Feature Summary for SumTotal Publish To ToolBook Add-in

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The SumTotal Publish to ToolBook add-in is a utility that converts a PowerPoint presentation into a ToolBook book.


Many organizations typically have legacy content for training in the form of PowerPoint presentations. Converting these PowerPoint presentations manually into online learning in ToolBook (using copy and paste) can be a very time-consuming process. The SumTotal Publish to ToolBook add-in does this conversion in a fraction of the time.

Users can take an existing PowerPoint presentation, click the Publish button and have the content automatically published into a ToolBook format.

Users can enhance their published PowerPoint content within ToolBook by adding questions, scoring, LMS integration, exporting to the web, etc.  

One of the most powerful uses for the SumTotal Publish to ToolBook add-in is creating online learning using PowerPoint to storyboard the learning content first. You can set up the flow of the presentation using PowerPoint, include text, graphics, and Speaker Notes containing specific instructions for authors on enhancing the published content in ToolBook. You can then use the SumTotal Publish to ToolBook add-in to publish the PowerPoint content to ToolBook. In ToolBook, you can put finishing touches to your content.

SumTotal Publish to ToolBook Add-in Features

Not all content included in PowerPoint slides is converted into ToolBook objects. The Feature Matrix table below lists what is included and excluded in the conversion.

* Some content types are included purely because exporting shapes as graphics will cause them to appear. These are not separate types-they are shapes or parts of shapes. They will appear with a NO in the As Separate Type column, and will be nothing but a graphic when imported into ToolBook. These content types will appear in ToolBook exactly as PowerPoint exports them (when shapes are exported as graphics)-no extra processing will occur.

** Subject to certain conditions. If text is 3-D rotated or the shape that contains the text has a shadow or reflection, for example, it will not be exported as a separate text field. It will be exported as a graphic. Note that PowerPoint sometimes exports text with poor anti-aliasing in this scenario.

*** There are known limitations with exporting these types. While the graphic will be exported and with the correct size, the positioning of the object on the page may not be correct.

Content types in PowerPoint that are converted into ToolBook objects


A shape is PowerPoint’s “general” object. Most items you see on a page can be thought of generically as a shape. A table is a shape, for example, as is a simple rectangle. The Publish to ToolBook Add-in can convert PowerPoint shapes intelligently into ToolBook objects.


Text boxes in PowerPoint will be converted to stand-alone text fields in ToolBook, unless they have a non-transparent background, in which case they will be converted to a group containing a button and a text field.

If a shape contains text, typically the shape will convert to a ToolBook group containing a button for the image and a text field for the text.

However, the whole shape is converted to an image applied to a ToolBook button with any text rendered as part of the button image, if any of the following are present in the shape:

Some known issues with the button/field grouping exist. These issues are:

However, it's better to present the text in a field where practical, despite the issues, rather than to render the whole shape as a graphic.

When converting shapes to buttons, the Publish to ToolBook Add-in will automatically convert the following purely as graphics:

* Due to gaps in PowerPoint information, positioning may be inaccurate in these shape types/effects.


Grouped objects in PowerPoint are rendered as a single button with an image in ToolBook by this release of Publish to ToolBook Add-in.


Tables in PowerPoint are rendered as a single button with an image in ToolBook.


Only audio that has been added using the Insert / Sound in PowerPoint will be exported to your ToolBook book. An audio file will be published as a media player. Videos or animations are not converted.


Hyperlinks between pages, and to external URLs, are converted to corresponding hyperlinks on ToolBook buttons/groups.


No macros are converted by this release of Publish to ToolBook Add-in.

OLE Objects

No OLE Objects are converted by this release of Publish to ToolBook Add-in.

Speaker Notes

Speaker Notes will publish as page notes in ToolBook that can be accessed through the Properties for Page dialog box.


No comments are converted by this release of Publish to ToolBook Add-in.

Masters and Layouts

In PowerPoint, a slide is attached to both a master slide and a layout slide (which is a customization of that master). When the Publish to ToolBook Add-in converts slides to ToolBook pages, it must translate this pair of slides to a background. Where possible, it shares backgrounds among pages, according to the following rules:

About PowerPoint Export of Speaker Notes 

The SumTotal Publish to ToolBook Add -in now has the ability to export speaker notes from PowerPoint into ToolBook. These speaker notes exported from a PowerPoint slide can be accessed through the page properties dialog box for the corresponding page in ToolBook. If there are no speaker notes for a slide in PowerPoint, you can use the page properties dialog box in ToolBook to enter notes or instructions relevant to a given page. These notes can serve as a storyboard that capture relevant instructions for you to put the finishing touches on any given page (Example: An instruction to the author to add a hyperlink to a website on a given page).

The text on the Notes tab retains extended characters (such as Danish and Spanish) present in the speaker notes. However, there are no additional formatting options available on the Notes tab.

About PowerPoint Export of Audio

You can now export audio files from PowerPoint to ToolBook when publishing a PowerPoint presentation to a ToolBook book.

Here are some basic concepts for publishing PowerPoint slide shows with audio.

In PowerPoint, a sound file can either be embedded within the presentation (it becomes a part of the presentation and plays regardless of its original location - even if you play it on another computer) or linked to the presentation from its original location (it is treated as a separate file, and is played from its original location.) Whether an audio file is embedded or linked in PowerPoint depends on the linking size threshold. By default, sounds with a file size greater than 100KB are linked rather than embedded. Also, all audio file types with the exception of *.wav (waveform audio data) files are linked, regardless of their size.

When you export a PowerPoint presentation containing audio to ToolBook (using the SumTotal Publish to ToolBook add-in), by default, all embedded sound files are exported to the target directory, i.e., the location you have specified for publishing your book. For audio files linked in your PowerPoint presentation however, there are two options on how they are exported to ToolBook – they can be copied to the same directory as your published ToolBook file or linked to their original locations.

By selecting the Copy linked audio files to same folder as book checkbox in the publishing dialog box, all linked audio files in PowerPoint will be copied to the target directory. The published ToolBook file will reference the audio files in the target location. If you leave this checkbox unselected, your newly published ToolBook book will link audio files in their original location. This option is useful if your audio files are large and you do not want to use disc space for copies, and/or if they're on a network or removable drive where they will be accessible from wherever you ultimately store the ToolBook book.

Note: Audio that is embedded in your presentation will always be copied to your destination folder. Audio that is created using the clip organizer may be copied to the destination folder, regardless of whether you select the Copy linked audio files to same folder as book checkbox (the clip organizer may store your audio files in a temporary folder, in which case ToolBook automatically makes copies of them).

When publishing your PowerPoint presentation to ToolBook, the following rules apply:

Tips and Tricks

Alignment issues

When something simple like a flat shape is added to a slide, and then published to ToolBook, its position on the ToolBook page is fine. However, add a reflection, a shadow or a 3D rotation effect to this shape and the alignment may need some post-publish tweaking. This is due to PowerPoint not giving our publisher updated info on the true left and top bounds of the shape when these effects are added. Basically, you'll see them placed on the same point in the page as if the effects hadn't been applied, but offset to the right and down by the size difference. So, one workaround is to avoid these effects, or at least avoid them when they visibly shuffle the shape down and to the right.

Text overrun/wrap issues

The objects published by the Publish to ToolBook add-in are editable. However, this behavior comes at a price. When we export a shape from PowerPoint with text included, we take it through a scaling filtering process, and we apply the same process to the font. Ideally this would be mathematically perfect, but there are some complicators such as ToolBook font sizes being whole numbers, and other more technical issues. Try ensuring that the text boxes in which you place your text are 10%-15% bigger than they need to be to fit the text. This will prevent any unfortunate wrapping scenarios.

Text in shapes

Here's a trick that you could consider when publishing text in shapes, and which is not visible to the human eye: if you 3D rotate your PowerPoint text field by 1 degree in the X direction (right-click, format shape, 3D rotation, X), the publisher will deem this text box "too hard" to publish as text (since ToolBook doesn't support 3D rotation of text). It will then export the text box as an Image object. The upside: it will look exactly as it looks in PowerPoint. The downside: you won't be able to edit it in ToolBook.

Jagged text edges

In PowerPoint 2007, text on PowerPoint shapes (boxes etc.) can have jagged edges because of anti-aliasing to black, regardless of the actual background color. This will affect all graphics with text exported as Image objects to ToolBook. Microsoft released hotfix 972565 to fix this, found here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/972565/. This hotfix is rolled into PowerPoint 2010.

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