[title size=”2″]PowerPoint’s Aspect Ratio[/title]
Looking around my desk I see a desktop monitor, laptop screen, iPad mini, and an iPhone, all in widescreen. Indeed, over the last 4-5 years has been a rapid move from portrait to landscape media devices. A look at video software editors and distribution platforms confirms this shift. iMovie 10, for example, has done away with the option to create portrait videos (4:3 aspect ratio) and YouTube now shows all videos in widescreen (16:9 aspect ratio), regardless of how they were originally formatted.

Here is an image from a video in 4:3 being shown by YouTube in 16:9.
Notice all the blank space on each side of the video.

Compare that to an image from a video created in 16:9 aspect ratio. Notice that the blank sides are now in use!

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[title size=”2″]PPT’s Default Aspect Ratio[/title]
The vast majority of faculty use PowerPoint to create presentations. PowerPoint is flexible, powerful, and easy to use, but it has a flaw. The default aspect ratio for PowerPoint, despite the changes in displays, is still 4:3, and most of us stay with this default. This is not out of a misplaced loyalty to “old-timey” screen sizes, but out of habituation. We (teachers) are used to seeing PowerPoints in 4:3. It simply doesn’t occur to us to “go” widescreen. The result is a loss of onscreen real-estate, and in certain contexts, the appearance of unprofessionalism.


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[title size=”2″]Changing PPT’s Aspect Ratio[/title]
It is easy to change the aspect ratio of a PPT, but it needs to be done before you start creating content. Changing the aspect ratio of a PPT, with pre-created content, will cause your images to stretch and distort.

Here is the same image after it was converted from a standard 3:4 to 16:9 inside PowerPoint.

When you are ready to change the aspect ratio of your PPTS do the following:

Go to PPT’s “file menu”, pull down to “page setup”, and under “slides are sized for” selected “On-Screen Show (16:9)”.

That’s it!