Friday, July 24, 2009

PowerPoint 2002/2003/2007 to EXE

PowerPoint 2007 to EXE

By Geetesh Bajaj on February 27th 2009

Note: This is part of a set of tutorials that shows you how you can create an EXE fromPowerPoint 2002, PowerPoint 2003, and PowerPoint 2007. If you have PowerPoint 2007, the new PowerPoint 2007 compatible Viewer, or the Office 2007 Compatibility Pack installed, then make sure you use the tutorial specific to PowerPoint 2007 only.

PowerPoint 2007 includes the Package for CD feature, which we'll use with a cool and undocumented Windows utility to create a standalone EXE file from PPT or PPTX presentations that can play on any system with Windows XP, Vista, or higher installed

  • PowerPoint 2007's Package for CD feature is a wonderful way to create autorun CDs that contain a copy of your presentation with linked files and the Viewer engine. Often overlooked, this feature also contains the Copy to Folder option.
  • The second utility we'll use is called IExpress, a file distribution packager that has been
    included as part of Microsoft Windows for a long time now.

I need to add that this technique uses the PowerPoint 2003/2007 Viewer and thus inherits all its abilities and limitations - for instance, it doesn't support OLE or the use of Action Settings | Run Program procedures.

Having said that, this technique outputs much more than a standalone EXE. Other benefits it offers include the ability to email a PowerPoint presentation, reasonable protection against edits, ease of use for the end user, having nothing permanently installed on a system, etc.

Before You Begin

Here are some thoughts and guidelines that will help you before you begin:

  • PowerPoint 2007 does not ship with a new Viewer that can handle the new PPTX file format -- the Viewer included with PowerPoint 2007 is a modified version of the PowerPoint 2003 Viewer. However this is transparent to the end user as PowerPoint 2007 automatically back-saves your PPTX to a PPT that includes full fidelity viewing of all the new effects in PowerPoint 2007 -- even in an old PPT file!
  • At all times, especially when you are creating new presentations or linking media to presentations, try using the old DOS 8.3 naming structure where the actual file name does not exceed 8 characters and the extension does not go beyond 3 characters. Of course, it you are working with PPTX files native to PowerPoint 2007, you can extend this rule to a somewhat ironic 8.4 naming structure.

Part I: Create a Packaged Folder

  1. Open, create or edit a new or existing presentation in PowerPoint 2007. This could be either a PPTX file, or even
    an older PPT file.
    Save the presentation and choose Office Button | Publish | Package for CD, as shown in Figure 1.
    Package for CD
    Figure 1: Package for CD
  2. In the Package for CD dialog box as shown in Figure 2, give your project a name. You'll find that the active presentation has already been included as per the default options - the default also includes the new PowerPoint 2007 Viewer within the CD compilation. Choose the Copy to Folder option rather than Copy to CD. This brings up another dialog box over the earlier dialog box (see Figure 2 again). Click OK.
    Copy to folder
    Figure 2: Copy to folder
  3. PowerPoint stores all required content including the presentation, linked files,
    Viewer and two text files (autorun.inf and play.bat) within a folder, as you can see in Figure 3.
    Note that the PPTX file is now converted to a PPT file. Exit PowerPoint.
    Package folder
    Figure 3: Packaged folder

Part II: Get Started with IExpress

  1. In Windows XP, go to your Start menu and choose Run.
    Windows Vista users can just go to their Start menu, and start typing as I show you next.
    In the resultant dialog box, type 'iexpress' without the quotes as shown in Figure 4. This will open the IExpress Wizard, one of Windows' undocumented secrets. Since IExpress is a series of wizard driven screens, each step below includes an actual screenshot.
    Figure 4: Launching IExpress
  2. Select the Create new Self Extraction Directive file in IExpress, as shown in Figure
    . Click Next.
    New self extraction directive file
    Figure 5: New self extraction directive file
  3. IExpress wants to know how you would like to package your files (see Figure 6). Choose the first option that says Extract files and run an installation command. Click Next.
    Extract files and run an installation command
    Figure 6: Extract files and run an installation command
  4. Give your intended package a name, as shown in Figure 7 -- this could be anything descriptive you choose. Then, click Next.
    Package title
    Figure 7: Package title
  5. In this screen, IExpress needs to know if we require a confirmation prompt when the end-user activates the finished package -- since we want the finished standalone EXE to function as transparently as possible, we'll choose the No Prompt option, as shown in Figure 8. Click Next.
    Confirmation prompt
    Figure 8: Confirmation prompt
  6. You can choose to display a license agreement -- for this tutorial, I have opted not to display a license (see Figure 9) -- click Next.
    License agreement
    Figure 9: License agreement
  7. This screen (see Figure 10) is probably the most important within the entire IExpress Wizard sequence. Click the Add button and navigate to the folder created by PowerPoint 2007's Package to CD option -- refer to point 3. Add all the files within that folder and click Next.
    Package files
    Figure 10: Package files

Part III: Getting Ahead with IExpress

  1. In the install program options, just type in:
    pptview.exe sample.ppt
    Here sample.ppt is the name of your PowerPoint presentation. Figure 11 shows how I typed in this command.
    Remember: At all times, especially when you are creating new presentations or linking
    media to presentations, try using the old DOS 8.3 naming structure where the actual file name does not exceed 8 characters and the extension does not go beyond 3 characters. Of course, it you are working with PPTX files native to PowerPoint 2007, you can extend this rule to a somewhat ironic 8.4 naming structure.
    Click Next.
    Install program to launch
    Figure 11: Install program to launch
    Alternative: You might want to use the constant 'pptview.exe /L /S playlist.txt'. That will open the playlist created in Package to Folder. Less likely to have typos on the user's part if they just cut and paste. Also, the /S switch tells the Viewer to open without a splash screen.
    Much cleaner for a self-executing file.
  2. In the next screen (see Figure 12), opt to hide the installation program's window. Click Next.
    Show window
    Figure 12: Show window
  3. Since we want the entire process to be as transparently invisible to the end-user as possible,we'll opt to include no message (see Figure 13). Click Next.
    Finished message
    Figure 13: Finished message
  4. You need to provide a path and name for your finished standalone EXE presentation now. Place it in the same folder as the presentation (or anywhere else) and give it a small name, preferably something that uses the old DOS 8.3 file naming convention (see Figure 14).
    Provide name
    Figure 14: Provide a name
  5. Within other options, check the box that hides the file extracting progress animation. Remember to check the other box that allows you to store files using long file names within the package, even though I've suggested you already use the 8.3 file naming convention for all files in this tutorial. Click Next, as shown in Figure 15.
    Figure 15: Options

Part IV: Creating the EXE

  1. Choose not to restart the system since we are not installing any system files (see Figure 16) --click Next.
    Configure restart
    Figure 16: Configure restart
  2. It's a good idea to save all the wizard settings as a self extraction directive (SED) file -- choose a name and file location as shown in Figure 17, before you click Next.
    Save self extraction directive
    Figure 17: Save self extraction directive
  3. There's nothing to change in this screen unless you want to go back and change any of the settings (see Figure 18). Click Next.
    Create package
    Figure 18: Create package
  4. Click the Finish button shown in Figure 19.
    Create package
    Figure 19: Create package
  5. This will activate a DOS/command window, see Figure 20 that will compress all actual files down to almost 50% and create a standalone EXE that contains everything -- the presentation(s), linked files and even the Viewer!
    DOS/command window
    Figure 20: DOS/command window
  6. Test your standalone EXE.


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