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I need to convert .ppt/.pptx files to .pdf files (or images) through the command line using a 3rd party product.

I'm using this for a Windows 2008 server and I can't use any GUI or website as this needs to be an automated process.

I've tried libreoffice, but it has issues converting smart art.

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1  
What OS are you using? Any particular reason why you need to convert them using the command line? –  Gryphoenix Sep 5 '13 at 15:55
    
@Gryphoenix Windows server 2008. It needs to be an automated process that I can call with code. That's why. –  Houseman Sep 5 '13 at 15:57
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It doesn't look like there is a native functionality to do this conversion via the command line but there are numerous 3rd party products which have this functionality. –  Gryphoenix Sep 5 '13 at 16:01
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Have you considered using a copy of MS Office 2010 and automation (via your code)? Product recommendations are off-topic. –  Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Sep 5 '13 at 16:10
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Check this post out: superuser.com/questions/614992/… –  Josh R Sep 5 '13 at 16:15

4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

No third party product is needed. As you've noted, PowerPoint can export a presentation as a PDF. With the application of a little scripting, you can achieve your result. I've whipped up the VB Script below. Simply create a file with a name ending in ".vbs", paste the code below.

To use:

 CSCRIPT ppt.vbs "input file name" "output file name"

It's important to note:

  • If the name(s) contain spaces, they'll need to be quoted.
  • If you don't specify a path for the output file, PowerPoint will put it in your Documents folder.

I've included links inline for references to the various bits.

Option Explicit

Sub WriteLine ( strLine )
    WScript.Stdout.WriteLine strLine
End Sub

' http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/aa432714(v=office.12).aspx
Const msoFalse = 0   ' False.
Const msoTrue = -1   ' True.

' http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/bb265636(v=office.12).aspx
Const ppFixedFormatIntentScreen = 1 ' Intent is to view exported file on screen.
Const ppFixedFormatIntentPrint = 2  ' Intent is to print exported file.

' http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/ff746754.aspx
Const ppFixedFormatTypeXPS = 1  ' XPS format
Const ppFixedFormatTypePDF = 2  ' PDF format

' http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/ff744564.aspx
Const ppPrintHandoutVerticalFirst = 1   ' Slides are ordered vertically, with the first slide in the upper-left corner and the second slide below it.
Const ppPrintHandoutHorizontalFirst = 2 ' Slides are ordered horizontally, with the first slide in the upper-left corner and the second slide to the right of it.

' http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/ff744185.aspx
Const ppPrintOutputSlides = 1               ' Slides
Const ppPrintOutputTwoSlideHandouts = 2     ' Two Slide Handouts
Const ppPrintOutputThreeSlideHandouts = 3   ' Three Slide Handouts
Const ppPrintOutputSixSlideHandouts = 4     ' Six Slide Handouts
Const ppPrintOutputNotesPages = 5           ' Notes Pages
Const ppPrintOutputOutline = 6              ' Outline
Const ppPrintOutputBuildSlides = 7          ' Build Slides
Const ppPrintOutputFourSlideHandouts = 8    ' Four Slide Handouts
Const ppPrintOutputNineSlideHandouts = 9    ' Nine Slide Handouts
Const ppPrintOutputOneSlideHandouts = 10    ' Single Slide Handouts

' http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/ff745585.aspx
Const ppPrintAll = 1            ' Print all slides in the presentation.
Const ppPrintSelection = 2      ' Print a selection of slides.
Const ppPrintCurrent = 3        ' Print the current slide from the presentation.
Const ppPrintSlideRange = 4     ' Print a range of slides.
Const ppPrintNamedSlideShow = 5 ' Print a named slideshow.

' http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/ff744228.aspx
Const ppShowAll = 1             ' Show all.
Const ppShowNamedSlideShow = 3  ' Show named slideshow.
Const ppShowSlideRange = 2      ' Show slide range.

'
' This is the actual script
'

Dim inputFile
Dim outputFile
Dim objPPT
Dim objPresentation
Dim objPrintOptions
Dim objFso

If WScript.Arguments.Count <> 2 Then
    WriteLine "You need to specify input and output files."
    WScript.Quit
End If

inputFile = WScript.Arguments(0)
outputFile = WScript.Arguments(1)

Set objFso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")

If Not objFso.FileExists( inputFile ) Then
    WriteLine "Unable to find your input file " & inputFile
    WScript.Quit
End If

If objFso.FileExists( outputFile ) Then
    WriteLine "Your output file (' & outputFile & ') already exists!"
    WScript.Quit
End If

WriteLine "Input File:  " & inputFile
WriteLine "Output File: " & outputFile

Set objPPT = CreateObject( "PowerPoint.Application" )

objPPT.Visible = True
objPPT.Presentations.Open inputFile

Set objPresentation = objPPT.ActivePresentation
Set objPrintOptions = objPresentation.PrintOptions

objPrintOptions.Ranges.Add 1,objPresentation.Slides.Count
objPrintOptions.RangeType = ppShowAll

' Reference for this at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/ff746080.aspx
objPresentation.ExportAsFixedFormat outputFile, ppFixedFormatTypePDF, ppFixedFormatIntentScreen, msoTrue, ppPrintHandoutHorizontalFirst, ppPrintOutputSlides, msoFalse, objPrintOptions.Ranges(1), ppPrintAll, "Slideshow Name", False, False, False, False, False

objPresentation.Close
ObjPPT.Quit
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Thank you. I was just about to write something like this, except in C#. The only downside, is that the Powerpoint window pops up for a second or two. I tried setting objPPT.Visible to False, but it errored and told me that it wasn't allowed. –  Houseman Sep 6 '13 at 18:20
    
This process is going to be done on a server. I imagine that it would be pretty resource-consuming to actually open up PowerPoint every single time a file has to be converted. Is there a way to not do that? –  Houseman Sep 6 '13 at 21:39

You can print to a PDF printer driver like Adobe Distiller, or any of the many cheaper or even opensource drivers out there.

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The Adobe Distiller official page says nothing about converting powerpoint files to .pdf's. –  Houseman Sep 5 '13 at 16:14
2  
It is a print driver, anything you can print you can make into a PDF. –  Rod MacPherson Sep 5 '13 at 16:18
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How do you actually run PowerPoint to print to the Adobe Distiller print driver in an automated way? –  sunk818 Sep 5 '13 at 16:39
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use the /pt option from the command line to print and specify which printer. officeone.mvps.org/pptfaq/ppt_cmdline.html Setting document defaults in distiller should get you past the print options GUI pop-up. –  Rod MacPherson Sep 5 '13 at 19:21
1  
@OWiz Since you have PDFCreator already let's focus on that. I don't intend to recommend one driver over another, so let's go with what you have. Try to print something to PDF creator in GUI mode. Once it pops up go into the Options menu, and enable autosave. Save your settings and give it a try from the command line. –  Rod MacPherson Sep 5 '13 at 20:05

Office PowerPoint Viewer 2007 has a command line switch /p which will let you print a PowerPoint file to a default printer.

For example:

Send the presentation to a printer, and print the file.

Example: "c:\program files\microsoft office\office12\PPTVIEW.exe" /P "Presentation.pptx"

This example prints the Presentation.pptx file.

The PDF Printer would likely have to set as your default printer.

Rather than Adobe Distiller which means you have to buy Adobe Acrobat, I recommend you use PDFCreator. It is free and lets you save the output file in an automated way if you tweak the options. This way, you can have a completely command line method to convert PowerPoint files to PDF without having to make additional payments to Microsoft nor Adobe.

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I tried this, but it opens up a GUI dialog box instead of silently following orders. Am I doing it wrong? –  Houseman Sep 5 '13 at 17:02
1  
Maybe /p only brings you up to the print dialog as the default printer is not selected and processed. You can try /pt see if the PowerPoint equivalent works for the PowerPoint Viewer. This would be a workaround, but you could also create an AutoHotKey macro to click on Print for you when you get to the GUI prompt. Other you can buy PowerPoint and use the /pt parameter which I think works better in your case. –  sunk818 Sep 5 '13 at 18:05
    
I tried using the /pt option for PowerPoint, but nothing happens. Probably because it treats the pdfCreator printer as an actual physical printer. It's not printing to a file, which is what I want. –  Houseman Sep 5 '13 at 18:32
    
I know that PowerPoint has the option to simply save it as a .pdf, which is what I want, but I can't do that with the command line –  Houseman Sep 5 '13 at 19:31
1  
You may also want to explore the /M parameter which would run a macro. That macro can call a VBA script which would save your PowerPoint to a PDF using the built-in PowerPoint functions. Here is an example: vbadud.blogspot.com/2012/05/… –  sunk818 Sep 6 '13 at 0:49

Used this to write a script for converting a whole folder, please reply if this can be improved this is my first time writing vbscript!

command:

cscript scriptname.vbs "C:/path/to/folder"

files will be saved in the directory the script is in.

code:

Option Explicit Sub WriteLine ( strLine ) WScript.Stdout.WriteLine strLine End Sub Const msoFalse = 0 ' False. Const msoTrue = -1 ' True. Const ppFixedFormatIntentScreen = 1 ' Intent is to view exported file on screen. Const ppFixedFormatIntentPrint = 2 ' Intent is to print exported file. Const ppFixedFormatTypeXPS = 1 ' XPS format Const ppFixedFormatTypePDF = 2 ' PDF format Const ppPrintHandoutVerticalFirst = 1 ' Slides are ordered vertically, with the first slide in the upper-left corner and the second slide below it. Const ppPrintHandoutHorizontalFirst = 2 ' Slides are ordered horizontally, with the first slide in the upper-left corner and the second slide to the right of it. Const ppPrintOutputSlides = 1 ' Slides Const ppPrintOutputTwoSlideHandouts = 2 ' Two Slide Handouts Const ppPrintOutputThreeSlideHandouts = 3 ' Three Slide Handouts Const ppPrintOutputSixSlideHandouts = 4 ' Six Slide Handouts Const ppPrintOutputNotesPages = 5 ' Notes Pages Const ppPrintOutputOutline = 6 ' Outline Const ppPrintOutputBuildSlides = 7 ' Build Slides Const ppPrintOutputFourSlideHandouts = 8 ' Four Slide Handouts Const ppPrintOutputNineSlideHandouts = 9 ' Nine Slide Handouts Const ppPrintOutputOneSlideHandouts = 10 ' Single Slide Handouts Const ppPrintAll = 1 ' Print all slides in the presentation. Const ppPrintSelection = 2 ' Print a selection of slides. Const ppPrintCurrent = 3 ' Print the current slide from the presentation. Const ppPrintSlideRange = 4 ' Print a range of slides. Const ppPrintNamedSlideShow = 5 ' Print a named slideshow. Const ppShowAll = 1 ' Show all. Const ppShowNamedSlideShow = 3 ' Show named slideshow. Const ppShowSlideRange = 2 ' Show slide range. ' ' This is the actual script ' Dim inputDirectory Dim inputFolder Dim inFiles Dim outputFolder Dim inputFile Dim outputFile Dim curFile Dim objPPT Dim objPresentation Dim objPrintOptions Dim objFso Dim curDir If WScript.Arguments.Count 1 Then WriteLine "You need to specify input files." WScript.Quit End If Set objFso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject") curDir = objFso.GetAbsolutePathName(".") Set inputFolder = objFSO.GetFolder(WScript.Arguments.Item(0)) Set outputFolder = objFSO.GetFolder(WScript.Arguments.Item(0)) Set inFiles = inputFolder.Files Set objPPT = CreateObject( "PowerPoint.Application" ) For Each curFile in inFiles Set inputFile = curFile If Not objFso.FileExists( inputFile ) Then WriteLine "Unable to find your input file " & inputFile WScript.Quit End If objPPT.Visible = TRUE objPPT.Presentations.Open inputFile Set objPresentation = objPPT.ActivePresentation Set objPrintOptions = objPresentation.PrintOptions objPrintOptions.Ranges.Add 1,objPresentation.Slides.Count objPrintOptions.RangeType = ppShowAll objPresentation.ExportAsFixedFormat curDir & curFile.Name & ".pdf", ppFixedFormatTypePDF, ppFixedFormatIntentScreen, msoTrue, ppPrintHandoutHorizontalFirst, ppPrintOutputSlides, msoFalse, objPrintOptions.Ranges(1), ppPrintAll, "Slideshow Name", False, False, False, False, False objPresentation.Close Next ObjPPT.Quit
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