Tuesday 7 August 2007

Cobbling it Together, or How To Make a Slideshow from a Repository

Being a Computer Scientist, I tend to think of ways of achieving automated solutions to problems, but sometimes it just ain't the best way. When I began to think about ways of creating slideshows from PowerPoints stored in the repository (described a couple of entries ago), I imagined that I would get someone to write me a nice little program. But I realised that it's just as quick for me to do myself using the repository pages and Adobe Acrobat.

(a) identify all the relevant eprints with Search or Browse.
(b) drag each interesting Powerpoint link into a notebook (anything that will allow you to drag and drop a link - I used Google Notes)
(c) make sure that the page of notes containing links to powerpoint files appears somewhere on the web (Google Notes creates a URL for your shared entries).
(d) Open Adobe Acrobat
(e) From the File Menu, choose "Create PDF from Web Page..."
(f) Type in the URL of the notes page
(g) Set the depth of the crawl to 2
(h) Click on the "Create" button
After a few minutes, Acrobat will have pulled in each of the PDF files into one long PDF file. It will also have created pages for each of the HTML links it followed.
(i) Use Document/Delete Pages... to get rid of the unwanted HTML pages.
(j) Set the Document's Initial View to "Full Screen" in the File/Properties... menu
(k) Set the Full Screen options to "Loop after last page" and "Advance every 5 seconds" in the Acrobat Preferences.

It involves a bit of messing around, but it is relatively quick while giving you lots of control. In a perfect world, EPrints would provide an "Export to PDF Slideshow plugin" I suppose!

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