5 Practical suggestions on how to choose a PowerPoint-to-Flash converter
These days, people know why they need to convert PowerPoint presentations into Flash files. MasternewMedia lists the 12 main advantages of converting a PowerPoint presentation to Flash.
You can find reviews; there are many articles about PowerPoint to Flash software: their features, functionality and quality. We’d be glad to share our experience on how to choose a PowerPoint to Flash Converter.
You should pay attention to the following key points when choosing a PowerPoint to Flash tool:
- Quality of generated Flash content
- Support of animations and effects
- File size and structure of output (solid file or a set of files)
- Сonversion speed
1) Above and beyond all other criteria, or so we suggest, is Conversion Quality. What exactly is "Conversion Quality"? PowerPoint-to-Flash conversion is a complicated process. A converter should carefully transfer slide layouts, styles and all shapes to a Flash movie while keeping the following parameters:
- Shape geometry
- Text quality
- Text formatting
- Lists & bullets
Let’s describe in brief how to examine the key quality parameters when you are evaluating a PowerPoint converter.
Shape geometry and positioning. All the shapes in your presentation should look the same in the Flash movie and keep their positional relationship in every slide. The main issue that crops up for this parameter is the distorted position of shapes in the final output. If, for example, you have an array pointing to a triangular center, then in the converted Flash presentation the array must point to the same place.
Text quality and formatting. All texts and their formatting are set in PowerPoint and the Flash movie should also have the same fonts, height and other formatting. The main point to pay attention to is if the converter embeds all of the fonts into the converted Flash presentation. If not, the Flash movie will end up incorrectly displaying all your texts.
Lists and bullets. When you create a PowerPoint presentation you can use picture-style bullets; this is very specific to PowerPoint. A converter should carefully retain the original data structure, otherwise your Flash presentation will sprawl and the presentation will become distorted and its quality will decrease greatly.
Slide transitions and animations effects. PowerPoint’s animation features have a significant impact on your presentation. You can keep your viewers’ visual focus on important points of your presentation while describing it orally. A PowerPoint-to-Flash converter must preserve all slide transitions and animation effects the same way as you see them in PowerPoint. And remember, if a converter tries to emulate an effect through alternate means, or replace one animation effect with another, then this is a cause for concern.
Often, problems with the quality of generated Flash content are connected with how deeply and thoroughly a converter parses a PowerPoint presentation.
Many tools make the conversion process very simple: they simply save every shape or even a whole slide as a raster image. Besides the quality loss, such an approach doesn’t take advantage of all the capabilities of the Flash format.
What’s the big deal about vector and raster graphics?
Raster graphics cannot be scaled to a higher resolution without loss of apparent quality. This is in contrast to vector graphics, which easily scale to the quality (i.e. screen size, pixel resolution) of the device on which they are rendered. What does it mean for you? We recommend that you verify that any software you choose converts your work to Flash with high quality and high fidelity.
2) The second key point is Speed & Output file size. Take the following example: a sample presentation was converted in 60 seconds with a run-of-the-mill Flash converter. The fastest tool did it in 15 seconds. When you work with PowerPoint presentations every day, you can see that those seconds add up very quickly, and therefore speed can be of great importance.
A high-quality PowerPoint-to-Flash converter will take full advantage of all the capabilities of Flash technology. Alongside quality, converters should also generate compact flash files.
The output file size from the aforementioned sample presentation is 600 Kb on average. The record-holding Flash Converter made the sample presentation only 292 Kb. Together with speed, file size can be a crucial difference.
Conversion speed is an implicit quality indicator. If all other parameters are at a high level, then most likely you have an excellent PowerPoint-to-Flash converter at your disposal.
3) What about PowerPoint Animations? We are pretty sure you won’t be happy if you lose them after conversion. To have a perfectly-converted Flash presentation, you need to have software with total support for all PPT animations.
What you should keep an eye on is to what extent an Animation effect in Flash looks the same as in your PowerPoint presentation.
All PowerPoint animation effects are unique, and this is a strange case: some converters state that there are 170+ effects, but in fact it’s only about 35; all the other animations are emulated by some other effect from those 35.
Let’s say you want to use a rather unique Animation effect like "Comb"; many Flash Converters do not support these complex animations.
Also, we highly recommend that you pay attention to Transition effects. The issue can be the same as with Animation effects, though Transition effects can be much more important than Animation effects. Your PowerPoint-to-Flash converter should work with all effects precisely and with high efficiency.
4) What people don’t notice sometimes is the conversion result. We’re talking now about One solid flash file vs. a set of flash files. What’s the reasoning behind making the distinction? When you convert a single PowerPoint Presentation, you can expect only one Flash file. What a surprise it’ll be when you find .html, images and Flash files in the output folder.
It’s just great when a solid, single Flash file embeds all external resources (audio/video/images) used in your presentation.
When you want to get a set of separate Flash files, then this also should be easily performed by a PPT-to-Flash tool - every single slide should correspond to a separate Flash file.
5) The last, but certainly not the least comparison point is the Price. The average price range for a PPT-to-Flash converter is $59 to $800. This is not cheap; but actually, it is not so expensive in comparison to the cost of Flash development by professional programmers. All the effective and high-quality software starts from $200; this is the price we recommend that you start from when looking for a PowerPoint-to-Flash conversion tool.
All of the above-mentioned comparison points can generally be decisive key points when you’re looking for a PPT to SWF converter. If you feel that this article helped you, please let us know - we’ll highly appreciate it. If you think that we’re wrong about some software and comparison points, please let us know and we’ll also discuss that matter.
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