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I want to convert PowerPoint (.ppt) and Excel (.xls) files to a plain text format (.txt) from the command line on a server running Linux. The server does not have xorg or similar libraries installed, and installing them is not an option.

I have tried 'catppt' from catdoc, but it did not work for me.

~$ catppt presentacion_16x9.ppt 
Violación de segmento

(The message means "Segmentation fault")

What software should I use for this conversion?

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You are probably going to need to use XSLT to convert the files to anything you need. See this blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ericwhite/archive/2008/10/20/eric-white-s-blog-s-table-of-contents.aspx for lots of details.

In short, you would write an XSLT that can handle the fields that you want out of the PPT/XLS files and print them in the format you want to a TXT file. It's a bit to learn, but that is the only way I know how to do it.

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