We’ve done MS Word to DITA, so why stop there? We do presentations, too. Build content in DITA and convert it to PowerPoint, fast.
We’ve talked about Single Source of Truth and multi-channel publishing a fair bit, but we haven’t conversed about one ubiquitous presentation channel: publishing to PowerPoint slides from DITA topics in Heretto.
In this article, we’ll review the entirety of the process, plus we’ve put together this step-by-step tutorial video as a helpful supplement.
The Feature: Create PowerPoint Slides from DITA Topics in Heretto
One of the most-used presentation platforms on earth, I’d challenge you to find someone who doesn’t know what Microsoft PowerPoint is or hasn’t used it before. It’s great presentation software.
That said, it would be pretty nice to not have to worry about formatting, and fussing with, every presentation as you write it. Heretto’s CCMS separates content creation from formatting, and we’ve built a way to create content undistracted by all the endless tinkering with PowerPoint presentation formatting.
When you publish your presentation content from DITA to PowerPoint, everything’s just so. Do I even need to explain the value of this? Probably not, but I’m going to anyway.
Let Me Get Right to the [Power]Point
Imagine editing presentations across an organization from one single place. Yeah, that’d be nice.
Reusable content is everywhere. The typical PowerPoint reuse scenario is an enormous copy-paste exercise. Never mind what it takes to get a review or feedback. File management? Another headache.
It’s time to cut out the copy-paste-save drudgery that’s been weighing you down. Heretto is designed to make content management and reuse a breeze for all types of content. With the DITA to PowerPoint plugin, you can reuse, rearrange, and create new presentations from a library of content and media.
The plugin combines the advantages of a powerful presentation application with the advantages of a versatile content creation and publishing environment.
Training, tutorials, presentations; most of these scenarios use a slide deck as a foundation. If this type of work is part of your role, it’s unlikely you start “from scratch” for each engagement. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could quickly build a new training deck or presentation from a set of content objects and images in a centralized library?
That seems better than trying to remember what you named your last presentation, where you stashed it on your computer, which is the most current version, and so on. All of that churn goes away when you use Heretto to store your content and media for PowerPoint presentations.
Well, it’s here now.
How Does This Feature Work?
Let’s get our hands dirty, shall we?
Before we begin, this process isn’t going to work if you’re not using the Firefox web browser. Cross-browser compatibility is coming soon, but, for now, we’re working from Firefox.
The only other must-have is the PowerPoint software! You’ll need this to display the finished file once it’s converted from DITA.
With those must-haves in tow, let’s get started.
Open Heretto and set up a publishing scenario. From the administrator view, navigate to the Plugins menu. For this process, you need to have dita-ot-2.5.4 installed and the following DITA Open Toolkit plugins must be active:
Now, we’ll create our scenario and name it. Select the dita-ot-2.5.4 from the DITA Open Toolkit dropdown menu. Then, a redundant necessity, select 2.x from DITA OT Version dropdown menu.
Next, we’ll tell the system which build file to use for the output. After that, we’ll add a parameter named transtype and identify as a Simple String Value. The value we enter next will be the scenario name itself. Before we save the publishing scenario, make sure that all three DITA OT Plugins in the top right corner of the screen have their checkboxes filled in. Then click Save.
Once the scenario is saved, let’s navigate to our content library. We’ve prepared some sample content for ease of demonstration, so we’ll use that ditamap. Notice that none of the topics are nested; this way, each topic becomes its own PPT slide when we’re done with the conversion.
Note: This is weird, but there’s a Topic type of DITA Topic. It’s like the base model of topics. Other topic types extend on it. Basically, the Topic type is versatile, and it works everywhere without being fussy. Don’t shoot the messenger, I didn’t invent it. That said, for DITA to PPT with Heretto, you have to use the base Topic type of DITA Topic. Moving on.
The next thing we need to do is tell the transformation engine what slide output format we’d like to see. In the Attributes tab, select Topic from the Element dropdown menu. Then we need to select an outputclass from the Attributes column.
In this example, we have a title slide and a list slide as the content in our ditamap. For the title slide, we’ll type in the outputclass as green_title. Then, for the list slide, we’ll enter an outputclass as list_slide.
Note: These output classes have already been made in Heretto. Documentation is coming soon.
Now for output! Click publish, select the publishing scenario we made earlier, and watch the wheels turn. It shouldn’t take long.
Once it’s published, download the file and open it in Microsoft PowerPoint on your system. Voila! You’ve just turned DITA topics into PowerPower slides.
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