How to Avoid Picture Distortion on Portrait Slides in Powerpoint

What to Know

  • If orientation is changed to portrait before inserting pictures, change the slide backgrounds to a solid black.
  • If presentation was created in landscape, you must reinsert pictures or try the workaround below.
  • Right-click image > Size and Position. Under Scale > Format Picture, clear Relative to original picture size > Reset > Close.

If you're using PowerPoint and wondering if there is a way to change the page orientation of your slide layout without distorting the pictures, you can, and here are some tips on how. This article explains how to change the page orientation of your PowerPoint slide layout without distorting the pictures.

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Changing Layout Prior to Inserting Picture

Reset picture back to original properties to avoid distortion on portrait slide

If you change the layout to portrait prior to inserting the picture, the picture will only be inserted to fit the width of the slide (assuming the picture is large enough already), but the background of the slide will show at the top and bottom of the slide.

Using this method, perhaps it is a good idea to change the background of the slides to a solid black so that only the picture will show on-screen during the slide show. You can also add any title you want, which will also appear on the slide.

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If Your Presentation Orientation Is Already Set

Small photo will be stretched by PowerPoint to fit into picture placeholder

If you have already created your presentation in landscape, unfortunately, you will have to reinsert all your pictures. Or try out another workaround.

  1. Right-click on the squished picture.
  2. Choose Size and Position... from the shortcut menu that appears.
  3. In the Format Picture dialog box, uncheck the box under the Scale section that says "Relative to original picture size."
  4. Click the Reset button followed by the Close button. This will put the picture back to its original proportions.
  5. You can then crop or resize the photo to fit the slide.

Creating Slideshow With Two Different Presentations

You can also create a slideshow of two different (or more) presentations -- one with slides in portrait orientation and another with slides in landscape orientation.

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