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I have a bunch of course material in .ppt and .pptx format, but I don't have and don't want OpenOffice installed. Since I'm using Linux, Office also is ruled out.

What can I do to convert them to a PDF format with the best fidelity available?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

PDF Converter does exactly what you're looking for.

You can upload any file to convert to pdf for free. If you have to send more than one file, simply zip them all, send it as a zip file and when everything is ready, they will notify you via e-mail.

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More of a SuperUser answer than a WebApps answer, but Microsoft's free Powerpoint viewer app apparently works in WINE under Linux, it should have a print option that you can then point to your PDF printer, have you tried that?

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Yeah, I wasn't sure about where to post this question :) – badp Sep 28 '10 at 10:27

A non fully web apps answer would be:

  1. Painstakingly upload your material five files at a time to Office Live.
  2. Load each file.
  3. From File pick Print.
  4. Print using your locally installed PDF printer
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I'm hoping Office Live can do a better job of reading ppt/pptx files than Google Docs can? – badp Sep 28 '10 at 8:46

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