Undeniably, PowerPoint is the best program out there for creating presentations that you are going to deliver in-person, but if you have to send the presentation as an email attachment, the file sizes can be huge. This might make you think of converting the presentation into another format like Flash SWF. There are umpteen tools available that do this conversion -- and some do so much more as well. But if you want a simple tool that just does a quick conversion to SWF, you might want to look at Capture v2, the subject of this review. Of course, Capture does much more and the conversions are not only limited to SWF -- having said that, in this review, I'll explore how to convert a PowerPoint file to a SWF file using Capture.Back
Capture v2 is from Multidmedia Limited (MDM), a company based in the UK. MDM offers several other products from their site.
My contact at MDM for this review was Seetle Chahal - thank you, Seetle.
You can download a free trial version of Capture v2 from their site.
Download the installer from the link given above, run the setup routine and follow the instructions. You'll end up with an MDM program group in your Windows Start menu (see Figure 1 below).
Figure 1: The MDM Start Menu Group
When installed, follow these steps to convert a PowerPoint file to SWF using Capture.
- Go to your Windows Start menu and choose All programs | MDM | MDM Capture v2 (see Figure 1 above).
- This opens the Capture v2 interface. When the application opens for
the first time, you'll be shown a dialog box with various capture area
options. Rather than selecting any provided options, click on the Skip
this screen and start with a blank presentation option on the
bottom right (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: Capture 2 and the welcome screen
- Right click anywhere inside the workspace to open a context menu.
Choose the Add Group | Microsoft Power Point presentation, as shown
in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Add a PowerPoint
- This opens a dialog box that allows you to navigate and select the
location of the presentation you want to use. Click Open and Capture
will present you with another dialog box where you will provide the
presentation dimensions, For this review, I have set it to 1024 x 768,
as you can see in Figure 4. Remember -- a larger chosen
resolution will always increase the file size of your Flash output.
If you need to email the Flash SWFs, use a lower resolution like 640
x 480 or 800 x 600. You can also place a check in the box next to Full
After setting the dimensions, click on Import button.
Figure 4: Set your import dimensions
- Depending on the size of your actual PowerPoint presentation, you will have to wait a while as Capture loads the presentation. That's because behind the scenes, Capture is actually loading PowerPoint to import your slides -- although this process might be transparent to you as the user, it's nevertheless significant because you won't be able to use Capture's PowerPoint importing abilities unless you have a copy of PowerPoint installed on the same machine.
- After the import is done, Capture's interface can be seen with several
tabs and slide thumbnails as you can see in Figure 5.
Figure 5: The Capture interface
You can mainly see three tabs on the left:
- The Thumbnail tab shows you the individual slide previews,
- The Preview tab shows the actual size of selected slides, and
- The Export tab is where you can set and customize the export settings.
There are some other tabs at the right side of the interface which is where you can insert audio files, change general settings, and even add a text bubble.
- To export the presentation to SWF, go to File menu and choose Export to | SWF file, There are other formats
also in which the file can be exported, as you can see in Figure 6.
Figure 6: Export to Flash SWF or other formats
- Select the destination folder and save the converted SWF file.
Capture v2 costs $199.99, if you have the older version you can upgrade for $59.99.
Email support is complemented by a small online FAQ that I wish was more detailed.
To be fair, I have just reviewed the PowerPoint to Flash conversion options
of Capture in this review -- and although the output is nice and easy
to create, I can't help observing that this does lose all the animations
and interactivity in the actual PowerPoint presentation. And I'll add
that the implementation is very easy -- many other PowerPoint to Flash
conversion programs are over-complicated in comparison.
So, if you are just looking for a PowerPoint to Flash converter, I'll recommend you look at some other options as well before reaching a decision. On the other hand, don't forget that Capture has many more options that can be very helpful. If you can use any of those capabilities as well, then Capture is a good investment in your software library.