I received the following email from a co-worker the other day:

I am building a web application for a client that facilitates training and she wants to be able to upload her powerpoints but does not want the viewers to be able to download them and change them. they have audio in them (some). What would you suggest?

Here’s my reply:

Is it important that students be able to choose when to advance through the slides? If not, is it possible to export as a video? Then the students press Play & just watch.

If students must be able to choose when to advance, then I have a few ideas.

  1. Import into Google Docs & set Sharing to View Only (you can also set it to prevent downloading too, but gosh I hate that). Then you can get a link from Google to embed the presentation in a webpage & viewers can use the Left & Right arrows to advance through the slides. No idea about embedding audio in that, though. I’d be surprised if it works.

  2. Import into your Microsoft SkyDrive & then Share the presentation, setting it to read-only. I have no idea how well this works or what it looks like, but it’s a possibility. Again, I’m not sure re: audio. After doing a quick search, I found these, which could help: http://www.microsoft.com/web/solutions/powerpoint-embed.aspx & http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/web-apps-help/embed-a-presentation-in-a-web-page-or-blog-HA102029513.aspx.

  3. Apple’s iCloud allows you to import PowerPoint files into the online Keynote app (or just create the presentation in the online app, or using Keynote on your iPad or Mac, & have it all synced—it’s slick as hell) & then share them. The problem is that at this time all viewers can edit too, as they haven’t added a View Only mode yet (they will, I’m sure, but the web apps are beta).

  4. This could also be exactly what you want: http://www.slideshare.net. Not sure re: audio (I’ll be surprised if ANY solution besides a movie preserves audio). Other, similar services include http://www.docstoc.com & http://www.scribd.com (I find many of these services to be obnoxious in their requirements for visitors, but that could just be me).

Those are the ones I came up with. Hope that helps!