Friday, September 30, 2011

A Comedy of Errors (or How Not to Convert Keynote to PowerPoint)

So you have a presentation that you've prepared in Keynote.  But it turns out you don't have Keynote anymore, your computer crashed, or you want to send it to someone who doesn't have Keynote.  What then?

This was the dilemma when Frustrated Sue ... er, I mean SFSuzi (that's her SecondLife name ... used to protect the innocent) asked for my help in converting her Keynote presentation to JPEG files so she could use them during her SecondLife book club presentation next week.  

First problem: Suzi's Keynote was an old version and would not save her presentation as JPEG files.  Not a huge problem, since I have PowerPoint and it will open Keynote files and can save as JPEG ... or so we thought.

Second problem: Suzi was in the midst of packing to go out of town tomorrow and would not return until Sunday.  (This really didn't seem like a problem at the time since it would only take a couple of minutes to convert these files, right?)

Time check: We started at around 5:30 p.m.

First, Suzi tried to email it to me but it was too big (34MB).  Not to worry!  We created a file in Dropbox and went from there.  Suzi originally gave me the first 4 slides, and it - quite literally - took me 2 seconds to convert them to JPEGs and save them in Dropbox for her to retrieve.  Then we realized that her presentation had 8 slides.  She then gave me the entire presentation (43MB).

So I open PowerPoint and try to open the file from Dropbox.  Nothin' doin'.  PowerPoint does not recognize .key extensions.  Hmmm ... what the heck?  It worked a minute ago.

Off to the internet I go, looking for a Keynote to PowerPoint converter.  I found one.  It redirected me to some Blackberry program that seemed like a scam.  Dead end.

No worries ... iPad to the rescue!  I have Dropbox on my iPad, so I'll just open it on there, convert it to PowerPoint, get back on my PC and open it in PowerPoint, and then we'll have JPEGs.  Nope.  Turns out I don't have Keynote on my iPad.  I can order it for $9.99, but the iPad version doesn't convert files anyway, so what's the point?

I know!  GoogleDocs!  Surely that can convert ANYTHING!  Wanna bet?  Only option it gave me was to save it back to my PC as a .key file.

I was starting to get worried that I wouldn't have this presentation converted before Suzi left town.  I was absolutely not going to let this file defeat me!  SUZI MUST HAVE HER SLIDES!

I recalled a post that Dick Eastman made about LibreOffice, an open source suite of programs much like Microsoft Office.  Maybe I can download that and it will open for me in there.  Nope.  It works JUST like Microsoft Office.  It doesn't recognize the .key extension either.  I had been meaning to download it anyway, so at least it wasn't a waste.

All this technology and no one has figured out how to get Keynote files to open in PowerPoint?  Seriously?

Then I grew a brain.

I realized that the first batch of slides Suzi sent had already been converted to .ppt (which is why it was so easy to make the JPEGs).  So I sent her an email and asked her to convert the presentation to .ppt and drop it back in the folder.  She sent me back an email and said "I thought that's what I sent!  I'll fix it immediately!"  By this time, I'm actually LOLing.  This is Suzi's first presentation, and I offered to help (being the seasoned professional that I am ... see my post about that here).  But it has turned into the blind leading the blind.  She dropped the converted file into the folder, and 2 seconds later I had converted the slides to JPEGs and dropped them back in the folder.

Time check:  8:39 p.m.  (Yeah, that's 3 hours).

Moral(s) of the story:
1. Never try to convert files while packing for a trip.
2. Simple tasks become brain teasers after a long day of work.
3. Genealogists do it until they get it right!

... and to answer my original question, "what then?"  Basically, you better make friends with someone who has a Mac or you're screwed.


Claudia said...

Don't feel bad, I had to Google Keynote and .ppt file to understand what you were doing. I had never heard of Keynote (found out it was Apple) and although I have Powerpoint installed with my Office program, I have never used it. LOL

Joan said...

That's my girl!! Way to go Jen! #geekgirl :)


Unknown said...

Back from the weekend trip. What Jenny doesn't truly mention is that she saved my sanity with all this. The weekend trip was a good one, I'll try not to schedule things so tightly, and if I don't talk to much, I believe the presentation will work.

Michelle Goodrum said...

Such a familiar technology story! I feel your pain. Even though it is humorous!

Post a Comment