Show Your PowerPoint Presentation in Widescreen Format

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The widescreen format is the norm in movies today and has become the most popular choice for new laptops. It only follows that PowerPoint presentations are now being created in widescreen format.

Instructions in this article apply to PowerPoint 2010, 2007, and 2003. PowerPoint 2019, 2016, and 2013 automatically default to widescreen. In older versions of PowerPoint, you'll make the change manually.

Advantages of Widescreen PowerPoint Presentations

If you show your presentation on a widescreen monitor, set this up before you add any information to your slides. Making a change to the setup of the slides at a later time ​causes your slides to be stretched and distorted on the screen.​

Other advantages to using widescreen format are:

  • Uses all available space on your screen
  • Is the newest presentation display of choice
  • More room for your information on the slide
  • Less chance of your slide looking cluttered

Set Up for Widescreen in PowerPoint 2010 and 2007

There are two different widescreen size ratios available in PowerPoint 2010 and 2007. The choice you make depends on your particular monitor. The most commonly chosen widescreen ratio is 16:9.

  1. Go to Design on the ribbon.

  2. Select Page Setup.

  3. In the Page Setup dialog box, under the heading Slides sized for, choose On-screen Show (16:9).

  4. Select OK.

Choose the Widescreen Size Format in PowerPoint 2003

Setting your presentation up for widescreen success in PowerPoint 2003 is just as easy as any other version.

  1. In the Page Setup dialog box, under the heading Slides sized for, choose Custom.

  2. To set the PowerPoint for a standard 16:9 ratio, enter the width as 10 inches and the height as 5.63 inches.

  3. Select OK.

PowerPoint Fits Widescreen Presentations to Your Screen

You can create a widescreen PowerPoint presentation even when you don't have a widescreen monitor or a projector that works in widescreen. PowerPoint formats your presentation for the available space on the screen, just like your regular television shows a widescreen movie in letterbox style, with the black bars on the top and bottom of the screen.

If your presentations will be reused in the years to come, create them in the widescreen format. Keep in mind that converting a presentation to widescreen at a later date causes the text and images to be stretched and distorted. Avoid these pitfalls and have only minimal changes to make at a later date if you start at the beginning in a widescreen format.