Answered By: Amy Campbell
Last Updated: Dec 01, 2015     Views: 20448

If you have PowerPoint 2013 or 2010, you can save your PowerPoint file as a PDF file with 3 slides per page and note lines to the right.


For PowerPoint 2013:

  1. Open your PowerPoint and click on File.
  2. Click on Export, choose Create PDF/XPS Document,  then click on the box that says Create PDF/XPS.
  3. Make sure Save as type: says PDF (*.pdf), then click on Options...
  4. Under Publish options, change the Publish what: drop-down to Handouts, and then change Slides per page to 3. If your slides have a light background, you may also wish to check the box for Frame slides to add a thin border around your slides.
  5. Click on OK.
  6. Make sure the File name is the way you want it and select the location where you want to save the PDF file.
  7. Check the box for Open file after publishing if you want to view the finished PDF file immediately after it's created.
  8. Click Publish. That's it!

For PowerPoint 2010, you will first need to download and install a free PDF maker such as CutePDF Writer. (Note: this isn't needed if you have Adobe Acrobat Pro installed on your computer.)

  1. Open your PowerPoint and click on File, then select Print.
  2. Under Printer, choose CutePDF Writer (or other PDF creator) in the dropdown menu.
  3. Under Settings, choose 3 slides under Handouts. On this same dropdown menu, you may wish to check the box for Frame Slides to add a thin border around your slides. Checking the box for Scale to Fit Paper will make the slides as big as possible.
  4. Click the square Print "button" at the top of the page.
  5. On the Save As pop-up box, choose the location where you would like to save your new PDF file, then click Save.
  6. Go to your new file and open it to be sure it looks the way you wanted, and you're done!

Comments (2)

  1. can this be reversed? I mean, if I have a 2-slide pdf file, how can i save to to 1 slide powerpoint?
    by Karen on Jan 15, 2018.
  2. Admin reply:
    That’s a really good question, Karen, but for the most part, the answer is no, at least not without a lot of work that probably won’t end up being worth it. The reason is that the PDF file doesn’t retain all the formatting and positioning information that was stored in the original PowerPoint, so you might be able get the slides into PowerPoint, but it won’t recognize layout elements, titles, textbody, etc., and some elements won’t be able to be edited.

    One helpful web site described it well:
    “If the PDF came from PowerPoint in the first place, why is it so hard to convert it back?
    • - Turning a PPT into a PDF is like turning meat, veggies, spices and water into stew.
    • - Turning the PDF back into a PPT is like turning the stew back into the original meat, veggies, spices and water."
    "…when you convert the PDF back to PPT, you'll get the text in the right place (usually) and correctly formatted (generally) but it'll be a plain text box, not real title text in a title text placeholder. The individual graphic shapes on the slides may have turned into a single bitmap image that can't be ungrouped for editing.
    This isn't the fault of the PDF to PowerPoint conversion; it's simply that the PDF, though it may look like the original, is NOT the original and doesn't contain the information needed to reconstruct the original.”
    (from http://www.pptfaq.com/FAQ00054_Import_PDF_content_into_PowerPoint.htm)

    This also means that when you import from a 2-slide per page PDF, it puts two “slides” on each PDF page because it’s treating them as text boxes, not individual slides. It takes a lot of duplicating pages, deleting elements, reformatting, etc., to even get the PowerPoint to sort of look right, and even then it doesn’t act right.

    Sorry! Hopefully sometime soon there will be an easy way to do this conversion.
    by Amy Campbell on Jan 15, 2018.

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