In my last post I wrote:
“Andy Jackson suggested ZamZar (they say they support older PPTs than PowerPoint 97 in this blog post). It’s a free service, so I uploaded a file. It works offline; you give it an email address and it is supposed to send the converted file back (or a link; not sure). Sadly, it failed to convert. The error message said they were looking into it, but given it’s a free service, I didn’t hold out much hope. Later, when I had reported this via twitter, I did get a tweet from Zamzar saying “Hey Chris, that’s an old file (1993) ! We can’t promise to convert it but send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try …”. I’m a bit shamefaced that I haven’t got around to it yet (things were moving apace at the time).”
Well, I did try their service again, and demonstrated to my satisfaction that my old PPT 4.0 files were not converted (if you asked for them to be converted to PowerPoint 1997-2003 they returned unchanged; if you asked for them to be converted to PDF the conversion failed). So I sent Zamzar a couple of problematic files. In less than 24 hours they wrote back:
“Thanks for your email – we’ve been looking into this and think we have a resolution – do these work for you (see attached – we’ve attached both pptx and ppt) ? If so – we’ll aim to roll a fix to our systems to support these going forward.”
I checked the files and they worked perfectly (as far as I can see). I thanked them and made a preliminary comment on twitter, but I didn’t want to write this blog post until the change was rolled out and in service. That happened about noon BST today. I’ve now run another 7 or 8 files through the conversion process. Only one looks slightly dodgy, but it was an interim report during a meeting and I suspect it was rubbish all along! The only complaint I’ve had is that you can’t select a group of files for upload, but you can select several one at a time and then batch convert them all. Zamzar tells me “Yes, just one at a time currently, but we’ll be rolling out support soon to allow you to do command click”.
[Update: just to show the vintage, here's an image from one slide showing a page from Internet Archaeology, captured from a Netscape browser!
Hope it works!]
I have to say this appears to be a brilliant service. Hats off to the folk at Zamzar. I have not checked the other conversion options available, but this does look like an extremely useful service. As far as I know, apart from running Office 2000-ish (or earlier), this is the ONLY way to access PowerPoint 4.0 files!