Switch PDF-presentations seamlessly with APS

image of a presenter on an event with audience

When Julius Solaris from Boldpush holds a presentation, he uses a PDF to present. PDF is still widely used as a presentation-format, and when you are working with AV in corporate events, you need a way to display your PDFs in a smooth and seamless way. Auto Presentation Switcher (APS) gives you the tools you need to handle your PDF’s with ease.

A remote controller for Adobe Acrobat, Skim and Okular PDF-software

The most important thing when displaying PDF’s on events is that the PDF looks exactly like the presenter made it. The font on page 34 needs to work, and there can be no uncertainty about this.
With APS you still use the industry-standard software to display PDF’s. This ensures that the PDF will display correctly on the screen. What we do is to give you better tools to control this PDF software: APS has commands that puts PDF’s seamlessly in fullscreen on the external display with one button-click. And when the PDF-presentation is over, APS can close the PDF and open the presentation for the next speaker.
You no longer need to fiddle with the Finder-menu to find the right file, drag the PDF to the external display with your mouse and remember the shortcut to put it in fullscreen. When the AV-technicians have their hands full with video, audio, cameras and lights, this can save precious time, and make less room for mistakes from the operator.

PDF software supported by APS:
PC: Adobe Acrobat Reader, Adobe Acrobat Pro & Okular
Mac: Adobe Acrobat Pro & Skim PDF

logo of Adobe Acrobat, Okular and Skim PDF software

Seamless PDF-switching

New in V.3 of APS is that you now get seamless transitions when switching to and from PDF-presentations. This means when you switch between two PDF-presentations, or go from a Powerpoint ot a PDF, the desktop-background is hidden, and the transition will look like advancing to the next slide. Until now, you would need an external hardware-switcher to hide the desktop-background while switching to and from PDF’s. Now you can achieve the same smooth transitions without leaving the presentation-computer.

Seamless switching explained

Introducing Okular as PDF-software

Logo Okular

V.3 of APS also adds support for Okular as a PDF-software for Windows. Until now, Adobe Acrobat pro and reader has been our only supported PDF software for PC. But when working with the Seamless Switching feature, we realized that we needed an alternative:  On some Windows computers, when Adobe Acrobat goes to fullscreen, the screen becomes black for a short period, and we found absolutely no way to avoid this. Then we discovered the Okular software which goes in and out of fullscreen without a problem, and compared to Adobe Acrobat it brings other benefits as well:

Okular is a simpler and lighweight application, primarily focused on viewing content. It’s faster to open and display PDF’s through Okular. Fun fact: Okular has received the Blue Angel ecolabel for being resource and energy efficient, proving how lightweight it will run on your computer.
Easy installation. You download Okular and install it from the Microsoft store. And although it’s free, you get no ads or “creative cloud” software that runs in the background. (This can sometimes annoy me with the Adobe software, especially on show-computers that I need to keep as clean as possible.

And Okular meets our quality-requirements when it comes to displaying and controlling PDF’s:

PDF’s in fullscreen in Okular and Adobe Acrobat should look the same. The PDF covers the screen, and overflow-areas are black.
High quality PDF rendering. Okular should handle most PDF-presentations with ease.
Advance slides with the common keyboard-shortcuts. This also lets you use presentation-clickers with Okular
Intuitive operation. If you are used to Adobe Acrobat for viewing PDFs, you will get used to Okular in no time.
Reliability and security. Okular can be downloaded from the Microsoft store, which means that Microsoft has checked the download-file for virus and has approved it. By meeting these high standards, Okular should be acceptable also for strict corporate environments.
Okular is free to use.

How to switch PDF presentations seamlessly with Okular

  • Step 1: Download Okular from the Okular store

Go to this link, or search for Okular in the Microsoft store. Download and install the software.

Download Okular from Microsoft store

After installation, you can open Okular and then open a PDF to confirm that the installation works.

Okular PDF presentation example
  • Step 2: Configure Okular presentation-mode

By default, Okular has a page-counter in presentation-mode in the top right corner. This is useful for the presenter, but you probably want to remove this when you display the presentation for an audience. You can do this from the Okular settings:
From the top menu-bar, go to “settings”, then “Configure Okular”, and push “Presentations”. From here you can turn off the progress-indicator. Note that there are other options here for customizing the pdf-presentation. For example, you can add a transition on every slide-change.

Okular options for Presentation mode
  • Step 3: Configure APS to use Okular

Open APS and go to to the settings. Choose Okular as the default PDF-program. This means that Okular will be used by APS to open PDF-presentations. Note: If APS was opened while installing Okular, you need to restart APS. APS will detect Okular on startup.

APS pdf settings

We also strongly recommend that you set Okular as your default PDF-application on your PC. This will ensure that whenever you open PDF-files by double-clicking on them in the Finder-menu, Okular will be used to display the PDF. The “change” button will take you to the Windows menu where you can change the default PDF.

APS default PDF program

After you have changed the default program for PDF, this will be shown in the APS menu under the Default Program

  • Step 3: Test PDF presentations

Now that we have installed Okular and configured APS to use this software for PDF’s, we are ready to open and display PDF-presentations through Okular. For now, we will just use the keyboard-shortcuts to display and open the next presentations in the folder, but you can also use the slot-presentation commands.

I have made a folder with 4 PDF files, and I want to display these chronologically, starting with PDF 1. First I doubleclick on the PDF to let it open with Okular, then I push the APS-shortcut ctrl+shift+uparrow to display this in fullscreen. Then I push ctrl + rightarrow when I want to change to the next presentation in the folder.

Switch PDF-presentations seamlessly with Okular and APS

Combine PowerPoint and PDF presentations

PowerPoint is by far the most popular presentation-format for corporate events. A common scenario is that most of the presentations for the events are PPTs, and every now and then you get a PDF. Using APS its easy to switch between PowerPoint and PDF’s. In the example below, we have a folder with both PPT and PDF. We can still switch between them similarly to what we did when the folder only had PDF’s

Switch between PDF and PowerPoint presentations with APS

Read more:
PDF-presentations in live AV
APS main page