Have you ever been frustrated by receiving a presentation or document from which you can’t copy a picture or video? Have you ever wanted to grab a YouTube video and use it, or a small piece of it, in an off-line presentation? Have you ever screamed at Google Maps because it won’t print the map view exactly as you have it on screen? If so, then read on.

The following four tips will help you extract the exact content you need from a variety of file types and sources.

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1. Extract Audio, Video, and Images from any XML Microsoft Office File

Sure you can click an image in a Word document and copy it for use elsewhere, or save it out as an image file. But, that can get tedious if you need to extract dozens of images. If you have a PowerPoint with embedded video clips, but you no longer have the original video files, there is no way to use copy/paste to save them as independent video files. But, there is a way to extract the content you need.

This trick works with any Microsoft Office 2007 or later file using XML format (the file name ends with an “x”) such as docx (Word), pptx (PowerPoint), or xlsx (Excel).

Simply make a copy of the file from which you want to extract content. Then, change the file extension of the copied file to “.zip.” (You will see a warning message when you try this, but just instruct your system to complete the change.)

Then, open the .zip file (or extract all of the files to a folder). You will find your audio, video, and images in a folder called “media,” which is typically under the product name directory. So for example, in the screen capture below of a PowerPoint presentation saved as Presentation1.zip, the images and video are located in the ppt/media directory.

Now, all you need to do is copy the files, save them anywhere on your computer, and use them as you would any other media files.

2. Extract Images from a Locked Adobe Acrobat Document

Adobe Acrobat has many useful copy/paste functions for unlocked .pdf documents. However, sometimes .pdf files are locked to prevent changing or removing content from them. While you certainly don’t want to steal content belonging to others, if you really need to grab an image for a legitimate reason, not being able to do so can be extremely frustrating.

Luckily, now that screen capture tools are built-into most Windows and MAC systems, it is easy to get around a locked .pdf. Simply open the file to the image you want to capture, then zoom in to the largest clear view of that image you can get (which in many cases works well at 200 or 300% of the original). Open your screen capture program (such as the Snipping Tool, which is built into Windows 7 and 8), draw your capture area around the image you want, and then save the captured file to your computer.

If you don’t have a snipping tool, use the screen capture function to copy the entire screen then paste it into an image editing program and crop to get only the piece you want. (See this post for some free image editing options.) You can even save the copied image as a .pdf, so it appears as a standalone Acrobat file.

This trick doesn’t just work for Acrobat files, it will work for any image you can see on screen, including those in websites, that you want to use off-line or in a separate file.


3. Extract Video from YouTube and Other Online Sources

You can insert a YouTube video into any web page by using YouTube embed code. You can also link to videos from many other sources. But what if you want to use one of these videos offline? Or what if you want to use only a clip, or to string clips from multiple sources together into a single video file? With Freemake Video tools, it is easy.

Use the Freemake Video Converter to extract video from online sources (with the paste url tool) and convert it to .wmv, .avi, .mp4, .flv, or a number of other video formats. You can also use the tool to edit the video and extract only the portions you want to use, and to stitch together multiple clips. If you only want to grab complete videos, then use the FreeMake Video Downloader, which enables you to extract video in just about any format from just about any website.
NOTE: A Word of Warning—DO NOT use the standard install on either of these downloads. Do a custom install and only allow the program itself, not any other applications or tool bars, to be installed on your computer.


4. Print Any Online Map View

One of my great frustrations with Google Maps is that I can’t get it to print a map exactly the way I have it configured on screen. Even using “print with map” or large map feature, it just isn’t exactly as I see it. A Snipping Tool (or a full scree capture) comes to the rescue again here. Simply use it to copy exactly the portion of the map you want, at the zoom you want, and paste it into a word document or an image editing program. You can then print precisely the view you need.


Of course, always give credit where credit is due. Don’t employ these tips to steal content and use it without attribution and/or permission—even if you are only grabbing a single image or a tiny video clip. But do use them to help you more efficiently collaborate with others, and to more easily create compelling sales presentations, training modules, and other materials for your small business marketing and internal operations.

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Lisa Hephner

Lisa Hephner

My name is Lisa, and I'm the Vice President of Knowledge, responsible for the management of corporate, product, competitor, marketplace, legal, and regulatory knowledge, and creation and dissemination of knowledge tools using these assets to PaySimple prospects, customers, employees, and partners.

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