're discussing PowerPoint HTML presentations here - not the conventional PowerPoint PPT presentations. PowerPoint 2002 introduced a great new round-trip feature, wherein you can easily convert between both the HTML and PPT formats without losing any information.
As you create your presentation, keep a browser window open simultaneously. After every few minutes, do save the presentation within PowerPoint. After every such save, go to the browser and refresh the already open presentation and view it for any incompatibilities.