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This is why I never launched my startup.

If you have ever combined a lot of slide decks (provided to you from a lot of different people) into one cohesive presentation, you probably ran into the same problem as I did…

“I am graphic designer and I pay attention to the details. I know how crappy it feels to see your own work get shredded and turned into a bowel of mixed fruit when someone else converts it into another type of file.” 

…when someone sends me a presentation deck (that I know they have spent a lot of time preparing), I try to preserve all the original colors, fonts, images and proportions of each slide. And when there are 400 slides to deal with, it can be a difficult, time consuming and sometimes frustrating process. At least it is was for me.

For example: just few years ago,  I was working on regional economic development programs. I would design, promote and execute events specifically to accelerate and champion entrepreneurship. 

If you know anything about these types of activities – then you also know they are high profile, inclusive community based events. So, the mayor and city council, the business chamber, leading philanthropic investors, community non-profits, startups, wana-preneurs and Auntie Jenny’s 3rd cousin twice removed are all invited and they all attend.  And EVERYONE is invited to submit a powerpoint slide deck.

A good example of a PowerPoint slide after being imported into Google Slides.

It is common to receive slide decks in all sorts of native file formats: PowerPoint, Google Slides, Apple Keynote and PDF files of all varieties (Mac and PC). Some have embedded fonts, some are 4:3 and not 16:9, some have bloated oversized images, there are the cute little animations and snappy slide transitions. So what might have looked good in PowerPoint (where it was created) using a Microsoft font, does hold over into other platforms.

So just combine everything…

This is what a typical document merge will looks like – simple enough, right?

Combining all those decks, and then adding branded event styled agenda and speaker introduction slides was time consuming. Preserving the original creators designs and taking responsibility for their editing – was the problem I set out to solve.

I could not find a single application software or SAS designed specifically for this task and so I set out to create one.  I applied to Y-Combinator seeking a cohort of smart collaborators who might be able to help me.

After accepting my invitation to participate in the Y-Combinator SUS last September, I started to building my version of this simple document convertor.

I quickly discovered:

JPEG is a four letter word.

Converting all these different file types into one common format while preserving the original content was impossible. As an example: saving a PPT as a PDF always results in these conditions:

  1. Deterioration of the JPG images, because PPT always compresses JPEG image size when exporting to PDF.
  2. Fonts and their formatting tend to change. The line heights, line spacing, letter kerning, styles (bold and italic)…
  3. Rasterization of vector drawn elements is a crapshoot. 

Originally JPEG and PDF had very different licensing and incompatible technologies. There are international compliance and industry standards organizations that keep them standardized. As I researched this subject I discovered a team who created a solution. is a product of Switzerland: the land of watches, banks, clean design, and high-quality craftsmanship. As per tradition, they crafted their product to be reliable, secure, and simple to use.

They are a small team from a small country, but they have big ambitions. In 5 years alone, they have created a platform that has (according to Alexa) become one of the top 500 most visited websites on the internet. I think that’s pretty awesome!

They claim to have found existing PDF software too heavy and awkward to use. Smallpdf solves this problem by removing unused features and focussing on the user experience.  

I am one of 25+ million users being served every month. 



Using SmallPDF will streamline your workflow because it can can convert anything into a PDF and convert a PDF into native Office file formats. The user interface is light, easy to use and the experience will make you happy

It is free to try and an annual subscription is only $4.00 per month.

Open with Smallpdf

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