Importing a Powerpoint file into InDesign

It seems logical that it would be easy to import an PowerPoint file into InDesign since Microsoft Word and Excel files import well. Unfortunately, there is not a native import for PowerPoint files.

Given this, we are left with two options – PDF Export or Manual.

1. PDF Export Method.

If you only need each slide as a non-editable graphic inside InDesign, this is the best option. From PowerPoint, save the presentation as a PDF (file save as > PDF). Inside InDesign, place the PDF from each slide on each page or use the place multipage PDF script that comes with InDesign.

This will get your presentation placed into InDesign, but it will not be editable. If you need the file to be editable, you will have to do some manual work.

2. Manual Method

If you want each slide to be editable, manually bringing everything over  is your only option. The problem, is that you can’t just copy the whole slide because it will paste into InDesign as one large embedded image.


A better idea is to save out each graphic element one at a time from PowerPoint. Right click on the graphic and choose “save as picture.”  You can choose from PNG, JPG, PDF, GIF & BMP. I recommend PDF for vector and JPG for bitmaps.

If your PowerPoint document does not contain any vector images, you do have another option. Using Acrobat Professional you can quickly export all of your bitmap graphics. Inside Acrobat Professional, go to the advanced menu > document processing > export all images. This will quickly export all of the images out of the PDF into a specified folder. This option will only grab bitmap graphics – therefore, it may not work if your file has a lot of vector data.


There is no easy way to bring all of the text over. I end up just copy and pasting the text over. If you want to keep the formatting from PowerPoint, edit your clipboard handling preferences and choose “all information” when pasting text from other applications.

Note – I have had some experiences in the past when I pasted the text it came in as an embedded graphic. To avoid this you can always just copy and paste into TextEdit (or notepad) and then back into InDesign.