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PicturesToExe v4.14 Slide Show Program

by Heather Forcier | December 1, 2003

PicturesToExePerhaps one of the kinks in converting from film to digital is an easy way to present a public slide show. But numerous slide show programs are available that can create that digital presentation for you to display via your desktop or laptop computer. The program I use is PicturesToExe.

PicturesToExe Version 4.14

  • Personal license: $24
  • Business license: $30
  • Windows 95, 98, Me, NT 4.0, 2000, and XP
  • www.WnSoft.com

Creating a slide show with PicturesToExe (PTE) is really as easy as:

  1. Select the images you want in the presentation;
  2. Determine length of time you want each image to be displayed;
  3. Determine how you want one frame to transition to the next; and
  4. Select Create to produce your slide show.

PicturesToExe window

The Steps

STEP 1: Preparing and Selecting the Images

Based on the screen resolution of the monitor I plan to show on, 1024 x 768, I prepare horizontal images to not exceed 1,000 pixels wide, verticals 700 pixels tall. The program’s Fit to screen feature maximizes each image to the screen size, but prefer to do all the sizing in my image editing program instead for optimum quality. I direct PTE to the directory containing my images and it displays the list (see left window, above). Bold file names in the left window are images selected for the show, and selected images are also listed in the slide list to the right. The slide list can be reordered any way I wish by “dragging and dropping” file names in the right window.

STEP 2: Duration of Image Display (Project Options > Main)

For length of image display, I typically select from three to four seconds. Alternately, I can synchronize the display to music so the last slide will show as the music ends. If I don’t pick either option, the show images will not advance automatically – pressing the spacebar will advance one forward, the backspace key will go back one. The latter feature is great for shows where there will be discussion on the images. I select Close show after last slide.

STEP 3: Transition Effects (Project Options> Effects)

Of the many transition effects, I deselect all and simply use Fade in/out with a duration of 1500 milliseconds. There are a number of other effects, but I have always used this one.

STEP 4: Create!

I save the PTE project so that I can access it in the future and modify it. Then I select Create to generate a self-executable “.exe” file.

Basic Features

Preview

One basic feature that I use the most is Preview, a button towards the lower left corner of the main screen. At any time I can evaluate how a show is taking shape, and can hit “Esc” at any time to go back to editing. By clicking on the image thumbnail in the upper right corner, I can see a preview of just that one slide.

Mouse Cursor (Project Options> Advanced)

I prefer the mouse cursor to disappear during the presentation. I achieve this by selecting Hide mouse cursor during show.

Background Music (Project Options > Music)

It’s easy to add an MP3, WAV, or a few other music file types to play with the slide show. The program can even synchronize the photos to end exactly when the music does. I personally find that roughly twelve images per minute of music allows each to be displayed long enough for people to see, but not so long that it seems awkward. Another tip is to create a JPEG the same color as the background (such as default black), and place it as the last frame. This seems to make the final transition perfect, since music tends to fade towards the end.

Other Features

The program is packed with features, many of which I’m unlikely to use, but it’s good to have the options anyway. Here are some of the highlights for photographers.

Captions

Text is easy to add and the program allows several ways of doing so. The first is to simply add a comment to each slide. This feature is available towards the bottom right of the main screen. By selecting Customize Slide the comment can be customized, such as selecting a font, color, and position in the frame. However, much more flexibility is available by adding captions through the Object Editor, where the caption can be placed precisely where you want it.

Distribution

As a photographer, another consideration besides simply presenting a slide show is to distribute a presentation as a marketing tool. PTE offers the option to create screen savers and some tremendous flexibility in creating presentations for potential customers.

From the Advanced tab, a navigation bar can be included on the screen to allow someone to click through the images at their own pace. Even more powerful is the Object Editor, which can add customizable buttons to prompt one of any number of actions, text, and/or hyperlinks to each slide. Within your presentation, someone can navigate the presentation, be directed to your website, or create an email to you.

From the Advanced tab, safeguards can allow you to password protect the slideshow, so that only its intended audience views it. Print screen capturing of your images can be disabled by selecting Don’t allow to copy pictures.

In Conclusion

This program allows me to easily create the slide shows I want and has the flexibility to do a lot more. I purchased the business license for $30 which allows me to use it on one computer and to create and distribute presentations for commercial or private use. Ease of use and the reasonable cost make this a program easy to recommend!

A trial version of the program is now available through NatureScapes.net! The demo version can be downloaded free but is limited to shows of ten slides or less and may have other restrictions. Upon registering, all future product versions are available at no additional charge.

About the Author

Heather Forcier photographs nature subjects throughout North America. Her work has been published for various commercial uses and is sold in prints at several permanent displays. To see more of Heather's work, please visit her website at www.heatherforcier.com.

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