Change Default PowerPoint Slide Size

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 by default 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; Printing these slides compound the problem.

Here’s how to solve this problem:

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:

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/Slide Size 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:

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:

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. 1024×768 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.

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