PowerPoint Slide Dimensions: A 5-Minute “How To” Guide

powerpoint slide dimensionsPowerPoint is a great tool to create awesome presentations for pretty much any circumstance you can imagine. It’s highly customizable which makes it an even better tool for you to present your greatest ideas and plans with. But what if you want to change the size of the slide? It’s easy to do and we’ll go over how, here

What is PowerPoint?

Microsoft PowerPoint is presentation software that allows you, the creator, to design slides that will then be put into a slideshow. You can customize each slide template, the transition between slides, add images, embed videos, highlight text or have interactive slides to keep your presentation interesting. A slideshow is usually saved as .PPT extension, but you can also save your PowerPoint presentation as a .PDF which makes it super convenient for easy reading, printing and sharing. To do this, all you have to do is go to File–>Save As and change the “save as type” choose PDF from the list. Click Save and there you have it.

Slide Dimensions

Okay, so when you open PowerPoint and start a new presentation, your slide size is set to the default which is 10 inches by 7.5 inches. This is also 1024 x 768 pixels at 96dpi. There are ways to widen the slide, make it smaller, and customize the dimensions to fit exactly what you’re looking for. Keep in mind that when you project the PowerPoint on to an overhead or a screen, you can adjust the size of the slides at this point, too. We’ll start with the PowerPoint 2013 tutorial, as this is what I use. Below I’ll cover prior versions. PowerPoint 2013 made easy is a great place to get your presentation designing skills above par.

Step 1

Open an existing presentation by going o File–>Open and select your .PPT file. If you do not have an already made presentation, open PowerPoint and start a new presentation by going to File–>New.

Step 2

With your presentation open, and the first slide on the main screen, click on Design at the top of your screen.

Step 3

After you click on Design you will see a ribbon of tools pop up on your tool bar. To the far right on the tool bar there will be a button that says slide size. Click this and you will see three options: Standard, Widescreen and Custom.

Step 4

I clicked on standard and then was prompted with another option. Would you like to maximize your slide? Or scale it to fit? If you choose maximize, your slide will be blown up to the size you selected, however, some of the slide contents may fall outside of the frame. If you choose ensure fit then the slide contents will be scaled to fit the page and you won’t have any content cut out.

Step 5

If you choose to customize your slide dimensions, click on the custom slide size. A dialog box will pop up and give you the options to adjust the height, the width, whether you want it portrait or landscape and which slides you’d like to apply the change to. Click okay.

There you go!

PowerPoint 2010

The principles are similar to that of 2013, except, under the Design tab it’s not as quick to find the slide size function. Enhance your PowerPoint skills in this Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 tutorial.

Step 1

Open a pre-existing PowerPoint presentation that you want to adjust the slide size of. Or, if you don’t have a presentation, open a new one by going to File–>New.

Step 2

Click on Design at the top of your screen. You’ll see a ribbon of options appear. Click on Page Setup.

Step 3

A dialog box will pop-up that says slides sized for. Here is where you can choose custom and enter the slide dimensions you would prefer for your slide. You also have the options to choose ratio’s like on-screen show 4:3 or Letter paper, ledger paper, A1, etc.  You see you can also choose for the slides to be formatted in landscape or portrait, and for the outline to be formatted in either of these layouts too. When you’re done making your changes, hit OK.

Save your work so you don’t lose the changes you’ve made.

Change the Resolution

Alright. So you have this awesome PowerPoint, your slides are sized the way you want, you’ve editing all the slide transitions and things are looking good. However. Because of the awesomeness of your presentation, it’s such a big file size that it’s hard to share via email and it takes forever to upload anywhere and runs poorly during the most important time: your presentation! We can try and fix that by adjusting the presentation’s resolution.

Step 1

Open your existing PowerPoint presentation, or start a new one by going to File–>New.

Step 2

Click on the slide show tab at the top of your screen. It will introduce a bunch of options in a ribbon below it.

Step 3

On the top left of your screen you’ll see something that says set up slide show. Click on it a dialog box will pop up with a bunch of different options.

Step 4

On the bottom right of the box you will see a section titles multiple monitors. You need to change the slide show monitor from automatic to primary monitor. This gives you the option to adjust the resolution.

Step 5

Once Primary Monitor is selected, you can click on the resolution box and choose your desired resolution. Remember, the lower the resolution, the more pixelated your images will look – but the faster your presentation will load. You can strike a good balance by selecting something around 800 x 600. You’ll see that the lowest possible resolution is 640 x 480. While this is the fastest, is hasn’t the lowest fidelity.

Click OK. Check out how your slides look, you can always go back and adjust this if you want to refine the quality a bit.

So, you’re pretty much a PowerPoint pro when it comes to resizing slides and changing the resolution now, but what about the rest? This PowerPoint Advanced course is your solution.