Convert Windows Directory to HTML Listing

Ever need to create an HTML file that lists all the files and folders in a particular Windows directory? Probably not something you’ll need to do very often, but it does come in handy every once in a while.

For example, if you want to quickly create a list of all files and folders inside of a Window directory and send it to someone in a nice easy to view format. Earlier I had written about how you can use either the command line or third-party apps to print a list of all files and folders in a Windows directory, however, those options only output to text, Word or Excel.

DirHTML

DirHTML is a nifty program that pretty much does the same thing, generating a recursive list of files and folders, but outputs it as an HTML table with links! Therefore, you can actually click on any file to open the file in the web browser or with whatever the default application is for that file type. This could be very convenient for web developers working on a website locally.

Below is what a directory listing outputted in HTML looks like for the download folder on my computer. You’ll notice the output is a bit plain and kind of old-school looking. This is because the program is old and therefore the webpage it creates looks pretty old. If you want a fancier output for the directory listing, check out the second program called Snap2HTML that I mention below.

dirhtml

Across the top are anchors, which are links to all of the folders inside the directory you specified. After that, all files within the root folder and within each folder under the root are listed along with their basic file attributes. You can click on any of the files to open them.

Once you download the program, simply run the dirhtml.exe file and you’ll get a configuration window like this:

create directory listing

The program is highly configurable, but you can also just choose the folder and click the Build button if you don’t want to do anything else. You can filter based on file extension (File Specification) or by file names.

Under Miscellaneous, you can specify the file attributes you want to include in the HTML output and specify if you want to use fully qualified paths in the links. This is useful if you want to be able to transfer the files/folders to another computer. You can copy the folder to the other computer under the same path, i.e. C:My DocumentsTest and still be able to click on the files in the HTML listing to open them.

print directory listing

Under Sorting, you can choose to sort the files by Filename, Size, Date, and Extension.

sort files

You can also configure the program to build the directory listing recursively or not. You can choose whether you want all links in one HTML file or to create an HTML file for each separate folder.

html directory listing

Overall, it’s a useful program to quickly create HTML web pages for any folder branch in Windows.

Snap2HTML

The second program, Snap2HTML, doesn’t have as many options, but the output looks way better. Here is the HTML output for the same downloads directory on my computer:

snap2html output

The program has a very simple interface and just a couple of options. To run the program, just double-click on the Snap2HTML.exe file. Like DirHTML, this program doesn’t require an installation.

snap2html gui

First, you pick the root folder you would like to start the directory listing with. There are two options to include hidden or system files if you like. You can change the title of the HTML page and you can check Enable under Link files if you want every file to be a clickable link.

You can check the Open in browser when ready button and then click Create Snapshot to generate the HTML directory listing. You’ll be prompted to save the HTML file first and then it will open in your default web browser.

So there you have two programs that get the job done. Each has it’s own pluses and minuses, so feel free to pick the one that suits your needs better. If you have any questions, post a comment. Enjoy!

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How to Combine or Merge Multiple Text Files

There are several occasions where you may need to merge multiple text files into single text file. For example, you may receive a CD that contains hundreds of text files, all in different directories, which you need to combine into one file for importing into Excel, etc.

It’s also useful if you have network log files, server log files, or backup logs that you want to combine for purposes of data mining or data analysis. There are a couple of different ways you can go about joining text files together and the results are slightly different depending on the method you choose.

In this article, I’ll write about several ways to combine text files so that if one method doesn’t work out too well, you can try something else.

Method 1 – Command Prompt

If you are ok using the command prompt, then there are a couple of simple commands you can use to merge a whole bunch of text files quickly. The advantage of using the command prompt is that you don’t have to install any third-party programs. If you want a little primer on using the command prompt, check out my beginner’s guide to use the command prompt.

Also, since the command line can take multiple parameters, you can really create quite a complex command to filter and sort through which files you want to include in the joining process. I’ll explain the simplest command, but will also delve into a few examples to show you how to do the more complicated stuff.

Firstly, open Windows Explorer and go to the directory where you text files are located. If the files are stored in many subfolders, navigate to the parent directory. Now press and hold CTRL + SHIFT and then right-click on any empty spot in the Explorer window.

open command window here

This will open a command window that is already set to the directory you were in. Now all we have to do is type in the command. As you can see above, I have three text documents in the folder along with a couple of folders. If I only want to combine the text files in this one folder, I would issue this command:

for %f in (*.txt) do type “%f” >> c:Testoutput.txt

In coding parlance, this is a simple FOR loop that loops through all the files end with .TXT and outputs them to a file called output.txt.

combine txt cmd

As you can see above, the loop just runs a separate command for each text file that it finds in the directory. Note that if you have a text file, but it has a different extension like .log or .dat, etc, then you can simply change the *.txt value in the command. It’s also worth noting that the output should be to a different location than the current directory, otherwise it will append the output file to itself since it also is a text file.

Now let’s say you have text files that are located not just in one folder, but in many subfolders. In this case, we can add a parameter to the command, which will tell it to recursively search for text files in any subfolders of the current directory.

for /R %f in (*.txt) do type “%f” >> c:Testoutput.txt

You’ll notice the /R parameter right after the for statement. Now when I run the command, you’ll see that it finds a couple of extra text files in the three directories that are in the same directory.

merge text files

As is usual with the command prompt, there is actually another command that allows you to do the same thing as the FOR statement above. The command is actually a lot simpler and if it works fine for you, then feel free to use it instead of the above method.

copy *.txt output.txt

copy merge text files

This command works well, but doesn’t have as many options as the previous command. For example, it won’t let you recursively search through subfolders.

Method 2 – TXTCollector

TXTCollector is a free text file-merging tool with a decent feature set. It’s very easy to use and can be configured to work in a couple of different ways.

combine text files

First, type or copy and paste the folder path into the Folder box at the top or simply click on Browse Folders button and select the folder with the text files. You can then choose which type of files you want to combine.

By default, TXTCollector will search for all TXT files and combine them. However, you can pick from the list and combine or merge multiple CSV, BAT, HTM, LOG, REG, XML, and INI files into one also!

Check the Include subfolders box if you want TXTCollector to recursively look into each sub-folder of the main folder. TXTCollector will show you exactly how many files it found in the directory.

merge txt files

Next you can choose a separator that will appear between each file that is being combined. This is a nice feature that you don’t get with the command line method. Either you can pick from the drop down menu or you can just type in whatever you want into the box.

By default, the program will put the directory name, file name, and the separator between each file. If you want to combine the files continuously without any break between each file, check off No Separator, No Filename, and No Carriage Returns.

combine multiple txt files

You will then have the choice of adding a space character between the files or not. The cool thing about TXTCollector is that you can really customize it. If you click on the link at the bottom called Extensions and Separators, you can add your own extensions to TXTcollector.

Edit the extensions.txt file located in the TXTCollector application data directory. Note that TXTcollector only handles plain text files, no matter what extension is used. Therefore, it cannot combine multiple XLS files, for example, unless they are saved as plain text.

The only limitation to the program is that it can only combine 32,765 text files at once. If you have more than that, you can combine that many into one and then combine the large one with more smaller ones, up to 32,765!

Overall, a very simple, yet powerful freeware app for combining multiple text files. Hopefully, these two methods will work for most people. If you have run into a situation that is more complicated, feel free to post a comment and I’ll try to help.

Also, be sure to check out my other post on how to combine multiple PowerPoint presentations. Enjoy!

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How to Share Files Between PCs, Smartphones and Tablets

When it comes to sharing files these days, it’s no longer just about sharing between computers. Now your friend with an Android phone might want some videos you took from your iPhone or you may want to copy a bunch of pictures from a Windows PC to your iPad.

In this article, I hope to give you as complete a guide to sharing across devices as possible. It’s going to be long, so feel free to skip down to the section that applies to you. The sections will be broken down into sharing between computers, sharing between computers and mobile devices, and sharing between mobile devices only.

Note: This article will link out to a lot of my previous posts on Online Tech Tips and Help Desk Geek because those articles explain certain tasks step by step. 

Sharing Files Between Computers

share data computers

When it comes to sharing files between computers, you can break it down into two types: local sharing or remote sharing. If you need to copy some files to another computer on your local network, it will be much faster because you’ll either be using Ethernet or Wi-Fi to perform the transfer.

This is the best way to transfer a large amount of data to another computer quickly. When copying files outside of your LAN (local area network), you are limited by your Internet speed. If you have Verizon FIOS with a 75 Mbps upload/download connection (which I have now), then transferring large amounts of data to a remote computer will also be fast.

However, if you’re stuck with AT&T and have a miserable 1.5 Mbps upload speed (which I had in the past), it’ll take a long time to upload a few gigabytes of data. Let’s first talk about local data transfers.

Local Data Transfers

If you’re trying to share data between only Windows computers, Microsoft has finally made things easier with the introduction of homegroups in Windows 7. Hopefully, you’re not running Windows XP or Windows Vista because homegroups don’t work with those operating systems. If you are, I will still explain methods you can use to share between all versions of Windows.

Windows Homegroups

sharing data homegroup

To get started, first read my post on setting up a Homegroup in Windows 7. Note that the procedure is exactly the same in Windows 8 and Windows 10.

If you’re running Windows 8, read my post on how to join a Windows 8 machine to a Windows 7 homegroup. If you have any other problems connecting a Windows computer to a homegroup, read my troubleshooting homegroups in Windows post.

Mac and PC File Sharing

So that’s about it for Windows PCs. It’s the simplest way and it works really well. Now let’s say you need to share files between a PC and a Mac, what do you have to do?

shared folder.png

Well, it’s still pretty easy because both Apple and Microsoft have been supporting each other’s operating systems over the last several years. This means it’s now very simple for a Mac to access a Windows shared folder and vice versa.

First, you can read my detailed tutorial on accessing a Mac shared folder from a Windows PC. It’s pretty straightforward and something most people should be able to do.

If you want to do it the other way around, read my post on accessing a Windows shared folder from a Mac running OS X.

Using this method of creating shared folders also allows you to share data between older versions of Windows like XP and Vista with newer versions and also between Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.

Directly Connect Computers

Another way to share files between two computers is to connect them directly. You can do this if both computers have wireless cards or Ethernet jacks.

If you have two computers that both have wireless cards, you can connect them wirelessly by creating an ad-hoc network. It’s a fairly long procedure and there are some limitations with this method, so I only suggest you use it if you can’t use homegroups or don’t have access to a Wi-Fi or LAN network.

setup ad hoc connection

Using this method, you could be sitting on the beach and still connect the two computers and share data. If both the computers have Ethernet jacks, then you can purchase a crossover cable and connect them directly via cable.

You can read my posting on connecting two computer via crossover cable, but you might run into some issues as it’s a bit more technical.

Third-Party Options

lan-sync.png

There are still more options for getting files moved around efficiently locally. One option is to use Dropbox and to enable an option called LAN sync. This feature will automatically figure out that another computer that has Dropbox installed is on the same network and instead of uploading it to Dropbox first and then syncing it back down, it will simply transfer the data over the LAN to the other computer.

USB Drives

usb drive

Last, but not least, is using traditional USB flash drives to transfer data between computers. I didn’t mention it first because I’m assuming most people already know this and want to perform the transfer some other way.

However, it’s worth noting that physical connections to your computer are probably the fastest way to transfer large amounts of data. If your computer has a USB 3.0 or eSATA port, the transfer speeds are blazing fast. So don’t forget about this simple way of doing things first.

Remote Data Transfers

All of that above was for local data transfers. Now let’s move on to remote data transfers. Suppose you have a friend or family member you want to transfer data to that lives in another part of the world, then what’s the best way to go about moving the data?

Cloud Services

cloud storage

The answer is that it depends. If you have a fast connection, especially a fast upload speed, then the best option is to use a cloud storage service. Simply install Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, Amazon CloudDrive, Google Drive, iCloud Drive, etc., upload your data and then download it on the remote machine.

This works well for most people, but there are some issues. Firstly, you normally have to purchase space on these cloud storage services, which means they don’t make sense for someone trying to do a one-time transfer of 500GB of data. Secondly, you have to trust your data with a third-party company like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, etc. The data you are transferring could be sensitive and you may not want to risk putting it on third party servers.

Peer to Peer

For those types of cases, there are a couple of good options. One of my favorites is BitTorrent Sync. With BitTorrent Sync, there is no cloud component and therefore your data is transferred more quickly and more securely. The free version has no folder size limit or file size limit. It only has a limit on the number of folders that can be synced.

Obviously, if you want to sync a bunch of data between computers, you’ll need to buy Pro, but if you just need to transfer some really large files often, then the free version is perfect.

Personal File Server

The reason I like BitTorrent Sync is because it does all the work for you and is really easy to use, while at the same time being very secure and fast. If you prefer to do it all yourself, you can read my post on setting up your own home file server.

It’s definitely time-consuming and technically challenging, but also very rewarding when you get it all setup. However, you do need to be more careful about possible security issues like open ports on your router or a misconfigured firewall.

Sharing Files Between Computers and Mobile Devices

In our second section, we’ll talk about sharing data between computers and mobile devices. As before, the type of solution that works for you depends on your hardware and operating systems. Let’s start off with the easy stuff first.

Apple Users

airdrop

If you have a relatively new Mac running OS X 10.7 or higher and a relatively new iPhone or iPad running iOS 7 or higher, then you can use a feature called AirDrop to transfer files between your computer and mobile device. AirDrop does not work with Android devices or other operating systems like Windows or Linux, so it’s fairly limited.

If you use an Apple device, but need your data on a Windows machine, I would suggest simply installing iCloud Drive on Windows. You can copy any kind of data you want to iCloud Drive from a Mac or Windows machine. Oddly, on iOS, you can only see iCloud files for certain apps as Apple hasn’t created an iCloud Drive iOS app as of yet.

Android Users

If you’re on Android, you also have a couple of options that work just like AirDrop and probably even better. A couple of apps that come to my mind immediately are Filedrop, AirDroid, and SHAREit. Using these apps, you can share files between your Android device, Windows, Mac and even iPhone, iPad or Windows Phone.

Accessing Shared Folders

Another option if you already have some locally shared folders on a home computer is to use apps like ES File Explorer File Manager on Android or FileExplorer Free on iOS.

These apps let you connect to your Windows, Mac or Linux machine and access any shared folders. You can transfer files both ways easily. There are also many other apps that do the same thing, so feel free to search around. I just mentioned these because I have used them before. They may not be the best.

At this point, there starts to be a lot of overlap in terms of what app or service can be used to accomplish a certain task. For example, you can also easily use a cloud storage service to transfer files between a computer and mobile device. You could also use BitTorrent Sync to do it and bypass the cloud.

Sharing Files Between Mobile Devices Only

share between mobiles

If you’re looking to share files between mobile devices only, then you can use one of the solutions mentioned above. Thankfully, there really isn’t anything extra to mention here.

If you have Apple devices, use iCloud Drive, AirDrop or iCloud Shared Photo Albums. If you are on Android and running version 4.1 or higher with an NFC chip, then you can use something called Android Beam. This lets you wirelessly transfer data between two Android devices in close proximity.

For non-Apple devices, you can also simply swap microSD cards, if both phones have them. Android phones also support bluetooth file transfers. Windows Phone also supports bluetooth file sharing, so theoretically you should be able to pair an Android and Windows Phone together and share files, though I have never done this myself.

If you want to share data between an iPhone and Android device, it’s best to use a third party cloud storage service and then just send the other person a share link. Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, etc all let you share out files or folders, which can then be downloaded by the other party.

Also, as mentioned above, there are certain apps like SHAREit that you can download for iOS, Android or Windows Phone, so you can easily share files between any mobile operating system.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this article gave you some better ideas on how to transfer your data and didn’t confuse you more! There are lots of options and ways to go about doing one thing.

My best advice is to try several different services, programs, apps and see which ones works best for what you are trying to do. For me, I use cloud storage services for certain transfers, but I also regularly use AirDrop, USB flash drives, homegroups and shared folders to move data too.

If you have a better idea, app, service that gets the job done for you, feel free to post a comment and let us know. Enjoy!

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6 Free Blu-ray Disc Burning Software Apps

Looking for a way to burn Blu-ray discs? After Blu-ray won the battle with HD DVD, more and more people are starting to buy computers with Blu-ray burners built-in or buying external burners. Either way, as Blu-ray becomes more common like CDs and DVDs, the time is going to come when you are going to burn your first Blu-ray disc!

Note: You can also check out my other posts on how to burn CDs and DVDs on Windows and how to burn a CD or DVD on a Mac.

You can also purchase commercial software to burn Blu-ray discs or you can use free open source Blu-ray burning software. In this article, I’ve written up a list of free apps you can download to burn Blu-ray discs. There are a lot of freeware apps out there, but only a couple are high quality and time tested.

BurnAware

burnaware

BurnAware is a very simple and easy to use CD/DVD/Blu-ray disc-burning app. You can use it to create data backups, audio CDs and to create or burn ISO image files. The free version also lets you create bootable discs, which is really handy. Another really handy feature of the free version is the ability to burn across multiple CDs, DVDs or Blu-ray discs.

CDBurnerXP

cdburnerxp

CDBurnerXP is another good freeware app to burn CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs. Like BurnAware, you can create and burn ISO images and you can create bootable discs. The only other unique feature it has is the ability to convert NRG/BIN image files to ISO format.

ImgBurn

imgburn

ImgBurn has been one of my favorite CD/DVD burning apps for a long time and now it also supports Blu-ray discs, which makes it even better! It has a bunch of other features that make it popular, including supporting the latest drives, the ability to batch create images, support for a wide range of image file formats, and lots more. The other unique feature of ImgBurn is that it can be used to create playable DVD and Blu-ray discs from VIDEO_TS and BDAV/BDMV folders, respectively.

StarBurn

starburn

StarBurn is a nice full-featured CD/DVD/Blu-ray burning app. It has a nice GUI interface that splits your burning options into audio, video, and data. You can burn images and build ISO images also. Unique features include the ability to erase a disc and to compress audio.

Tiny Burner

tiny burner

Tiny Burner is an excellent freeware app that works with CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs. The installer also comes with a 32-bit and 64-bit version and will install the appropriate version automatically. Just load your disc into the drive, drag and drop the files you want and click the Burn icon to burn the disc.

True Burner

true burner

True Burner can burn standard, multi-session and bootable CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs. It’s got a very simple user interface and not a whole lot of settings. It doesn’t have a lot of advanced features like ImgBurn, but it gets the job done and it works well.

If you know of any other free software that can burn Blu-ray discs, feel free to post them in the comments! Enjoy!

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How to Combine Multiple PowerPoint Presentations

Do you have multiple PowerPoint presentations that you need to combine or merge into one presentation? I’ve had to do this myself a couple of times and one of the most important aspects when merging presentations is whether you want to maintain the format and theme of the inserted presentation or have it match the theme of the main presentation. The second most important factor is whether you need to maintain any animations and transitions that might be included in the inserted presentation.

Depending on how you want the inserted slides to appear in the main presentation, you will need to choose between two different methods for joining the presentations. In this article, I’ll mention both methods along with the advantages and disadvantages for each method.

The first method uses the Reuse Slides option in PowerPoint and the second method uses the Insert Object option.

Reuse Slides Method

If you want the inserted slides to match the theme of your main presentation, then you have to use the Reuse Slides option. The inserted slides will simply take the slides exactly as they are in the external presentation and add them to the main presentation.

However, there is one big caveat: none of the animations or transitions will be carried over. Whatever you see on the slide in the normal viewing mode is what will get imported into the main presentation.

If you need to maintain all the animations or transitions, then skip down to the Insert Object method.

To get started with this method, open the main presentation and then click between the two slides you want to import the slides into. It’s worth nothing that this method also lets you pick and choose which slides you want to insert from an external presentation, whereas the Insert Object method will insert the entire presentation.

insert slide

Now click on the Insert menu and then click on the words New Slide and you’ll see a menu appear. At the very bottom of that menu is an option called Reuse Slides.

reuse slides

When you click on that, a tab will appear on the right hand side. Click on the Browse button and then select Browse File. Check the Keep source formatting box if you want keep the theme and text formatting of the external presentation.

If you uncheck that box, then when you go to insert the slides into the main presentation, the original formatting will not be kept. Instead the slides will use the theme and formatting of the main presentation.

insert slide from

Select the PowerPoint Presentation you want to insert and then click OK. Immediately, you should see a small thumbnail and the title of each slide displayed.

insert slides from ppt

As you can see above, the second presentation has a different theme than my first presentation. There are a number of things you can do at this point. Firstly, if you just want to insert one slide or a couple of slides from your external presentation, simply click on the slide and it will be inserted!

The formatting will depend on whether you checked the Keep source formatting box like I explained above. As shown below, I inserted just one slide from the external presentation and kept the source formatting.

powerpoint inserted slides

It will be inserted wherever you had clicked earlier with the red line. If you want to insert all the slides, just select the Insert All Slides option that comes up when you right-click on any of the slides.

Lastly, you can apply the theme used in the external presentation to your main presentation by right-clicking and choosing Apply Theme to All Slides. This will apply the external presentation theme to the main presentation.

As mentioned earlier, you lose all animations, effects, transitions, etc when using this method. Now let’s talk about the other way to merge two presentations.

Insert Object Method

The second method will insert the entire external presentation into one slide as an object. You then have to configure some settings so that when you run your slideshow, it also runs through all the slides in the external presentation.

There are a couple of things that need to be mentioned before we get into how to use this method:

1. When you insert the presentation as an object, it is not a link to the presentation, but an actual full copy into the main presentation. This means that if you open the external presentation later after inserting it into the main presentation and make changes to it, those changes will not be reflected in the imported version inside the main presentation.

2. If you do want to make changes to an already inserted presentation, you can edit it inside the main presentation. Again, those changes are only made to the version inside the main presentation.

In my opinion, this method is better than the Reuse Slides method because it lets you keep all your animations and transitions and it allows you to change or keep the theme of the inserted presentation.

To get started, open the main presentation and then insert a new slide. Make sure to delete any default text boxes or anything else on the new slide so that it is completely blank.

add new slide

Now click on the Insert tab and then click on Object.

insert object into slide

Select the Create from file radio button and click the Browse button. Select the external presentation you want to insert into your main presentation.

insert 2nd powerpoint

You’ll now see the first slide of the presentation inserted as a selectable object. All of the other slides are there, but you just can’t see them.

stretch window to slide

The next step is to move your cursor to the upper left corner of the inserted object until it turns into a double sided arrow. Click and then drag the corner to the upper left corner of the main slide. Now do the same thing with the bottom right corner of the object and drag it to the bottom right corner on the main slide.

Now the inserted object should be the exact same size as the slide that it was inserted onto. You want to do this so that there won’t be any change in the size of the slides when you are playing the presentation.

Once that is setup, we have to configure the second presentation to play when we hit that slide that we inserted the presentation into. To do this, select the object, click on the Animations ribbon, click on Add Animation and then scroll all the way to the bottom where it says OLE Action Verbs.

ole action verbs

Another dialog will pop up and you want to choose Show. If you were to play the presentation at this point, you would notice that when you reach the slide with the inserted presentation, it will show all the slides in the inserted presentation, but it will also include a still slide of the first slide at the front and back of the inserted presentation.

add show action verb

This was kind of annoying to me and luckily you can almost get rid of it. First, click on Animations again and then click on Animation Pane, which will show up at the right.

animation pane

In the Animation Pane, you will see the inserted object listed as Object 1 or Object 2, etc. and when you select it, there will be a small black arrow you can click on. This will bring up a few options and then first one you want to select is Start With Previous.

start with previous

Now when you play the presentation, it won’t show you that still image of the first slide but will actually play the first slide from the external presentation. To get rid of the still image at the end of the presentation, you have to select Effect Options from the menu above and then select Hide After Animation from the After animation dropdown box.

hide after animation

It’s not perfect because it still shows you the empty slide that the inserted presentation was put once before the presentation ends. Luckily, I found a simple hack for this too that works really well. Simply add something to the slide that has the external presentation object like a text box or whatever you like and then right-click on the object and choose Send to Back.

send to back

This will effectively hide the object behind the presentation object. Now when you play your presentation, it will hide the presentation object after the last slide because that is what we chose in the After animation option. When the presentation object is hidden, you’ll see any content that was hidden under it. It’s a great way to avoid having that blank slide show up during the presentation.

One last thing I wanted to mention was about editing the inserted presentation. You can right-click anywhere on the object and choose Presentation Object – Edit to edit any slide in the inserted presentation directly within the main presentation.

edit presentation

Hopefully, this was a detailed enough tutorial for anyone wanting to merge, combine or insert one PowerPoint presentation into another. If you have any questions, feel free to comment. Enjoy!

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