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How to Convert PowerPoint to PDF (Step-by-Step)

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So you want to learn how to convert PowerPoint to PDF...

Thankfully, there is no need for any 3rd party software, websites or add-ins.

As long as you have a version of Microsoft Office, there are 3 different ways to convert PPT to PDF. You'll just want to make sure you are aware of what types of PowerPoint content you will lose in the conversion process.

In this post, you'll learn how to covert your slides into the PDF file format as:

  1. Full page slides
  2. Handouts (with comments, notes and/or multiple pages per slide)
  3. An editable Word document (then convert Word to PDF)

To find the solution that works best for you, scroll below or click play below.

[Watch] Convert PowerPoint to PDF

To learn more about compressing PowerPoint images (and what the different resolution options mean), see our how to article here

PowerPoint to PDF as full page slides

The fastest (and simplest) way to convert your .ppt or .pptx files into the .pdf format, is through the Save As Dialog box.

This turns your PowerPoint slides into full page PDF slides that people cannot edit.

Steps to save a PowerPoint as a PDF using the Save As Dialog box, F12 on your keyboard

To save your PowerPoint as a PDF, simply:

  1. Hit F12 for Save As (or File Tab, Save As)
  2. Select a location to save your PDF
  3. (Optional) Rename your file
  4. Change Save As Type from PowerPoint Presentation to PDF
  5. Click Save

Clicking save, PowerPoint converts your slides into the PDF file format, with one slide per page (the default option).

To save space by consolidating multiple slides on a single PDF page (or print your speaker notes), see other conversion options below.

Why convert PPT to PDF?

There are two benefits for converting PowerPoint to PDF:

Benefit #1: It reduces your file size by as much as one third, making it easier to share and email your file with your colleagues, bosses and clients.

Benefit #2: It locks down your PowerPoint presentation and protects your content. That way someone can't just copy and paste your content into their presentation.

To protect your presentation outside of the PDF file format option, you can also save your presentation as a Picture Presentation or password protect your presentation.

Want to turn your slides into a picture presentation? See our guide here.

Want to password protect PowerPoint? See our guide here.

Because the PDF file format is meant for printing (not presenting graphics), there are a number of PowerPoint features you lose in the conversion process.

PowerPoint Animations to PDF (New Workaround)

So there is a NEW workaround you can use to get your animations into the PDF file format using some VBA code.

On his blog, Neil Mitchell has written a macro you can install to convert your PowerPoint animations into the PDF file format. See details on Neil's blog here.

On the flip side, if you don't install that macro, all of your PowerPoint animations will be removed when you convert PowerPoint to PDF.

This means that all your animated objects will be left where they are on your slide. It doesn't matter what type of animation you had applied to them either (appear, disappear or motion path effect).

For example, if you have a list of bullet points with the Appear Animation effect applied to them, your bullets will just appear (as they are) without the animations applied to them.

Thankfully, you will not lose your bullet points.

Content that is off your slide space will not converted to the new file format

Off Slide Content 

All off slide content including speaker notes, comments, formatting guides or graphics outside of your slide space will be removed.

If you have off slide content that you don't want removed, make sure to sweep through your presentation and move it onto your slide before you convert PPT to PDF.

Slide Transitions and Effects

All slide transitions and timings are removed in the PDF file format.

If you need to keep your transitions and other other effects, you will want to use a different method for protecting your presentation.

The PDF file format does support hyperlinks. That means that any hyperlinks or Zoom transitions inside your presentation will work in the digital copy of your PDF.

To learn all about hyperlinking in PowerPoint (including zoom transition), see our guide here.

3D Models

If you have the a Microsoft 365 Subscription, any 3D models will automatically be converted into a static pictures.

As a sie note, this is a great way to reduce your PowerPoint file size. Simply swap out any 3D models with static photos. You can learn all about compressing your PPT files here.

Videos, Audio and other media files

All media files in your presentation will be converted into static pictures. The static image will either be the first frame of your video or the the poster frame you set for your video.

On top of that, any audio files, narrations and other media files will be removed from your presentation. The PDF file format is not a media rich format.

PowerPoint To PDF with Speaker Notes

To turn your speaker notes into the PDF file format you’ll want to use the Microsoft Print to PDF feature and adjust your print layout.

Steps to print your speaker notes pages as a PDF

To turn your speaker notes into the PDF file format, simply:

  1. Hit Ctrl + P to print (or File tab, Print)
  2. Select the Microsoft Print to PDF printer
  3. Change your Print Layout to the Notes Page
  4. Click Print
  5. Select a location on your computer to print the PDF
  6. Name your file
  7. Click Save
Select a location on your computer that you want to print your PDF file to and click save

Clicking okay, your slides and speaker notes are saved to your computer in the PDF file format.

Note: To add your company information (logos, etc.) to your speaker notes, simply add them in the Notes Master view of your presentation. See our article here.

Converting a Password Protected PowerPoint into a PDF

There are two types of password protections that can be applied to a PowerPoint presentation.

  1. Password to Open
  2. Password to Modify.

Open means you that you need a password to open the file. So if you lose your password you will not be able to view the presentation (at all).

Modify means that you cannot edit or save the presentation. You will still be able to open and view the presentation though.

To learn more about these password options, see our password guide here.

PowerPoint to PDF multiple slides per page

Another option to save space (and paper) is to convert your presentation into PDF handouts, with multiple slides per page.

Steps to convert multiple PowerPoint slides per page into the PDF file format using the print dialog box

To convert your PowerPoint presentation into a PDF with with multiple pages per slide, simply:

  1. Hit Ctrl + P to Print (or File tab, Print)
  2. Select the Microsoft Print to PDF printer
  3. Select which Handout Style you prefer
  4. Click Print
  5. Select a file location on your computer
  6. Name your file
  7. Click Save
Locate a place on your computer using the Save Print Output As dialog box to print your PDF to

Clicking Save, Microsoft Converts your PowerPoint to PDF handouts with multiple slides per page.

To format your handouts with your company logo and contact information, you will want to first add that information in the Handout Master view of your deck. View Tab, Handout Master.

Conclusion

Turning your PowerPoint presentations into the PDF file format is EXTREMELY easy.

And these same techniques you learned here work with all of your Microsoft Office Documents (Word, Excel, Outlook emails, etc.)

To learn more about our free PowerPoint training courses and other helpful presentation resources, visit us here.

What’s next?

Updated on July 15, 2019

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