How to Convert PowerPoint Pictures for Use in LaTeX

What These Are About

I was once faced with a problem of trying to put the pictures I drew for my presentation into a revision of my paper. After a lot of trial and error, I found a fairly simple way to do it. I also received suggestions from others. Below are several methods; different ones require different software that you may or may not already have installed. Actually, portions of different methods may also be fruitfully combined (in particular, there are several ways to crop the figures to the correct size). There may well be easier or better ways; please contact me if you know more.

Method 1

This method assumes that you have Adobe Acrobat (not just the Reader, but the actual Acrobat) installed on your machine. No additional software is required on a Mac
  1. Convert you PowerPoint slide to .pdf. Some versions of PowerPoint come with that feature. Others will allow to select "PDF" or "Acrobat Distiller" as a printer or destination when you try to print. The conversion is accomplished by printing to that ethereal printer. When you try to print to it, a dialogue box will pop up (sometimes mysteriously hidden by your other applications) that will ask where you want to save the resulting .pdf file.
  2. Open the .pdf file in Adobe Acrobat or Preview (on a Mac). Delete all the pages but the one that contains your picture (use Document->Delete Pages in Acrobat). Then crop the remaining page so that only the picture is left on it (Document->Crop Pages in Acrobat). Save the file. Also, select File->Save As, and select "Encapsulated PostScript (.eps)" under the file type, to save the same file as an .eps if you need it.
  3. Insert into your LaTeX document using the \includegraphics command of the graphicx package (be sure to not specify the file extension in the command; that way, it will compile with both latex (using the .eps) and the pdflatex (using the .pdf)). Alternatively, you can use LaTeX's psfig package to put the .eps figure into the LaTeX document.

Method 2

This method seems to require the least additional software. Open the PowerPoint file in OpenOffice. Select the portion of the slide you want to export, and choose "Export" in the "File" menu. The "Selection" button will be activated, which means it will export only the selected portion of the slide (it will trim the margins by default). Thanks to Patrick Battistello for the suggestion.

Method 3

This method has the advantage of not needing Adobe Acrobat, but does need simple additional software. It does not allow you to crop the image, however, so get it right in PowerPoint first. Thanks to Jeremy Strayer for suggesting this to me.
  1. Download EMFtoEPS. Don't be scared--installation constists of merely unzipping the archive. Run it. Choose Edit->Preferences, and select a postscript printer and a resolution you want. Note that the settings of the resulting eps will be the same as of the printer--e.g., if you want color, choose a color printer. You may need to install one on your Windows system (you don't have to buy the printer, just install the driver and "pretend" it's attached to some port). More info in the .txt file accompanying EMFtoEPS.
  2. In PowerPoint, choose File->Save As, and save your slide as "Windows Metafile (.wmf)" type.
  3. In EMFtoEPS, choose File->Open to open your metafile slide, and then Convert->Selected to convert. You'll get an .eps file with the same name in the same directory as the .wfm metafile.
  4. See Method 1 for inserting the file into your LaTeX document.

Method 3a

A variant on method 3 suggested by Vinesh Gada
  1. Download and install the free Metafile to EPS converter metafile2eps.exe from here.
  2. Group your picture in PPT, right click on the grouping and click on 'save as picture'.
  3. Save as EMF.
  4. Open the Metafile to EPS converter; load you file.
  5. Click on export EPS.

Method 4

This method possibly requires GSView software. Thanks to Markus Nilsson for suggesting this.
  1. Install the drivers for a Postscript printer (often denoted PS in the end of the name of the printer) if you don't already have one installed on your computer. (This can be done as follows: Start -> Control Panel -> Printers -> Add printer. Press next a couple of times until you reach the page where you can choose between different manufacturers. Choose a Postscript printer, e.g., Lexmark Optra S 1250 PS.)
  2. Isolate each figure in its own PowerPoint document.
  3. Print the figure, but check the box "Save to file", and under properties/advanded/Postscript options, select Encapsulated postscript (EPS).
  4. Now you're almost done. The default setting for the boundary box for your drawing has been set to fill the whole page. If you want to edit this, use GSView. Under the File menu, use PS to EPS without checking the "Automatically calculate Bounding Box". Select your new bounding box, and save the file as an EPS. Alternatively, if you have access to Unix, you can use "ps2epsi inputFileName outputFileName" on the command line to get it to fix the bounding box (thanks to John Heidemann for the tip).
  5. See Method 1 for inserting the file into your LaTeX document.

Method 5

Save your picture as a pdf file directly from PowerPoint (if you don't currently have a way to do it, you may install a free plug-in form Microsoft that allows to do save-as to pdf, for example, here). Open in inkscape (free). Inkscape will allow you to open the figures, remove the page, and save as an eps file if you wish or as a pdf file. See Method 1 above for inserting the result into your LaTeX document. Thanks Frank Perbet for this suggestion.