Giving your students your PowerPoint (PPT) presentations is a great way to keep them engaged during the lecture, assist them in note taking and help them study and putting them in OAKS gives your students easy access.  PowerPoint presentations however, can be large making them difficult for students to download, cumbersome for mobile devices and drive space hogs on OAKS.  Here are a few tips to help you decrease your file size footprint and make life easier on your students.

Convert your PowerPoints into PDFs

This method is wonderful for presentations that do NOT include embedded animations, audio or video files.  If you are on a Mac or are on a Windows machine using PowerPoint 2007 or 2010 you can easily convert your PPTs to a PDF.  Your best option is to save the presentation in Handout mode with three slides to a page.  This allows the students to take notes during the lecture and have a great study guide later on.  If, however, your presentation primarily consists of images then you may want to save it as a PDF with full slide view.  TIP:  Converting a PPT to a PDF will not carry over any live web links. I recommend that you type out the web address (URL) in the presentation so that when it is converted the students can see the entire address.

Office 2007 and 2010 (Windows)

    • In PowerPoint, choose to save as PDF/XPS (note in 2007 you may have to download the PDF add-in (see full instructions for more information).
    • In the next window be sure to optimize for the “Minimum size.”
    • Click “Options” then next to Publish Options choose either “Slides” for full slides or “Handouts” with Slides per Page set to “3”
    • Now click OK to save the PDF to your computer

Full instructions for saving PPTs as PDFs can be found online at (2007) and at (2010)


Office 2008 and 2011 (Mac)

    • In PowerPoint, choose File > Print.
    • In the window choose either “Slides” or “Handouts” next to Print What.
    • In the lower left corner choose PDF > Save as PDF or just Save as PDF.
    • Select the location on your computer to save the file.

Full instructions for saving PPTs as PDFs can be found online at for Mac.

Shrinking a PDF file size

Occasionally when you create a PDF it can still be a very large file size, usually because it is graphics heavy.  If you are lucky enough to have the full version of Adobe Acrobat (not just Acrobat Reader) then you can optimize or shrink this file size even further.

  • Open the large PDF in Adobe Acrobat Standard or Adobe Acrobat Professional.
  • From the Advanced menu choose PDF Optimizer
  • Choose Images from the PDF Optimizer window and change all of your images to 75 pixels (it normally is set to 150 pixels).  This is called Downsampling.
  • Click Save and save the file under a different name.  That way if you aren’t happy with the new output you can still revert back to your original PDF file.

Using these techniques should allow you to give your students access to your presentations in an way that is easy for them to download and using a minimal amount of hard drive space on OAKS.


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