A Bout of Presentation Formats: PDF as an Alternative to PowerPoint

It seems that the PDF format has been challenged left, right and centre from many vantage points - its format, its appearance, its proprietary, its portability, the list goes on. There always seems to be something out there that may do something better than the PDF can, inspiring the question of "when do I use PDF and when do I use (enter technology name here)?" Sound familiar?

Courageously enough, the PDF has held its ground against attacks and challenges. Even against threats of being "replaced" by new technologies which boast aspects that don't deal with the PDFs immediate purpose. One thing the PDF should be able to do is step up to the duel grounds and sling a white silk glove on its own to a cheek. Thus, PDF says, "En Garde".

The PDF as a Presentation Format


Creating a tagged PDF allows you to customize a PDF for added viewing functions such as keyboard control, read aloud options, higher visibility etc. for accessibility. You can manipulate these features, though, to enhance the interactivity of your PDF presentation.

However, if a user performs a conversion of a scanned image PDF to PowerPoint, the resulting PDF cannot be read aloud. Viewers can check the PDF for accessibility, though, by going to the Document menu and clicking on Accessibility Quick Check.

Visual appearance

You can use the PDF to create a slideshow by using the full screen mode. With some applications, you can even set the page conversion settings for transitions, opening directly into slideshow mode, and automatic looping.

In addition, because PDFs are usually manually made and then converted, you can create your PDF presentation using an authoring application of your choice to better convey different numerical, visual or technical ideas, and then convert - it's just that easy. Use a projector or a central computer screen for communal or individual viewing.

Online resources

Some PowerPoint presentations already exist in the PDF format on the Internet. It's ideal for individual viewing and researching for brief, concise information. Viewers don't miss out on what an absent presenter might have covered as attachments and comments accompanying the PDF, which can provide supplementary resources that are essential to the viewing of the presentation.


MS PowerPoint is a proprietary software and not everyone may have the PowerPoint application on their computers. Sure PowerPoint presentations can be saved to CD with the choice of also including the PowerPoint Viewer with it, but why have that extra hardware of a CD made necessary? It's more likely that people may already have the Adobe reader installed. PDF becomes a great alternative to solving such application problems.

If You Need an Alternative. . .

There are more versatile uses to which the PDF can be put. The only way to find them is through experimentation, manipulation and innovation. The PDF won't "replace" the PowerPoint format, it only provides another sound alternative. Not only, is it easy, but it's also practical. So challenge all you want with your different formats, the PDF is here to stay!