LM-Light: A New E-Learning Standard
About LM-Light Courses Learning Management Systems More Info


The LM-Light Standard
 - Course Structure
 - LM-Light Tags
 - Starting a Course
 - On Each Page
 - Exiting a Course
 - Starting a Test
 - Saving a Test Score
 - Course Completion
 - Configuration File

Course Development
 - Development Environment
 - Using a Text Editor
 - Including Tests
 - Using PowerPoint
    - Option 1 - PDF
    - Option 2 - GIF/JPG
    - Option 3 - HTML
 - Using Lectora
 - Download Tools
 - Diagnosing Problems

Home Page

Course Development : Using PowerPoint : Option 1 - PDF

Using a PDF file as an intermediate format is very quick and simple (espcially if you're using PowerPoint 2007), but does have a couple of limitations. It's essentially a 3-step process:

  1. Create the PDF file.
  2. Add an 'index.html' file.
  3. Package things up.
In order to view courses developed in this way, students need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader program installed on their computers. Fortunately, this is already installed on the majority of computers in use today.

Step 1A - Creating the PDF File - PowerPoint 2007

In Office 2007, Microsoft introduced the ability to save PDF files directly from the programs in the Office suite (PowerPoint, Word, Excel etc.). For legal reasons, it wasn't included in the products as a standard feature, but it's available as a free add-on from the Microsoft website. If you haven't already installed it, you (or your system administrator) will have to download and install it before you begin.

Then follow these steps:

  1. Open your presentation within PowerPoint.
  2. Within PowerPoint, go to [File/Save As].
  3. Choose PDF format and save the file.

Step 1B - Creating the PDF File - Other Versions of PowerPoint

Versions of Microsoft PowerPoint prior to 2007 didn't have the ability to save PDF files directly. However, this capability can be added very easily through the use of a third-party application such as Adobe Acrobat (but not Adobe Acrobat Reader which doesn't have the ability to create PDF files), CutePDF Writer, PrimoPDF, PDFCreator, PDF Redirect, or any one of a number of other similar products - many of which are free.

Please follow the instructions for the particular application that you've chosen to create a PDF file of your presentation.

Step 2 - Adding the 'index.html' File

An LM-Light compatible LMS won't be looking for a PDF file when it tries to start up a course - it'll be looking for an 'index.html' or 'index.htm' file. So, in the same directory/folder as your PDF file, create a file called 'index.html' with the following content:

<?php require "LM-Light.php"; ?>
<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0; URL=[name of your PDF file]">

Edit the 5th line (highlighted in blue above) to include the name of your PDF file. When the student's browser reads the 'index.html' file, it will immediately redirect and display the PDF file containing the course slides.

Step 3 - Package Things Up

Finally, add a 'config.txt' file to the folder (this is optional), and zip it all together. This zip archive can now be sent to the LMS administrator for loading into the LMS.

Pros and Cons of This Approach

  • Pro - This is a quick and easy way to create a course from a PowerPoint presentation.
  • Pro - It also has the advantage that the Acrobat Reader software will handle resizing of the course images, and also bookmarking of the most recent page viewed.

  • Con - Students must have Acrobat Reader installed on their computers in order to view the course.
  • Con - It's not possible to record course completion since the LMS has no way to detect whether all of the pages have been viewed.
  • Con - You'll also lose slide transitions and effects since the PDF file will simply render the slides as static pages.
  • Con - Acrobat Reader tries to download the entire PDF file to view it. So a large course may be slow to load.


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