How to convert a textbook for PowerPoint (or HTML/PDF)

If you want to process a batch of files to change file-type or file-size or file-names, IrFanView may be a godsend.  It’ll just tickle you pink.

It’s been a couple of years since I captured textbook page images for import into PowerPoint so I’ve forgotten the protocol I had devised for doing this.  So it’s time to describe the steps for future reference.  These days I have a better scanning device making the process nearly painless.  This will work well with other kinds of images, whether scanned or not, just as well, and for other destinations too.

Primary benefits are

  • Drag-n-Drop images from file explorer onto slides without resizing
  • Reduce image file-size for faster loading
  • Rename all files with renumbering if needed

Drag-n-Drop images from file explorer onto slides without resizing.

The main advantage of this process is that it will resize all images so that they all fit in the space below a PowerPoint title.  You can drag and drop images from a file explorer window directly onto a slide and each image fits without manually resizing.  I resize the textbook page images to 7.5 inches tall.  You can choose other sizes to accommodate other document types or purposes.

For instance, this process is also handy for creating thumbnail images for embedding into web pages.

Load time is much improved because the image byte-count is smaller.

The file-size of the JPG (or PNG) is markedly reduced.  Any PPT file (or PDF or HTML or whatever) will be slim and trim and load much faster.  You can control the image compression (the resampling  of the image and the reduction of file-size and image quality) at the same time.  This reduction of file-size is controlled independently of controlling the image size (height and width).  Well, yes, the image-size and file-size are related, but you can control them somewhat independently.

Rename and renumber file-names if needed.

If your scanner or camera has given you annoying file-names, you can recast the file-names, even serializing [putting rising numbers into the name], perhaps assigning a page number to each image, at the same time you manage the image and file sizes.

These instructions are specific to my PowerPoint slides for showing textbook pages in class, but you can easily change the numbers and steps.  You can also run a batch that does only one task:  renaming files, resizing files, resizing images, casting images into a different format.

In this case, I have used a Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 portable scanner.  It is a tiny marvel.  It handles only 10 sheets at a time, but the bundled software makes it easy to continue a run in batches of 10 up to 100 page-sides.  It scans both sides of a sheet in one pass, i.e. one sheet slides through the ScanSnap one time yielding two page images.  I scanned 51 sheets, 102 pages, in 17 minutes, including the time to slice off the spine binding the book.  Each page was scanned in high quality at 300dpi.  

In this case, the ScanSnap software allowed me to set the file-names with a format of  “TITLEpage##.jpg”.  The scanner I used to use was not so flexible about naming files, and camera image file-names like DSC00123.jpg are annoying too.  Step three makes adjusting such names fairly easy.

Step Zero:  Install IrfanView.

Step 1:  Run IrfanView and choose File… Batch Conversion/Rename…

Step 2:  Choose Batch conversion – Rename result files

Make some or all of the following choices and settings for Batch conversion settings.  Output format JPG –  JPG/JPEG format, with options at default of 70% quality.  Use advanced options (for bulk resize…), RESIZE: Set new size, Set one or both sides to: Height 7.50 inches, Preserve aspect ration (proportional), and User Resample function (better quality). 

In this case, I also chose to Use MISCELLANEOUS selection to Overwrite existing files because I had already made a copy of the entire folder of images (I was still remembering how to get this done).  I think I would normally work from a folder of original, as-scanned images and direct output to a new folder.

Closing the Batch conversion settings window called “Set for all images:”, continue.

Step 3:  Build a list of files in the box called “Input files:”.  As I recall, this step was not intuitive the first couple of times.  I kept ignoring the white box where input files should be collected and organized, and having selected a “Look in:”  folder, I expected it to operate on all the files in that “Look in:” folder.  No, it doesn’t work that simply.

What you need to do is to filter and select files from the Look-in folder by using the buttons called “Add” or “Add all”.  If “Add all” exceeds your expectations and pumps file-names into “Input files:”, use the buttons called “Remove” or “Remove all”.

That much, getting a list of files into the Input-files box, has been enough for my purposes, but you may want to sort files by date or name or whatever, or you may want to manually sequence the files by using the buttons called “Move up” and “Move down”.

Step 4:  Setup the destination for files and any patterns for renaming files.  The button called [Options] can help compose file-names in exquisite detail.  Working inside the Options dialog window, I used this [Name pattern], “$Nppt”,  so that my new files would keep the original file-name ($N) and add the characters “ppt” [the file-type is not affected].  Example:  original “ThisFile.png” becomes “ThisFileppt.png”.  By doing this, I’ll be able to distinguish “before” files from “after” files and know which ones are good [sized and compressed] for PowerPoint slides.

Having set the Batch rename settings using “Name pattern:” and having set the Output directory for result files, I am ready to let IrfanView work on the batch.

In fact, I found out that the batch produced a mixed result for me.  Now I had pairs of files like ThisFile.png and ThisFileppt.png.  My bad.  I could have saved myself some trouble by working from one directory into another, “result”, directory.

Whatever.  I cleaned up the situation by manually selecting and erasing the originals. I would have saved myself this extra work by erasing the whole folder and rerunning the batch.

So much flexibility.

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