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

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So you want to convert your 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 you can 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 help you out, I've outlined all of your different options below and made notes of the different PowerPoint effects and options to look out for.

To find the solution that works best for you, watch the video below or scroll below to learn more.

[Watch] Convert PowerPoint to PDF

To learn more about compressing your images in PowerPoint (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 you can send to people without them being able to copy and paste your content.

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) Change the name of your file
  4. Change Save As Type from PowerPoint Presentation to PDF
  5. Click Save

Clicking save, PowerPoint converts your PowerPoint to the PDF format, with one slide per page (the default printing option in PowerPoint).

If you want to save space and consolidate multiple slides on a single PDF page (or print your speaker notes too), see other conversion options below.

Why convert PPT to PDF?

There are two main benefits for converting your PowerPoint files to the PDF file format

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.

If you want to protect your presentation but you don't want to use the PDF file format, you can alternatively save your presentation as a Picture Presentation or add a password to the file.

To learn how to turn your slides into a picture presentation, see our guide here.

To learn how 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 will 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 that you can install that will convert your PowerPoint animations into the PDF file format that you can check it out 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.

And what happens is, all of your animated objects are just left where they are on your slide (regardless of what type of appear, disappear or motion path effect you have applied to them).

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 convert to the PDF 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, you will need to sweep through your presentation and move it onto your slide before you convert to the PDF file format.

Slide Transitions and Effects

All slide transitions and timings will be removed from your presentation when converted into the PDF file format.

 The PDF file format does support hyperlinks, so any hyperlinks or Zoom transitions (basically a hyperlink) will work in the digital copy of your PDF.

So if you’ve created hyperlinks to your company website or Zoom transitions to specific slides, those effects will work in the digital copy of your PDF.

3D Models

If you have the latest version of Microsoft Office, the Office 365 Subscription, any 3D models you have added to your presentation will be converted into a static picture of the model (and all animations and effects will be removed).

Videos, Audio and other media files

Similar to the 3D models, any video files or movies in your presentation will be converted into a static picture of the video (whatever you have selected as the poster frame of that movie).

On top of that, any audio files, narrations or other media files will also be removed from your presentation when you convert to the PDF file format.

PowerPoint To PDF with Speaker Notes

If you want to turn the speaker notes from your presentation into a PDF, instead of saving your presentation as a PDF, you’ll instead want to use the Microsoft Print to PDF feature and adjust your print layout.

Steps to print your notes pages as a PDF using the Microsoft Print to PDF printer

To turn your PowerPoint speaker notes into a PDF, 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: if you want to add your logo, or company information to your speaker notes, you’ll need to edit your Notes Master in PowerPoint. For help editing your Notes Master, 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.

If your password protection is set to Modify, although you cannot edit or save the presentation, you will still be able to print the presentation as a PDF using the Microsoft Print to PDF printer.

If your password protection is set to Open, you will not be able to convert your presentation into the PDF file format until you find the password to unlock the file.

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 PowerPoint to a PDF handout with multiple pages per slide.

  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, your slides are turned into PDF handouts with however many slides per page you selected.

If you want to format your handouts with your company logo and contact information (highly recommend) you can do that on the Handout Master.

What’s next?

Updated on May 16, 2019

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