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Cross Platform PowerPoint using Windows and Mac - 2 of 4

We continue exploring ideas to work better with PowerPoint in a cross-platform environment. Such environments often have both Windows and Mac computers.


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3. Images
4. Objects and Tables
5. Transitions and Animations
6. Narration and Audio

Continued on Page 3 >


3. Images

Avoid using Macintosh PICT images. They do not transfer well into Windows versions of PowerPoint.

Use bitmap files, such as JPEG and PNG formats. For images. PNG is the format that PowerPoint uses natively. The JPEG format also works well for images and is recognized on both platforms.

The Mac versions of PowerPoint ship with special photo effects that were originally part of Microsoft's abandoned PhotoDraw program on the Windows side. Regardless, any Mac presentation file that contains images with these effects can be moved to any version of PowerPoint for Windows and all the special effects will remain intact. The only caveat is that you cannot apply these effects to images once the presentation has been moved into a Windows version of PowerPoint.

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4. Objects and Tables

Most embedded objects in PowerPoint presentations created on Windows do not translate well within a Mac version of PowerPoint. For instance, if an embedded Word document or Excel spreadsheet has accentuated characters, these may not appear in a cross-platform presentation. Rather than embedding these files (Word, Excel, PDF, etc.), use hyperlinks to link them to the presentation file. Make sure these files remain in the same folder as the PowerPoint presentation.

Some file formats (such as Microsoft Visio and CAD) may not translate well. In these cases, you can often convert the files to an image or PDF file within their native applications. These newly converted files can then be linked into the PowerPoint file, and will be recognized and displayed correctly on either platform.

Microsoft Word tables and Excel spreadsheets pasted inside PowerPoint can cause cross-platform problems. Either redo the table using PowerPoint's native table engine, or create a link to the Word or Excel document.

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5. Transitions and Animations

All older PowerPoint versions (before 2002) include a limited selection of transitions. All new transitions do not play in the older PowerPoint versions on either platform.

Older Mac versions of PowerPoint can use QuickTime transitions in addition to other transitions. These transitions cannot be seen once a PowerPoint file is transferred to a Windows machine. Also, PowerPoint 2004 for Mac no longer provides the option to use QuickTime transitions.

Motion-path animations can be found in PowerPoint 2002 or 2003 versions for Windows, but the feature is not available in Mac versions. You can still view motion-path animations within PowerPoint 2004 for Mac, but they cannot be selected or edited on the Mac.

Animations in PowerPoint on both platforms were the same until the arrival of PowerPoint 2002 for Windows, which showcased motion-path animations and more. Mac users got a new custom-animation engine in PowerPoint 2004 for Mac, but it does not include support for Trigger animations.

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6. Narration and Audio

When you link a narration or sound file in PowerPoint for Windows, you can still hear the audio in PowerPoint for Mac. But the opposite is not true. PowerPoint for Windows cannot play back any linked narrations and sound recorded in Macintosh versions since Apple computers use the QuickTime AIFF format to store the recordings. Microsoft PowerPoint for Windows does not support this format.

If you need to move a sound file recorded in PowerPoint 2001 or 2004 for Mac to a Windows machine, embed the audio file as part of the presentation. Luckily, PowerPoint on both platforms will embed audio files by default, unless you choose to change the settings (within the Record Narration dialog box) linking the audio file instead.

MP3 audio files will work in both Windows and Mac versions of PowerPoint.

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Continued on Page 3 >


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