Converting PowerPoint, Impress, and Keynote presentations for display in Second Life and OpenSim

Many instructors will produce PowerPoint to support their real-world lectures, and may want to use those same slides in Second Life or OpenSim. This tutorial will show you how you can display your PowerPoint presentations in-world.  The tutorial will also include additional notes on how to convert and display Apple Keynote presentations, OpenOffice.org Impress and LibreOffice OpenDocument Presentations.

Unfortunately you cannot import your PowerPoint presentations directly into Second Life.  The good news, however, is that there are two effective methods for converting your slides into formats that will display on presentation screens in-world.  I’ll explain each of the methods in turn, and conclude by looking at the pros and cons of each method.

Contents

  1. Converting PowerPoint presentations to uploadable graphics (Second Life / OpenSim ‘textures’)
  2. Converting OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice presentations for Second Life / OpenSim and the web
  3. Converting Apple Keynote presentations to uploadable graphics for Second Life / OpenSim (‘textures’)
  4. Uploading your presentation to Second Life or OpenSim
  5. Publishing a web version of your slides in Slideshare
  6. Displaying slides in-world as Second Life Shared Media
  7. Textures vs. SLSM: pros and cons

1. Converting PowerPoint presentations to uploadable graphics (‘textures’)

This section assumes that you have created your presentation in Microsoft PowerPoint.

With your PowerPoint presentation open on your desktop, go to the File menu and select Save As.  This will open the Save As dialog.  By default the File name field will show the same name as the title of your PowerPoint presentation; you may change this if you wish.  From the Save as type menu select JPEG File Interchange Format, and then click Save.  See illustration below:

You will now be presented with a dialog asking “Do you want to export every slide in the presentation or only the current slide?”  Click Every slide: this will create a new folder into which sequentially numbered JPEG images of your slides will be saved.

You can now upload your slides to Second Life or OpenSim as textures: proceed to section 4 below.

2. Converting OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice presentations for Second Life and the web

This section assumes that you have created your presentation in either OpenOffice.org or in LibreOffice.

With your ODP document open on your desktop, go to the File menu and select Export.  Create a new folder in the file selection dialog window in which to save your presentation (since neither OpenOffice.org nor LibreOffice will create it for you) and from the File type pop-up menu select HTML Document.  Now click Save: the complete web version of your slides, with page title, graphics, and notes, will be saved to your folder.

Ensure that your graphic files (i.e. the slides you created) are named sequentially in the order in which you wish them to be presented., e.g. alphabetically, numerically, or in a format such as ‘Slide 1’, ‘Slide 2’, etc.

You can now upload your slides to Second Life or OpenSim as textures: proceed to section 4 below.

3. Converting Apple Keynote presentations for Second Life and the web

This section assumes that you have created your presentation in Apple Keynote.

Create a new named folder on your hard drive for your slides (since Keynote will not create it for you).  Then, with your Keynote presentation open on your desktop, go to the File menu and select Export.  This will open a drop-down dialog from the icon bar.  Click the Images button, set your preferences (JPEG, medium quality, is a good default), and click Next:

In the next window you will be asked where you wish to save your slides.  Documents is the default, so click the small blue button (with downward triangle) to the right of the pull-down menu and navigate to the folder you created.  (If you forgot to create a folder earlier, you have the option at this stage to create a new folder for your slides.)

You can now upload your slides to Second Life or OpenSim as textures: proceed to section 4 below.

4. Uploading your presentation to Second Life or OpenSim

Now launch your Second Life viewer and from the Build menu in Second Life Viewer 2 or from the File menu in Phoenix, and select Upload > Bulk (L$10 per file). Navigate to the folder containing the graphics files, select the images, and upload: they will be saved to your inventory in the Textures folder. Once they have all been uploaded to your inventory, you may wish to create a sub-folder to Textures and group the slides there, giving the folder a memorable name so that you’ll easily relocate your files.

To show your slides you’ll need to drop them into a presentation device. Many free such devices may be obtained in-world or from the Second Life Marketplace. I make several such presenters available on the LearningWorks sim: please make your way to ground floor of the Resource Centre on LearningWorks and take a presentation screen. Guidance on how to load and user presenters is given in another tutorial on this site.

Tip: Since inventories can quickly become cluttered with new items, I always find it useful to group related items in memorably named sub-folders. To do so, right-click on the parent folder and select New Folder, give the untitled folder a name, and then drag items from your inventory into the new folder.

5. Copying your presentation to the web

You may also wish to publish a copy of your slides to the web.  (You’ll better understand why this is useful when we move on, in section 4 below, to a different–and cheaper–method of displaying your presentation in-world.)

If you’ve created your presentation in either OpenOffice or LibreOffice, you’ll already have created an HTML version of your slides which you can now simply upload to your web server.

Alternatively, you can upload your presentation to Google Docs or to Slideshare, a free online service for presentations, documents, and videos.  Create a Google Docs or a Slideshare account at:

http://docs.google.com
http://www.slideshare.net

and upload your presentation, which can then either be embedded in your web site or displayed in-world using the Second Life Shared Media option (see 4, below).  Here’s an example of an embedded Slideshare presentation:

6. Displaying slides in-world as Second Life Shared Media

The alternative method to conversion and texture upload is to use Second Life Shared Media (SLSM) to display your web-based presentation to the face of a single prim.  SLSM was introduced with Viewer 2 and is not usable with first-generation viewers (Phoenix, Imprudence, Hippo, etc); a good alternative to Viewer 2 is Firestorm.  SLSM is also not, at this present time, implemented in OpenSim.

To display your presentation in-world, first create a box and resize it to the dimensions of your presentation, typically a 4:3 aspect ratio.  For example: width 4 metres, height 3 metres, depth 0.1 metres.  See the sample screenshot, below, using Google Docs:

7. Textures vs. SLSM: the pros and cons

Using textures

Advantages

An arguable advantage of using textures is that you can offer complete slide sets in-world to your students, either as boxes of raw textures or as complete slide shows together with presentation screen.

A further advantage lies in the fact that it ensures viewability of presentations to the many users who, at the present time, still prefer the largely first-generation Phoenix viewer to Viewer 2, and thus for whom SLSM is not viewable.

Disadvantages

For Second Life users the biggest downside to converting slides to graphics and uploading as textures is the cost.  Although L$10 may not seem much to pay for an upload (the exchange rate fluctuates between around L$250 to L$260 to the US dollar), the cost mounts if you are regularly uploading a large number of slides.  OpenSim users, on the other hand, may upload for free.

Using SLSM

Advantages

The primary advantage for the instructor is that, assuming students are using Viewer 2, a single copy of the presentation, uploaded either to Google Docs or to Slideshare, may be used both in-world and as a web-based resource.

Disadvantages

The instructor may not be able to guarantee that all students are using a Viewer 2-capable viewer.  Students using Phoenix, Imprudence, or any other first-generation viewer will not be able to view the presentation in-world.

Creating a prim with a SLSM-enabled face is a slightly longer, and technically more challenging, business than simply dropping your slides into a presenter screen.

Finally, in order to rez your prim in the first place you will need to have permissions to build / rez on the parcel in which you are giving your class.

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