How to change the size of a slide in Microsoft PowerPoint

Depending on which version of Microsoft PowerPoint you have used to create your presentation and the device you are using to deliver the presentation, you might end up having a mismatch between the size of your slides and the size of the medium you are projecting on. For example, you may have created a presentation in Microsoft PowerPoint 2016, which uses the Widescreen (16:9) slide size and you are using an old projector which projects using the Standard (4:3) size. When this happens, your slides look different from what you have intended. In order to get the best results, you need to have a match between the size of your slides and the size of the screen/medium you are using to deliver the presentation. Here’s how to solve this problem:

NOTE: This guide applies to Microsoft PowerPoint 2016 and 2013. They are both also available with Office 365 subscriptions.

Step 1: Select the slides whose size you want to change

First, open Microsoft PowerPoint and then the presentation that you want to work with. In that presentation, select the slide(s) whose size you want to change. Most probably, you will want to change the size for all your slides. That’s why it is best to change the size of your slides before you create the presentation, even though you can do so later. Simply create several empty slides, select them and then change their default size, before adding content to them.

To select a slide, click on it in the column on the left. To select more than one slide, click the first slide. Then, press and hold the CTRL key on your keyboard and click the other slides that you want selected. To select all slides, first click on the first slide and then press CTRL+A on your keyboard.

Once you are done selecting slides, move to the next step.

Step 2: Open the Slide Size menu/window

With your slide(s) still selected, click the Design tab on the Microsoft PowerPoint ribbon. Look for the Customize section on its right.

Click the Slide Size menu, to open several options. First, you can set whether you want to use a Widescreen (16:9) slide or a Widescreen (16:9) slide.

Widescreen (16:9) is the default slide size in Microsoft PowerPoint 2013 and 2016. Widescreen (16:9) slides have a size of 13.33 x 7.5 inches or 33.867 x 19.05 cm.

Standard (4:3) was the default slide size in older versions of Microsoft PowerPoint, like 2003 or 2007. Standard (4:3) slides have a size of 10 x 7.5 inches or 25.4 x 19.05 cm.

If you want to set a different size for your slide(s) than the two presented earlier, click Custom Slide Size. The Slide Size window is opened and here you can set a custom slide size.

Step 3: Change the Slide Size

In the Slide Size window, you can set the orientation of your slides, notes, handouts and outline. Then, you can set a custom width and height, in inches, or you can use one of the many preset templates for slide sizes.

Most people need to click the Slides sized for drop-down list and select one of the many available options. The available sizes fit most needs.

Once you are done setting the slide size, click OK in the Slide Size window. Microsoft PowerPoint informs you that you are scaling to a new slide size. You can choose to maximize the size of your content or scale it down to ensure it will fit on the new slide. Choose the best option for you by clicking on it: Maximize or Ensure Fit.

The new slide size is applied to the selected slide(s).

Which slide size is better: 4:3 or 16:9?

While it is easy to change the slide size in Microsoft PowerPoint, few people know which size is best for them. To help you out, we would like to share some information about the most common two slide sizes in Microsoft PowerPoint:

  • Standard (4:3) - works best on older screens with low resolutions (e.g. 1024x768 pixels), old projectors, online presentation sharing platforms like SlideShare or devices like iPad.
  • Widescreen (16:9) - works best on new screens with a wide aspect ratio (TVs, Smart TVs, LCDs), new projectors, Microsoft Surface devices and online platforms like YouTube or Vimeo.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to change the slide size in Microsoft PowerPoint, you should have no issues in making your slides fit the screen you are presenting on. If you have any questions on this subject, don’t hesitate to ask using the comments form below .