Output Options Rundown

This article will help you choose the right format to convert your PowerPoint presentation or course into web format.

The primary functionality at the base of all iSpring authoring tools is publishing your project. When you click on the Publish button of the iSpring toolbar in PowerPoint, the Publish Presentation window will appear.

iSpring Publish dialog > General tab > Output Options:
Output Optinos on the Publish Presentation window

iSpring’s advanced conversion technology eliminates any visual difference between Flash and HTML5 versions of the presentation. iSpring HTML5 presentations appear the same as Flash in all popular browsers:

  • Internet Explorer (9th and newer)

  • Google Chrome

  • Mozilla Firefox

There are, however, some functional differences between these two formats. Let’s dig a little deeper.

Mobile (HTML5)

We recommend that you use this option for everyday use.

HTML5 is the latest technology for playing rich media content on mobile devices and modern desktop browsers. In other words, your presentation is converted to a webpage that preserves the behavior of the initial presentation.

It’s harder to share, because it can’t be saved as a single file. You need to have FTP hosting or an iSpring Cloud account.

This options allow you to use iSpring Viewer, which is a special mobile app for offline viewing of HTML5 presentations right on iPad or Android tablets. Doesn’t work for quizzes.


  • Cross-platform support.

  • Section 508 support. Screen readers (e.g., Jaws) will read slide contents and player elements.

  • Google robot easily indexes all HTML5 slide content.

  • Open technology, specifications are easily accessed by developers.

  • Super-optimized output size (in comparison with Combined Mode, reviewed below).

  • No issues with security settings that might block hyperlinks.


  • Not compatible with older browsers (IE8, IE7).

  • Harder to share. Thanks to iSpring Cloud free sharing service, it’s not a big deal anymore.

  • Provides less security than a single encrypted .swf file. However, you can apply domain protection for your HTML5 presentation as well.

  • May be tiny differences in fonts and placement in different browsers (doesn’t happen with Flash, which is rendered with the same plugin in all browsers).

If you run an HTML5 presentation on IE7 or IE8, you will see the following message:

The HTML5 content is not supported by the web browser you're currently using

Advanced HTML5 option

When you select a format that implies HTML5 output on the General tab (Mobile / Combined), an extra setting in the Advanced tab will be revealed. It’s called Extended audio and video compatibility.

If you check that option, all audio and video in the presentation will be saved into two additional web formats (.ogg and .webm) for Firefox and Opera browsers.

  Primary Secondary (compatibility)
Audio format .mp3 .ogg
Video format .mp4 (H.264 codec) .webm
Browser IE9, Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera (new) Firefox, Opera

HTML5 element and media codec support is constantly changing with all browsers, and today most web browsers already support .mp3 and .mp4 file formats for audio and video.

We recommend that you check this option only in cases when you expect some of your users are using older versions of Opera. According to the website w3schools.com, Opera supports .mp4 video starting from version 25.

Read more articles on this topic:





Provided that media sometimes takes up the lion’s share of the output presentation’s space on a HDD, selecting this option will increase the output size up to two times.

Internet Explorer 8 doesn't support HTML5

Earlier versions of the standard Windows web browser Internet Explorer aka IE 6/7/8 don't support HTML5.

Look at this lady with a happy face in early 2009. Of course, Internet Explorer 8 released on this year couldn’t know anything about HTML5, because the standard has not been specified. Flash was the only option.

However, already in 2012, world consortium came up with the specification on HTML5.

W3 Schools say: A living standard is never fully complete, but always updated and improved. New features can be added, but old functionality can not be removed.


Literally, Internet Explorer 8 is the only reason why you still need to publish to Flash.

Desktop (Flash)

Flash (.swf) is a good format for playback on desktop PCs and older browsers, like Internet Explorer 8. It gives a slightly better visual performance on computers than HTML5. Also, it has a sub-option All in one Flash file which publishes the entire presentation to a single .swf file. This feature is a big differentiator from the main competitive products that can’t save everything in a single Flash file.

Unfortunately, Flash isn’t as popular as it used to be. Read the corresponding article Flash Fades to Black to learn more about trends in the IT world.

We recommend this option for content authors who develop courses that will be taken on desktops only.


  • All in one Flash file. It’s always easier to share a single file than a folder.

  • Compatibility with older browsers (IE8, IE7).

  • Slightly better performance on computers.

  • Better security.


  • No mobile support.

  • No Section 508 support, making Flash content incompatible with screen readers like Jaws.

  • It’s harder for Google robots to extract text from an .swf file for indexing.

  • The Flash plugin may become suddenly blocked due to security alerts and vulnerabilities.

  • Global security settings for Flash Player blocks external connections when an .swf file is saved and launched from a local computer.

  • Proprietary technology. Developers can’t see specifications for all Flash properties.

Adobe Flash blocks all hyperlinks in your presentation

Flash was developed primarily for Internet use. Therefore, it has strict security settings for offline use and blocks all external interactions (e.g., hyperlinks, sending quiz results via email, JavaScript calls to the Slide API of the iSpring presentation). Adjust global security settings by adding trusted folders on your HDD if want to run .swf files on your local computer or upload them online. May not work with Chrome.

Add c:\ drive to trusted locations in Flash Player settings

How to convert to one Flash file

Output folder structure:

Although the output folder contains more than one .swf file, it functions as a standalone object. You can check it if you copy the .swf file to another folder and launch it. Index and data folder files are auxiliary.

Right-click on an .swf file and open it with your web browser if this file type is still not associated with it.

Note: Web objects will not play, because the information about them is stored in the isplayer.js. We don’t recommend publishing anything more serious than a simple presentation with up to 50 slides with a few audio or video pieces.

Advanced Flash options

These options are not used in the vast majority of tasks. You can leave them at their default values if you are not developing a part of your Flash application in iSpring, or if you haven’t run into troubles trying to convert a big presentation into a single Flash file.

When you select a format that implies Flash output on the General tab (Desktop / Combined / Executable), some of the Advanced settings may be altered. These formats are: Desktop (Flash), Combined (Flash + HTML5), and Executable (EXE).

Detach Media Content will be active if you select Desktop (Flash) and uncheck the option All in one Flash file located on the General tab.

Detach options will help you to store video, audio and embedded Flash movies outside the .swf presentation file (in the data folder). This separation will help you resolve some problems, for example, those associated with converting a big PowerPoint presentation (more than 500 MB). Technically, it won’t make any difference to the end user (who sees the presentation).

Flash Movie Control allows you to select the version of the Flash player and set a custom frame rate. These options are for developers only, for cases when an iSpring .swf needs to match the Flash Player version of the parent .swf Flash Movie. Frame rate also won’t make much difference other than fitting it to the frame rate of the parent Flash Movie.

Also, you can disable some of the Flash menu items that appear on right-click on the .swf presentation.

Preloader is the only option that will affect the visual appearance of the web presentation by showing the standard Flower preloader or the loading bar with percentage.

Combined (HTML5 + Flash)

It is a unique technology developed by iSpring.

The combined format provides a good balance of compatibility on all devices. It converts the PowerPoint presentation into both HTML5 and Flash formats. When you run an index.html file, the script will automatically detect the device and browser version that is used for viewing and will show an appropriate version of the presentation.

The logic of this script can be described here:

  1. HTML5 is primary. It will be used in most cases if you use a computer with a modern browser that support HTML5 or any mobile device.

  2. Flash content has a secondary priority and will only be shown if you use an older version of the web browser that doesn’t support HTML5.

Note: In iSpring 7th version the primary option was Flash.


  • Gives the best compatibility for all possible platforms.


  • Conversion time. It takes twice as long to convert a single presentation into two different formats than to any single format.

  • Output size. The space taken up by your Combined presentation will be twice as much as for HTML5 or Flash alone.

  • If you have an older web browser, Flash security barriers will be applied. Hyperlinks and other external interactions won’t work.

Executable (EXE)

This option will publish your presentation to Flash (.swf) format as well, and will add an executable Flash Player shell.

EXE creates a single executable program file in Flash format that opens in a separate window without needing a browser. EXE is only for Windows platforms, and may be blocked by some firewalls and anti-malware programs.


  • Launches in a standalone window on a PC.

  • Will run on a computer even without Adobe Flash Player installed (the few that exist in the world).


  • Works on Windows PC only. No Mac or Linux support, and of course no mobile device support.

  • Usually it’s impossible to send via the Internet because of anti-malware tools that block .exe by default.

Use iSpring Viewer

This option will create some additional files so when you put this presentation on a web-hosting and open it using a mobile device, it will propose to use free mobile app where you can save this presentation for offline viewing. Read more.

Zip Output

This option will package all files of the output presentation into a single .zip file for convenient transport. Remember, before you open it or put on a web-hosting, you must unzip this file so that a browser may access the folder structure and open all linked files. Use this option when you publish for LMS or planning to send it via email.