Make America Widescreen Again

Tutorial Level: Basic

Here's a super simple trick to dial your PowerPoint presentation's delivery up a notch. This involves changing your presentation's aspect ratio to better utilize your presentation screen.

4x3-standard

Nobody wants to see black bars on either side of your presentation—it's distracting! Why not take advantage of the full screen? 

16x9-aka-widescreen

PowerPoint offers two preset aspect ratios: 4:3 and 16:9 (width:height), also known as standard and widescreen. Most modern presentations will be viewed on a wider screen. I have no facts to back that up but I am right. 

Context of course is key, understanding how your deck will be delivered will help you determine whether to design for 4:3 or 16:9. There are some circumstances at GhostRanch where we intentionally design a presentation for 4:3 screens. One such occasion is when we travel back in time to present on older screens. Just kidding! 4:3 is actually closer to the landscape printed format (11"x8.5"), so if printing your deck is a huge consideration, then perhaps you'll opt for 4:3. Then again, if your deck is being created just to printed, it's really a document, but I digress.

The other time we create decks at 4:3 is when we want them specifically viewed on a tablet, such as an iPad, which maintains a 4:3 ratio. Beyond that, nowadays, I'd say you're safe building most decks for widescreens (which may soon be referred to as screens).

Let's say your deck is 4:3 but you don't want those ridiculous black bars distracting your audience, we've got your quick fix. In PowerPoint, navigate to the "design" tab. There's a little "Slide Size" tool, upper right. Drop that bad boy down.

You'll see two options, 4:3 and 16:9. 

Now, here's the final step, go ahead and select "Widescreen (16:9)"

Welp, that wraps up our tutorial. We hope you've been able to follow along. 

Thank you for your time, and be excellent to each other. 

Peace!


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PowerPoint Tutorials