Adobe to the rescue!

Written by

Mark Heaps

Adobe Illustrator Logo connected to the Powerpoint logo with an arrow

As an agency, we were really excited to see the new features  being introduced in the Adobe Creative Suite 5. What amazing new set of drawing tools and editing features were we going to be able to take advantage of? The answer was simply, lots!

Adobe has put so many features into this suite, it’s going to create a lot of opportunities to push the envelope with graphics in the presentation space. Much of our production is done by drawing in Adobe Illustrator and, then pasting and converting those graphics into PowerPoint, where we re-color, scale, and sometimes animate the objects we drew in Illustrator. To do this, we use the technique known in PowerPoint as “Paste Special”.

“Paste Special” allows you to ungroup and essentially convert the graphic you created in Illustrator into an editable shape in PowerPoint. By using this technique, we eliminate the need for folders of assets that must travel with the presentation, like you would if you worked in Flash, or some other media program. More importantly it makes the graphic editable in PowerPoint so the client can make last-minute adjustments as they approach “go time”. But that never happens right? Last minute edits? Never. Ha ha, I kid, I kid.

Screenshot image of "Paste Special" window in Word

As soon as the shop updated to CS5, I was eager to jump on the tool and see what we could do. Soon, a few designers in the shop started having some trouble…  “Mark, I can’t copy and paste into PowerPoint from the new Illustrator CS5. What gives?”

It was true, the new Illustrator wouldn’t allow you to copy and Paste Special! This was terrifying, not only was it a huge investment to upgrade the shop but I think about 95% of all our vector graphics are drawn in Illustrator before we bring them into PowerPoint for editing. Hearing rumblings of converting back to previous versions of Illustrator, I quickly reached out to Adobe’s Illustrator Product Manager for help.

That very afternoon they had committed a software engineer to helping us with this problem, and when I arrived at work the next day a patch had been sent to us for testing. VOILA, it worked! What an amazing experience. In less than a day the whole shop was able to utilize the great new features in Illustrator CS5 in conjunction with PowerPoint.

Shortly after the patch was created, both managers from the Illustrator product team contacted me, and asked,  “Could we come see what you do?” Surprisingly there’s still a lack of awareness about the use Adobe’s tools with Microsoft apps. Shocking but true! Most designers get goosebumps, or worse, if they are expected to work between these two application giants. Here at Duarte, it’s an every day occurrence. I had a great time showing Adobe some of our projects and our process and hopefully it will lead to some great developments for us in the future.

Oh yeah, and if you want the fix for CS5 you can find it here: