It’s no wonder that PDF (or portable document format) is the world’s most widely accepted way to share documents that have a set layout, be it reports, agreements, or presentations. All operating systems and browsers have native PDF support. On Mac, for example, you can open them in Preview and Quick Look.
The problem is that most PDFs are not easy to edit. While preserving design is one of PDF’s strengths, it’s also a major weakness, as all the words are “locked in.” Sometimes you can’t even copy-paste anything out of certain PDF files!
PowerPoint, on the other hand, has been the most popular format for creating presentations since the 1990s. Virtually anything that’s possible with presentations today you can easily implement using PowerPoint functionality.
Let’s explore a few ways of editing PDFs and see how you can convert PDF to PowerPoint for free and then how to save PPT as PDF on Mac for easy sharing once again.
Why Edit PDF Files?
While PDF files are easy to share and present in any environment, be it your client’s office or your iPad while flying to a meeting, editing them remains challenging. Why do you need to edit PDFs?
Most commonly, you can detect typos when you’ve already exported something as a PDF. You could have some fresh ideas that you want to implement. Your colleagues would like to contribute. Maybe the datasets you were using have been updated. It could also be that you’re not editing your presentation but actually designing one, and your source files and inspiration only exist as PDFs. Lots of reasons.
Luckily, you have options when it comes to editing PDFs. The most popular one is to convert PDF to PPT, do all the necessary changes, and then reverse the process. Everyone would agree that PowerPoint is amazing at editing and creating, but sharing files is not it’s greatest strength. So let’s merge the best of both worlds.
How to turn PDF into PowerPoint with screenshots
When you need a quick and free PDF to PPT converter, there’s nothing faster than taking a screenshot and pasting it into your presentation as slides.
To screenshot your PDF:
Open the file in Preview
Use Shift + ⌘ + 4 to open a built-in screenshot tool
Click and drag over the area you want to capture
Release. Your screenshot will be saved on your Desktop.
While the default Mac screenshot utility is good enough to use occasionally, if you find yourself taking screenshots regularly, you should consider a better solution.
CleanShot X is the ultimate way for recording anything happening on your Mac’s screen. Not only can you use the same default shortcuts, you can also hide Desktop icons, record scrolling content, and annotate (or blur) your results with ease. All your screenshots get saved in the CleanShot Cloud for 30 days free, so you can effortlessly share them with coworkers and friends, or in this case copy them to your PowerPoint.
To copy-paste the screenshots of your PDF into PPT, simply drag the image onto your slide and start tweaking it in whichever way you want.
How to convert PDF to PowerPoint with Preview
Since one of the default apps on Mac, Preview, can open PDF files natively, you can use it as a PDF converter to PPT as well. There are two ways to do that.
You can export any PDF as a PNG or JPG file and then insert it into your presentation. This is similar to what you’d do by taking a screenshot, but converting the format allows you to retain much higher quality of the document:
Double-click on your PDF to open in Preview
In the menu, select File ➙ Export…
Choose either JPG or PNG from the dropdown and adjust a few preferences
If you care more about the content inside of a PDF file than its visual outline, you can use Preview to simply copy the text and paste it into PowerPoint:
Open a PDF with Preview
Select All (⌘ + A) or drag to highlight the part you need
Copy the text (⌘ + C)
Insert text (⌘ + V) into PowerPoint
How to turn PDF to PPT on Mac with Automator
One of the most under-appreciated apps that all Macs have installed by default is Automator. As the name suggests, Automator lets you create automated workflows that can perform hundreds of repetitive tasks (renaming, extracting, converting, moving, duplicating) in seconds.
You can even use Automator to extract text from any PDF:
Open Automator from your Applications folder
Select New Document ➙ Workflow
Drag and drop your PDF onto the Automator window
Choose PDFs in the sidebar and double-click on Extract PDF Text
Now you can find the TXT file with all the information in your PDF in plain text. Open the file and just copy-paste everything into your PowerPoint presentation.
If you often encounter PDFs where you can’t select the text, Automator wouldn’t be of much help, since it doesn’t have the OCR (optical character recognition) technology built in. You need to use a specialized professional tool instead.
Prizmo is one of the original OCR heavyweights, which can extract text from any image or PDF, be it an analog book, a movie poster, a business card — you name it. The app works with documents of any length, can recognize 23 languages, and even read the text back to you. Even when you have the most awkwardly scanned documents on your hands, you can use Prizmo to straighten them and correct the perspective to make letters more legible.
How to convert PDF to PPT online
When you encounter a PDF that you need to convert to a PPT file, the first thing coming to your mind might be to search for it online. There are many websites that advertise free PDF to PPT converters. Most of them are intuitive and simple — just drop your PDF onto the page and get a download link to PPT as a result.
However, you should be wary of the following when using free online PDF to PowerPoint tools:
There’s always a possibility of downloading some form of malware from an unknown website with your PPT file
Large files could take a long time to convert online or not be accepted at all past a certain threshold
Your PDF styling might be completely off in a resulting PPT document
You risk leaking the data in your PDF to a third party
So even though nearly every online PDF converter to PPT is free and easy to use, it’s generally not the best way to go about it due to the abundance of potential risks.
How to use Adobe PDF converter to PPT
Since Adobe has originally developed the PDF as a format, you can certainly use their Adobe Acrobat app for converting PDF to PowerPoint:
Open your PDF using Adobe Acrobat (which you can download for free from Adobe’s website)
Navigate to Tools ➙ Export PDF
In the Convert To dropdown, select Microsoft PowerPoint Document
Click Export to PowerPoint
How to convert PDF to PPT with Microsoft PowerPoint
Not surprisingly, you can use PowerPoint itself as a PDF converter to PPT, but there are some restrictions:
You can only insert PDF as an image, so it’s not directly editable
You can only insert one PDF page at a time
To convert PDF to PPT with PowerPoint:
Create a new PowerPoint document
Navigate to Insert ➙ Image ➙ From File and choose your PDF
While it’s not the most convenient way to insert PDFs into PowerPoint, especially compared to other options listed above, it’s there if you need it.
How to convert PPT to PDF on Mac
Once you convert PDF to PowerPoint for free using one of the tools above and do all the necessary changes, you might wonder how to turn a PowerPoint into a PDF again. After all, PDFs are the best way to share presentations with others or present on your own.
Fortunately, converting PPT back to PDF is much easier:
Open your PPT file in PowerPoint
Navigate to File ➙ Print
At the bottom of the window, find PDF ➙ Save as PDF
Adjust the file as you see necessary (e.g. add a password, author, or keywords)
How to edit PDF files like a pro
In case you’re wondering whether it’s possible to avoid converting PDF to PowerPoint and back but still be able to edit documents as you please, it is. You just need to rely on a powerful tool to do it.
PDFpen is one of the most advanced PDF editors for Mac out there. Not only can you use it to move or delete pages and sign documents, you can also change text, layout, images, and more. This app uses the OCR technology to recognize all the elements on the page and then makes them editable in real time. You can even annotate PDFs in any way you want to share with coworkers when you’re working on a presentation together — then just save it, no conversions needed.
As you can see, there are lots of ways to go about how to save PPT as PDF on Mac and vice versa. You can use screenshots with CleanShot X, convert PDFs with Preview, extract text with Prizmo, export PPT with Adobe Acrobat Reader or PDF with PowerPoint, or simply use PDFpen to edit everything in the same document.
Best of all, CleanShot X, Prizmo, and PDFpen are available to you absolutely free for seven days through a trial of Setapp, a platform with more than 190 outstanding utilities for your Mac. Try them all today and see where else you might be needlessly wasting hours of your time every week.