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Powerpoint and Latex, or how to create figures easily

Add tags LaTeX specific issues not fitting into one of the other forums of this category.

Powerpoint and Latex, or how to create figures easily

Postby moshiko on Tue Jul 13th, 2010

Hi,

I have been into this problem for quite a while.

As any researcher, I am usually presenting my results in two formats:
1. academic papers, for which I use Latex
2. presentations, for which I use powerpoint.

In both formats, I have figures which I would like to generate at high quality.
The problem is that I need different software to generate these figures for Latex/powerpoint, and I often find myself repeating on the same drawing steps in different softwares.

Let me try to add more details to my question.

For academic papers I use IPE which saves the figures in pdf in a vector format. When including these files in latex, the output is neat and clean. You can zoom into the figure as much as you want and all lines/text are sharp and clear. Drawing in IPE, however, is a bit difficult and does not have all the drawing functions that I would like to have (e.g. alignments, many kinds of arrows, shapes and so on).

For slides I use powerpoint since it is what-you-see-is-what-you-get. It's much easier, at least for me, than creating a presentation in latex-beamer. The time it takes to customize the slides (background, lines, shapes etc.) and to add animations is incomparable with what it can take with beamer. so, no chance I'm leaving powerpoint in the near future.

A while ago, I used the basic equation editor to input formulas. However, the symbols were quite different from the latex appearance. At some point, I found out that there are many programs to input latex code into powerpoint. In particular, IguannaTex (freeware!) does an excellent job. It is an Add-Ins to powerpoint, which let you write the latex code as usual. Then, it complies the code, generates .png file and adds it to the current slide. You can also modify the code later on and the program updates the .png and the slide. so far so good.

However, I am wondering whether there is a better option than doubling the work -- drawing in IPE for papers and redrawing in powerpoint for slides.

One solution I had in mind is to draw only in powerpoint. Then, use the "Save as pdf" option (exists in office 2007, they call it "publish") to generate the figure for the papers. The problem is that powerpoint decreases the .png resolution right after it is placed in the slide. (this has nothing to do with IguannaTex). Moreover, once you publish to .pdf (or even saving into .jpg) powerpoint further reduces the resolution. The final figures become unclear, and I lose all the sharp and neat look of latex. This is quite annoying since IguannaTex produces high-quality .png files. so why should I lose resolution just because going through the powerpoint engine ?

I found a number of websites explaining how to increase powerpoint export resolution (thru some registry value), but this is insufficient. The final figures are still not at the quality I would like to have.

So my question is a call for help to find a method to input .png (or .pdf) files to powerpoint (IguannaTex currently creates .png from the .dvi of Latex. It is not a big problem to generate the .pdf from the latex code) so that after publishing the slide to .pdf format the quality remains high.

I attach an example:
1. Latex_Eq.tex - the source file that IguannaTex uses.
2. Latex_Eq.png - the image that IguannaTex generates. (there is also Latex_Eq.pdf which is the .pdf that Latex can create from #1),
3. Slide.pptx - how it looks in powerpoint after you "drag-n-drop" the .png file into an empty slide. the quality look fine for now, although you can already notice some resolution problems, which do not exist in the .png file. (try to drag-n-drop the .pdf on the slide. it even gets worse).
4. Output.pdf - after using the publish option. Zoom in again to check the resolution.
So you start with .tex file and end up with lousy .pdf output...

I would appreciate any ideas of how to overcome this problem.

Thank you,
-moshiko.
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Re: Powerpoint and Latex, or how to create figures easily

Postby localghost on Tue Jul 13th, 2010

moshiko wrote:As any researcher, I am usually presenting my results in two formats:
1. academic papers, for which I use Latex
2. presentations, for which I use powerpoint. [...]

Regarding this statement there are justifiable doubts.


Since this is not a P0werP0int related forum, I doubt that you will get useful information. Most LaTeX users do their presentations not with proprietary software. And from my point of view, the alleged advantages are very questionable.


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Re: Powerpoint and Latex, or how to create figures easily

Postby moshiko on Tue Jul 13th, 2010

Most of latex users write academic paper with this paper.
While there exist many presentation softwares, not a few researchers still use powerpoint (and will not replace it by latex-type presentation programs).

This is why I believe this question can be solved by people from this forum.
I doubt whether readers of a powerpoint forum are aware of latex, and whether they can help me. But I will try that option as well.

thanks,
-moshiko.
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Re: Powerpoint and Latex, or how to create figures easily

Postby localghost on Tue Jul 13th, 2010

moshiko wrote:Most of latex users write academic paper with this paper. [...]

How can you draw this conclusion so carelessly? That might be true in your environment, but is not applicable to others. IPE is far away from being a standard tool (although it has the potential due to its very nice features). I personally prefer for all my academic work to draw figures within LaTeX by means of packages like pgf/tikZ or pstricks. These packages also master plots of scientific data, as wells as the datatool package. So there is no reason for me to rely on external tools (whether they are proprietary or open). And my presentations so far looked precious with beamer and powerdot. Perhaps I'm a bit conservative because I abstain from the whole knick-knack that's possible with P0werP0int and only distracts from the content.
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Re: Powerpoint and Latex, or how to create figures easily

Postby moshiko on Tue Jul 13th, 2010

Hi,

I didn't mean that everyone should use IPE/powerpoint. I am using it and there are many others that do so as well.
I wish I could use beamer/powerdot as easy as I can with powerpoint. But, for me, this is not the case.

This is why I posted this question.

thanks,
-moshiko.
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Re: Powerpoint and Latex, or how to create figures easily

Postby frabjous on Tue Jul 13th, 2010

Powerpoint won’t even run on my operating system. It’s a terrible program from what I remember. I still have nightmares about it. So glad I found beamer!

That out of the way, however, I’d be surprised if there weren’t a way of changing the resolution of the images in the PDF output produced by PowerPoint without editing the registry. OpenOffice has that feature, so it would be surprising if a part of MS Office didn’t.

Still, there are limits if you’re using a rasterized format like .PNG. Does PowerPoint accept any vector based image format? EPS or SVG, etc.?
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Re: Powerpoint and Latex, or how to create figures easily

Postby josephwright on Tue Jul 13th, 2010

For a lot of my work, I need charts and the like, and have to get them into Word. Now, this is similar to the question as the aim is to get things I like out of LaTeX and into something else. My method is to use Tikz to do the figures, then externalise them as EPS files. I can then use IrfanView to open the EPS files at hi-res (600 dpi) and paste into Word. For my boss, I paste them into PowerPoint. Does this help at all?
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Re: Powerpoint and Latex, or how to create figures easily

Postby moshiko on Thu Jul 15th, 2010

Hi again,

Powerpoint does not accept .svg or .eps... this is one direction that I was looking into. That's too bad, because if it could then the conversion to pdf would not lose any of the original quality.

I think that the problem with powerpoint is too intrinsic. It can't be solved by the way you paste the files into the slide. I think the solution should be more in the direction of an Add-Ins. The goal of such an Add-Ins would be to convert a given slide to a .pdf in high-quality. In order to do so, it will use the underlying powerpoint mechanism for all powerpoint objects (text shape etc.) and it will use the .pdf version of external images that were created, say in IguannaTex.

-moshiko.
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Re: Powerpoint and Latex, or how to create figures easily

Postby josephwright on Thu Jul 15th, 2010

As I said, I make EPS files then convert them at 600 dpi for pasting into PowerPoint or Word using IrfanView. This usually works fine (600 dpi is okay for print and on screen, in my experience).
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Re: Powerpoint and Latex, or how to create figures easily

Postby moshiko on Thu Jul 15th, 2010

Hi,

I tried to use the option you suggest, but I find no way how to convert the .dvi to .eps. Using dvi2ps I can create .ps file but the image is no good, so when I paste it into word/powerpoint I loses resolution.

I tried to pdflatex and then read the .pdf in IrfanView but again the resolution was quite poor (Acrobat read the file with perfect resolution, can zoom as much as I want). I don't know how to convert the .tex file into something that IrfanView can read correctly.

any idea ?

thanks,
-moshiko.
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