Presentations are typically sized to the computer monitor, but display sizes vary between computers. Learn how to customize the sizes of your slides and how to view a grayscale version of your presentation for printing.
A typical PowerPoint presentation is used to give a presentation to an audience. You run the presentation from a computer, and the slides are shown to the audience on a screen or wall using a projector. A presentation is normally sized to fit the display of your computer. However, displays vary between computers, so it is important to be aware of some of the standard sizes used for PowerPoint presentations. The most commonly used sizes for PowerPoint presentations are the following:
- 4:3 - This is the aspect ratio of a traditional computer monitor. This is called the standard slide size.
- 16:9 - This is the aspect ratio of a widescreen monitor, which has become more common in recent years. This is called the widescreen slide size.
Changing Slide Setup
When you create a new presentation in PowerPoint, default settings are used for the slide size and orientation. To view the current settings of a presentation, select the Design ribbon at the top, and click on Slide Size.
Notice how two standard sizes appear: 4:3 and 16:9. The second one is highlighted since that is the size used in the current presentation. You can see more details by clicking on Custom Slide Size. The Slide Size dialog shows the settings for widescreen, which is the default for blank presentations.
The slide has a width of 13.333 inches and a height of 7.5 inches. This corresponds to a 16:9 aspect ratio. The slide number starts at one. The orientation for slides is landscape, while the orientation for notes, handouts and outlines is portrait.
While you can change all these settings, you have to think carefully about why you would do so. Unless you have a very specific need for a different size and orientation, there is typically no need to make changes.
To see some of the built-in options, click on the drop-down arrow under Slides sized for. Some of the options include different paper sizes and special-purpose sizes, such as a banner. You can select an option, and then preview the settings. It isn't until after you click OK that the settings will be applied to your presentation.
One relatively common change is to switch between the standard aspect ratio of 4:3 and the widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9. Let's take a look at how this works.
The current presentation is sized for widescreen. Select the option to use an aspect ratio of 4:3, which is also common. Notice how the page size is changed to a width of ten inches.
Once you click OK, a dialog appears. The dialog reads, 'You are scaling to a new slide. Would you like to maximize the size of your content, or scale it down to ensure it will fit on the new slide?' Typically, the Ensure Fit option is the one you want. Note that this dialog only comes up when applying a smaller slide size.
Let's take a look at the Maximize option. Notice how the slide has become narrower. Many of your slides look just fine. However, when you come to slides with graphics on them, they may no longer fit on the slides. With these, you will need to make some manual corrections.
Undo these changes, and apply the 4:3 size again. This time select the Ensure Fit option. When you examine the result, you can see that many of the elements have been reduced in size so they can fit on each slide. This includes many of the text elements.
Color and Grayscale
A typical presentation uses color to make things more interesting. Sometimes, however, you want to use grayscale instead. One good example is when you are printing a presentation.
This is a typical presentation with a dark background and white text. Select the View ribbon at the top. Click on Grayscale. This automatically changes all your elements to grayscale, including images, charts, text and background. The automatic setting turns a dark background with light text into a white background with black text. This is much better for printing.
You can modify the automatic setting by selecting an element and choosing a display style manually. For example, this image is very dark. Select the image, and apply Inverse Grayscale. This will make the image easier to read.
Once you are done with your changes, click on Back to Color View. This brings you back to your presentation in its original colored view. Any specific settings you have applied for your grayscale view are not visible here. However, your settings are saved with the presentation and used anytime you need a grayscale version, again, like when you are printing out your presentation.
Click on File to get to Backstage view. Select Print. When you select the grayscale option, it will use your previous settings.
Presentations use different slide sizes to match the display or output medium. The most widely used slide sizes for presentations are standard (aspect ratio 4:3) and widescreen (aspect ratio 16:9).
Applying a different slide size has consequences for how elements fit on your slides. You can choose to automatically resize elements when using a smaller slide size. Presentations are typically shown in color, but you can use a grayscale version of your slides for things like printing.
After watching this lesson, you should be able to:
- Customize the size of your PowerPoint slides
- Apply grayscale to your presentation for printing purposes