Converting PowerPoint to eps

A few months ago, I blogged about editing eps file on a Mac without an expensive tool. I only did it a couple times and fell back to “Scott edits eps files.” I’m now writing a new chapter which means I don’t have to deal with existing images. Scott offered to convert my image files to eps. (The publisher did it for our Java 8 books.) I wanted to see if I could to it myself. I feel bad using him as my “eps file service.”

With a bit of Googling, I learned that InkScape has a command line that can convert. I also learned that it is a pain to set up, but instructions are online.

Before doing an operation described as a “pain” and that looks like a lot of stops, I decided to try the UI.

  1. In PowerPoint, save as and choose PDF
  2. Open Inkscape
  3. Open > choose the PDF
  4. Changed precision field from ‘rough” to “very fine”
  5. Click ok
  6. Wait a few minutes (The InkScape window “disappeared” during this step.)
  7. Get Window back: Right click XQuartz > Options > Desktop on Display 2
  8. File > Save as
  9. Choose eps as file type
  10. Choose all defaults

Well, I’m glad I didn’t fiddle with the command line. The eps file has a shaded background behind all my arrows.


Take two

  1. In PowerPoint, save as and choose pnd
  2. Open Inkscape
  3. Open > choose the png
  4. Changed image rendering mode to “smooth”
  5. Click ok
  6. File > Save as
  7. Choose eps as file type
  8. Choose all defaults

Same problem. The eps file has a shaded background. The pdf and png did not.

Oh well. If I can’t figure this out, I guess I’m back to Scott as eps exporter.

Chromebook the third!

I bought my mother a Chromebook in 2012 and again in 2014. That one lasted longer and here we are five years later. It’s time to replace the Chromebook with her third one. Definitely a happy customer.

I went the Best Buy like the last two times. The number of Chromebooks on the market exploded! I think they had nine in the store. I went with the Acer Chromebook 15. It’s a basic machine with built in speakers. Like actual speakers, not embedded ones.

Comparing the stats from 5 years ago

My mother wants to listen to music now. This means I care about the hard drive now when I didn’t five years ago. Everything is better on this machine except the CPU. The computer is never CPU bound though so that seems ok

Asus (2014)Acer (2019)
Screen size13.3″15.6″
Price$299$240
CPUIntel 2.16 GHzIntel 1.6 GHz
RAM2 GB4GB
Hard Drive???16GB
USB1 USB 2.0 and 1 USB 3.02 USB 3.0
HDMIYesYes
Weight3.1 lbs4.41 lbs
Headphone jackYesYes
Battery life???12 hours

Setting up the Chromebook

  • The Chromebook was set to Sept 18th 1:00 on May 15th 10:21. Maybe that’s when it was built/packaged? It got fixed automatically when I connected to wifi
  • I chose “let’s go” on the welcome screen and connected to my home wifi.
  • I then got the ChromeOS terms page. For about a minute, it showed me a cert invalid page. Then the screen loaded with the terms. Weird.
  • I chose not to send data to Google and accepted the terms. (My mother is bandwidth constrained so don’t want to use up any helping Google.)
  • Signed in. My profile was automatic. Since I signed on as my mother, I got her giant accessibility cursor
  • I accepted Google Play/Google Drive since I want to use an app. I did not enable location services.
  • On settings
    • disabled Bluetooth
    • disabled sync for passwords/addresses/google pay
    • changed time zone to Pacific
    • turned off check if have payment methods saved
    • on site settings, disable microphone and camera
  • Installed Keep Awake browser extension
  • Covered camera
  • Right click desktop and choose “set wallpaper”. Choose light blue under solid colors
  • I tested the USB, HDMI headphones and that a Kensington security lock works with
  • I made a recovery disk. The procedure hasn’t changed
  • Finally, I deleted a bunch of apps (go to the circle icon in the lower left corner). Right click the app to uninstall. The “uninstall” button is blue and looks grayed out, but you can still click on it (I needed a mouse for this – deleting with the trackpad doesn’t work.) I deleted a lot of stuff because it’s less apps my mother won’t use. Which means less stuff that needs to download auto updates
    • ebay
    • Play Movies
    • Play Music
    • Play Games
    • YouTube
    • Google Maps
    • Google Keep
    • Google Photos
    • Text
    • Calculator

Editing eps files on a Mac

Scott and I need to edit some .eps files. Scott has Adobe Illustrator. I do not. Adobe no longer sells Illustrator. Instead Adobe offers a subscription for $21/month. They also offer a free trial. Given that I edit documents infrequently, I don’t want to pay for a subscription. (It cost over $200 before they switched to a subscription which is also more than I want to pay for my infrequent access.) For a while, Scott was editing all the documents to get around this problem.

Viewing eps files

This is easy. Viewing eps files works in Mac Preview

Creating/editing eps files

Inkscape allows creating/editing eps files (and svg files and other formats.) It works on most operating systems.

Here’s how I installed it on my Mac. (I donated money to Inkscape. But not $20 a month!)

  1. Install XQuartz
  2. Install Inkscape
  3. Log out and log back into Mac

Using Inkscape to create a file

The basic tutorial on the tutorials page gave me everything I needed to get started. It took a little time to get used to zoom mode being enabled when I wasn’t expecting it and selecting elements. But I was quickly able to create my image and exporting it to an eps file.

Using Inkscape to open a file

Inkscape gives an error when trying to open a file:

Failed to load the requested file xxx.eps

Luckily, there is an easy workaround. Macs can open an eps file in preview mode. You can save that to PDF and then open the PDF in Inkscape. I was able to edit the shapes and text from the imported PDF. Thank you to this blog post for the tip!