Understanding Slide Orientation in PowerPoint Video

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  • 0:02 Change Orientation & Size
  • 2:20 Slide Orientation
  • 4:05 Slide Size
  • 5:27 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Karen Sorensen

Karen has a Bachelors in Communications. She has 25 years of experience in Information Systems, Adult Learning and Virtual Training.

In this lesson, we will review slide orientation and slide size in PowerPoint. By default, the slide orientation is landscape and the size is standard, but you can also change your slides to portrait and size them for widescreen.

Change Orientation? Size?

First, what does it mean to change the orientation? Well, basically, it's changing your screen or document from wide and flat to tall and skinny (or vice versa). Sometimes, your slide layout might work better if you could have more space from top to bottom rather than designing from side to side.

If you have ever worked with Microsoft Word or Excel, you are probably familiar with the option to change your documents from portrait to landscape, or vice versa. The reason you switch is because the content you need to display sometimes fits better portrait or landscape. But did you know that you can also choose the orientation of your PowerPoint slides? This is not just for printing - you can project in portrait, too. In addition to the orientation, you can also modify the size of the slide, such as fitting your slides to widescreen.

Why would you switch? Well, the reasons are the same for any application - you need to display the content differently than usual.

When we think of projecting information on to a screen, we usually go to PowerPoint first. This is the main purpose of the application and PowerPoint has several features specific to a slide show and viewing information on a large screen. But, imagine you have a business meeting and you need to create a slide show for your presentation. However, 90% of the material you plan to present is detailed information about your organization's products and customers. This information is best displayed in tables with four or five columns across and up to thirty rows of customer or product details.

Creating the table in landscape mode would be a nightmare and would require showing several tables across several slides. Ultimately, you want one page for customers, one for products, and so on. Of course, you could create your different pages in different applications, such as Word and Excel, then switch between the applications during your presentation. But a better way would be to use PowerPoint slides for all of your information and change the orientation and/or the size to fit the tables and content.

This lesson will help you gain a better understanding of how to change the orientation and modify the size of your slides.

Slide Orientation

The default for PowerPoint slides is landscape. You can quickly change the orientation from the Slide Orientation pull-down menu, accessible from the Design tab on the ribbon. Let's review the steps.

  1. Click on the Design tab
  2. In the Customize group of commands, click on Slide Size
  3. And then, select Custom Slide Size from the pick-list
  4. Choose Portrait, and click OK
  5. A pop-up window will appear and ask you if you want to Maximize or Ensure Fit

Let me explain the difference between the two:

  • You would select Maximize to keep all of your text and graphics the original size. If you select this option, you may need to rearrange some of the elements so they fit on the page.
  • You would select Ensure Fit to shrink the text and graphics so that they fit in the width of the new slide shape without requiring any rearranging.

You can see in the lesson video (at 03:21) that you also have the option here to change the orientation of Notes pages and Handouts.

And here are a couple of tips:

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