Instant Web Presentations

Instant Web Presentations

Here's something you are going to find incredibly useful. Impress lets you export your existing presentation to HTML format. The beauty of this is that you can take your presentation and make it available to anyone with a Web browser. Best of all, the export functionality takes care of all the details associated with creating a Web site, including the handling of links and forward and back buttons.

To create an instant Web presentation in OpenOffice, here is what you do. Make sure your current Impress presentation is open and that your work is saved. Click File on the menu bar and select Export. The Export dialog will appear. Because all the generated pages will appear in the directory you choose, it might make sense, before entering a filename, to create an empty directory into which to save your files. That filename, by the way, is the HTML title page, normally called index.html. If you would like a different name, choose it here, minus the .html extension (e.g., Linux_Intro), and click Export. A new window will appear. This is the HTML Export dialog (Figure).

The HTML Export dialog on first run.

If this is your first HTML export, you only have one option on the first screen, and that is to create a new design. Click Next and you'll be presented with a few additional choices (Figure).

It is time to choose the format of your HTML presentation.

You are given the choice of several publication types. The default choice (and probably a very good one) is Standard HTML format. You can also decide to create an HTML publication with frames if you prefer. If you want to be totally in control of what your audience sees, you can also elect to create an automatic slideshow (using HTML refresh times of whatever length you choose) or a WebCast. When you have made your choice, click Next.

On the next window (Figure), you must decide the resolution of the images created for your Web publication. The default is to use JPG images at 75% compression. You can elect to set this all the way up to 100% for the best quality possible, but be aware that the higher the quality, the larger the images and the slower the download time. If this presentation is meant to be viewed on your personal office network, it probably doesn't matter.

Select your image quality and monitor resolution.

You are also asked to choose the Monitor Resolution. This is an excellent question that is probably worth more than a few seconds of configuration. At some point in your history of surfing, you must have come across a Web site where the Web page is larger than your browser window. To view the page and read the text, you needed to move your horizontal slide bar back and forth. Although we are used to scrolling up and down to read text, left-to-right scrolling is somewhat more annoying. If you want to be as inclusive as possible for your audience, use 640x480. That may be going overboard, though. Most personal computer monitors these days will handle 800x600 without any problem, and many people run 1024x768 displays. Is there a right answer? Probably not. Consider your target audience, make your decision based on that consideration, and click Next.

One last thing before we move on. Notice the checkbox under the label Effects. I'm not a big fan of Web pages that play sounds when I do things. You can choose to export sounds whenever slides advance. The best way to decide what you like is to try both. It's all for fun, anyhow.

On the next window that appears, fill in title page information for the Web presentation. This is the author's name (yours), your email address, and a link back to your own Web site if you wish. Click Next, and you'll then have the opportunity to decide on the graphics you wish to use for the forward and back buttons. If you don't want to use graphical buttons, you don't have to. In fact, the default is to use Text only, so to use a particular button style instead, make sure you uncheck the checkbox (Figure), select your button style, and click Next.

Pick a button style, any button style.

We are almost there. The final window lets you decide on the color scheme for the presentation. The default is simply to use the colors from the original Impress publication, but you can override this as well as the default color for hyperlinks and the default Web page background. Make your choices and click Create. One last window appears, asking you to name the HTML design. This is a free-form text field. Enter a brief description, and click Save.

The process of exporting your presentation may take a few seconds or a few minutes, depending on the speed of your machine and the complexity of your presentation. To view the presentation, open your browser and point to the title page. That's all there is to it.

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