15 Great Microsoft Office Optimization Tools

PowerPoint and Microsoft Word Downloads

PowerPoint and Word don't have nearly as many helpful downloads as Outlook does, but some useful ones are around. Whether you want to slim down file sizes, find PowerPoint slides fast, or print to PDF, there's something here for you.

Slideboxx

Here's a great tool for PowerPoint jockeys. With this program you can find specific slides from any presentation with remarkable speed, and combine those slides into new presentations. Slideboxx indexes all of your presentations, and you search through that index, rather than through the presentations themselves. That way, you can find items much faster.

When you do a search, the program shows all results as thumbnails, so you can immediately spot the slides you want. Once you find them, you can drag them to a presentation pane on the right side of the screen and then build entirely new presentations from those existing slides. It's a great time-saver for anyone who reuses PowerPoint slides.

Download Slideboxx | Price: $99 (Trial)

PPTminimizer

Sending large files via e-mail these days can be problematic. Many ISPs impose file-size limits on attachments, sometimes as little as 5MB. So if you need to send PowerPoint presentations--or even large Word files--you're out of luck.

PPTminimizer is a great solution for the problem. It shrinks the size of PowerPoint or Word files, leaving their appearance and original format intact.

With its help, you can save plenty of space. In my tests, it shrank files by about 25 percent to almost 84 percent. The program leaves your originals alone and creates smaller copies. Just select any files you want to shrink and tell the program to go about its work. It integrates with Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and Windows Explorer, too, so you can even shrink files from directly within the applications.

The program costs $40 to register, and has trial limitations. You can do only 5 optimizations before paying if you don't register, and 12 optimizations before paying if you do register.

Download PPTminimizer | Price: $40 (Demo)

PrimoPDF

Adobe PDF has become a popular file format for a wide variety of uses. If you want to retain all of the layout and font characteristics of a document, PDF is great for posting files to the Web, as well as for creating documents that will be used the old-fashioned way, in print. Many printers ask that you create brochures, business cards, and many kinds of documents in PDF.

Here's the problem: Word, by default, doesn't create files in PDF. If you have Word 2007, you're in luck, because you can download Microsoft's free PDF add-in. But if you have other versions of Word, you have to pay plenty for the capability.

Unless you use this free program, that is. It lets you create PDF files from any Word document--and from any Office document, in fact, as well as documents created in many other applications. It runs as a printer driver, so all you need to do is select Print and then choose PrimoPDF as your printer. After that you can choose from a variety of options for creating PDF files, such as including document properties like keywords and the author name, or encrypting the document.

Download PrimoPDF | Price: Free

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