From answering common laptop questions to providing new user orientation training, whenever you’re called upon to communicate with a group of end users, PowerPoint can be a powerful tool. But what if you can’t get to the users due to geographic or time constraints? What if you simply want the users to have 24-hour access to your presentations? Can you overcome these challenges? You bet. Simply format your presentations for the Web and then post them on the Internet or your organization’s intranet.

(Note: To make your presentation available over the Internet or your organization’s intranet, you will need to transfer the HTML file and accompanying files to a Web server. Because this process depends greatly on your organization’s particular network configuration, I won’t cover those details in this article.)

To demonstrate the process, I’ve created a Web-enabled presentation based on Gregory Harris’ TechRepublic article “VB script lets you print the file path in Excel 2000 worksheet footers.” You can download this sample presentation here.

Save your presentation as a Web page
Whether you’re creating a new presentation or you want to convert one that you’ve already completed, the process is the same. With the presentation open, click File | Save As and select Web Page from the Save As Type drop-down menu. This will open the dialog box shown in Figure A. You can open the same dialog box by clicking File | Save As Web Page.

Figure A

By default, the file and Web page are given the same name and title as the first line of the presentation. To change the filename, simply edit it within the File Name text box. To change the title of the Web page, click the Change Title button (see Figure B).

Figure B

When you save your presentation as an HTML file, PowerPoint will create an HTML file and an accompanying folder, both with the same name. The folder contains the files necessary to display the presentation correctly on a Web browser. You’ll need to upload both the presentation and the folder into your Web server once you’re finished.

After you’ve changed the name of your presentation, click the Publish button to bring up the Publish As Web Page dialog box (see Figure C). This gives you a few more options when formatting your PowerPoint slides.

Figure C

Although the Complete Presentation radio button is listed as the default, you can also choose to publish only specific pages. The dialog box also allows you to specify browser-level support. In this case, I’ve selected All Browsers Listed Above so those using either Internet Explorer or Netscape can view the presentation.

For more customization options, you can open the Web Options dialog box (see Figure D).

Figure D

From the General tab, you can select the Add Slide Navigation Controls check box to allow the presenter to click to the next slide easily. From the Pictures tab, you can select which file formats—VML or PNG—you want for your Web presentation.

Checking your work
After you’ve saved your work, you will want to make sure that your presentation works properly and looks the way you want. You can preview your presentation by opening the File menu on Internet Explorer and selecting Open. From the dialog box, you can browse to the folder containing your presentation and open it. Here’s what your first page should look like (see Figure E).

Figure E

You can move through the slides sequentially using the navigation arrows at the bottom of the screen, or you can visit only the ones you want to see by clicking on the titles on the left-hand side of the page. If you want to see only the presentation, you can click on the Full Screen Slide Show icon in the lower right-hand corner of the page. Once engaged, you can navigate through the presentation by pressing the spacebar.

Download our sample Web-enabled presentation
You can download our sample Web-enabled presentation here or by clicking on the Downloads link in the navigation bar to the left of this page. TechRepublic has many useful documents, templates, and applications available for free, so be sure to check out our other offerings.

This download contains a short introductory Word document, the initial PowerPoint presentation, its HTML file, and a folder containing the accompanying Web files. To increase download speed, we have zipped these files together into one file. You will need an unzip utility such as WinZip, PKZIP, or WinAce to expand the zipped file. You will also need Microsoft Word 2000 to view the introductory document, Microsoft PowerPoint to view the presentation, and either Internet Explorer or Netscape to view the Web-enabled presentation.